Monday, December 28, 2009

Visual Sciences: Path Analysis using Path Browser

Omniture's Visual Sciences has very limited material available over the internet and it's really hard to find any white papers on how to use certain functionality available in it. Once such functionality that I am going to describe in this post is the Pathing analysis using Path Browser. This actually helps users to visualize how users are navigating on their website. Even though this might not be a great technique to understand how users use the navigation on your website, still it will give you some insights as to how certain navigation patterns that you have devised for the users are actually performing. So here goes:

Path Analysis: A process of determining a sequence of pages visited in a visitor session prior to some desired outcome (a purchase, a sign up, visiting a certain part of site etc). The desired end goal is to get a sequence of pages, each of whom forms a path that leads to a desired outcome. Usually these paths are ranked by frequency.

In VS, Path Analysis is facilitated by the Path Browser functionality. The path browser visualization allows you to analyze the traffic between pages within a Web site. Each path browser has a “root” page: Within the path browser visualization, you see the traffic (“paths”) that passes through the root page that you specify. The thickness of a given “path” shown in the visualization is proportional to the amount of traffic (number of page views) associated with the path.

In the above Figure, we see that there is more traffic associated with path 1 (from the root get/Categories/Women/xxxx to get/Categories/Women/Clothing/Dresses/xxxxxx) than with path 2 (from the root get/Categories/Women/xyxyxyxy to
Paths with small traffic volumes (less than 1 percent of the total traffic for the pages displayed) are viewed by left-clicking More to the left of the root page (for Previous pages) or to the right of the root page (for Next pages).

By right-clicking a page name in the visualization, you can view the number of page views for the originating page or destination page within a path shows that the page get/Categories/Women/Clothing/Tops/... had 52,636 page views associated with the traffic coming directly from the root get/Categories/Women/ xxxx. We also see that those 52,636 page views correspond to 6.1 percent of the page views associated with originating page.

Exercise: Using the Path Browser functionality show the path analysis from particular page up to two levels.
Step1: Right Click within the workspace and select Add Table > Page > Custom Site Map.
Step2: Filter the pages for node number XXXXX (or any other page identifier what ever may be the case in case of your VS implementation). (Right Click on the Custom Site map table select Mask > Search (XXXX))
Step3: To add path browser visualization to your Workspace, right-click within the Workspace and select Add Visualization > Path Browser > Sessions.

Step4: To add a new root page (get/Categories/Women/XXXX) to the path browser:
            While holding down both the Ctrl and Alt keys, click the desired page with the left mouse
               button and drag the page to the root position on the path browser.

Step 5: To select a path in the path browser visualization, left-click the pages to extend the displayed paths. Right-click the desired pages and select “Select path” from the menu that appears.

Step 6: To get the tabular representation of how traffic from a particular node gets further distributed, click on “More” in the right hand corner.
The “More” corresponding to the node under analysis is highlighted.

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