Useful Calculated Metrics for SiteCatalyst

Peter O’Neill
Reading time: 3 minutes
18th February 2011

Note: This post has moved from to Ayima as part of the 2018 acquisition.

I created a traffic source report in SiteCatalyst Discover recently and wanted to include some basic engagement style metrics e.g. Average Page Views per Visit, Average Time on Site.  However, with some high bounce rates, I wanted to ignore those visits that did bounce, with the metrics only calculated for visits that viewed at least two pages.

The general equation for this for any metric is:

\(\frac{\text{<Metric>} – \text{<Metric> for Single Page Visits}}{\text{Visits} – \text{Single Page Visits}}\)

The four required numbers are generally pretty easy to get at but it is complicated here as the reports are based on Last Touch Marketing Channels reports.  As discussed in this blog post on Why SiteCatalyst Visits don’t always equal Entries, not all Marketing Channels Visits are recorded in SiteCatalyst as an Entry and therefore cannot be recorded as Single Page Visits.

The solution is to create an estimated value for this by applying the known Bounce Rate for Entries to the number of Visits (assuming the Bounce Rate is consistent).  This equation is:

\(\text{Visits} \times \frac{\text{Single Page Visits}}{\text{Entries}}\)

This leaves the only missing number as <Metric> for Single Page Visits.  Here, we can apply some logic to either eliminate it or use a substitute.  Common examples are below:

  • Average Time on Site (per visit) – no time is recorded if only one page is viewed so value is zero
  • Page Views per Visit – as only one page is viewed, the number of page views equals the number of visits
  • Orders per Visit (Conversion Rate) – ignoring an issue with the set-up, you can’t place an order on the first page you view therefore the value is zero

So the set of equations to use in Discover to create the Calculated Metrics are:

Average Time on Site

\(\frac{\text{Total Time Spent}}{\text{Visits} \times (1 – \frac{\text{Single Page Visits}}{\text{Entries}})} \)

Page Views per Visit

\(\frac{\text{Page Views} – (\text{Visits} \times \frac{\text{Single Page Visits}}{\text{Entries}})}{\text{Visits} \times (1 – \frac{\text{Single Page Visits}}{\text{Entries}})} \)

Conversion Rate

\(\frac{\text{Orders}}{\text{Visits} \times (1 – \frac{\text{Single Page Visits}}{\text{Entries}})} \)

The final metric there is the conversion rate, again adjusted to eliminate those visits that were never a realistic chance of converting.  The conversion action used was to place an order but this could easily be changed to other conversion actions such as Submit Form.  It is important though that the action/event would only be triggered once within a visit.

So what do you do with these calculated metrics?  You can set up a report for Last Touch Marketing Channels and add metrics for Visits, Bounce Rate*, Page Views per Visit, Average Time on Site, Conversion Rate, Orders and Revenue.  And then analyse, interpret and take actions based on the comparisons between channels for these key metrics.  Or if you drill down (and have classifications applied to the Marketing Channel Detail values where required), take actions based on the comparisons between different campaigns, affiliate networks, search engines or landing pages.

Sample Marketing Channels Report layout

Note this report is only possible with Discover, not SiteCatalyst, as Single Page Visits is a traffic metric and not available for the Marketing Channels report.

If you would like to know more about calculated metrics, this is a good post on how to create calculated metrics.   And, within the Knowledge Base, can be found a list of commonly used calculated metrics for SiteCatalyst.

* If you don’t already have Bounce Rate set up as a calculated metric, bad you.  The calculation to use is

\(\frac{\text{Single Page Visits}}{\text{Entries}} \)

Written By Peter O’Neill
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