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The Frustrating Illumination Of Logfiles

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I am continually intrigued by conversion. Over time I have built up carefully thought out and tested conversion funnels from pretty much every page of every site; it was the work of years. Unfortunately, while the content may be evergreen people change so I have scripts that monitor various set thresholds (both upper and lower bounds) and toss out warnings when crossed for possible remedial action.


All fine and good, except... recently I've been running a new script that runs backward from each identified conversion to identify clicktracks, referer, query term, etc. And I have begun to see some interesting anomalies. For instance on one site there is a previously unknown conversion clicktrack from a particular page that is totally outside any and all my carefully designed conversion funnels.


The initial landing page is long, over 4000 words with 20-some images/graphics, and of the particular conversion traffic being investigated:

* the referer search terms or anchor and surrounding text include several hundred main terms;

* distinct referers number close to a hundred;

* direct traffic is minimal;

In other words this new to me (although it has existed hidden in logfiles for years) conversion clicktrack is likely nearly all new visitors coming for a variety of reasons associated with onpage information.


And then they (~60%) follow a specific 9-page clicktrack except for some (~40%) who take an additional 2-page detour at a particular pint in the trip. Some points points really stood out for me:

* the clicktrack is on the long side for the site.

* it cuts across subject matter;

* it ignores deliberate conversion funnels ignoring ~20 explicit and ~30 implicit onpage calls to action (plus ignoring third party ads as well).

* it is a significant absolute and percentage of that landing page's converting traffic.

And perhaps the real kicker, to me, is that while it obviously works I can't figure out the logic (yes, I do know the links used :D) behind how they get from beginning to end.


And it looks like there are other previously unknown but significant (>10% of a landing page's conversion traffic) clicktracks to investigate. And what happens if I lower the significance threshold to 5%?


The more I learn the less I know...

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You cannot expect all people to behave the same way. Conversion paths will vary for any number of reasons.


What you might be able to do with this data is determine if you can shorten the path and perhaps improve conversions by dropping some of the ignored pages and/or calls to action. Perhaps you can create an alternate set of pages that perform better for this type of traffic.

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You may be lost, but you sure do look comfy in that picture, LOL!


What do you think about taking your high margin/high profit items and moving links to the 1st Page in a Top Sellers category that puts those pages one, possibly 2 clicks away from the home page?

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