21 Nov 2018

Click Analytics

Collecting Clicks and Conversion

Click Analytics helps you answer the following questions: Does a user, after performing a search, click-through to one or more of your products? and does he or she take a particularly significant action, called a “conversion point”?

  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR) As a tool to rate search performance, click analytics compiles click rates for all search results. In this context, the click position (Click pos.) can test relevance (for example, preferred items should be higher in the ranking).
  • Conversion (Conv.) As a tool to analyze cause & effect, click-tracking can be used to link every search (cause) to a given conversion event (effect).

Click analytics

Click Analytics are only available to Business and Enterprise customers. They can be viewed in the Dashboard or fetched programmatically using the Analytics API.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

The first of these measures is click rate. We’ve already discussed the usefulness of looking at the popular results for a search. One step further is to look at click rates:

  • Did a user click-on one of the results? This is CTR - click through rate. You can test whether a search is successful by seeing how often one or more of its results are clicked. If you see that a CTR for a given search is 20%, this means that 20% of your users have clicked on at least one result of that search.
  • Did the results appear in the best order? This is the Average Click Position. If you see that the average click of an important search is on the 1st or 2nd result, this is clearly better than the 5th or 10th position.

Analyzing clicks tells you what is working and what is not, and justifies taking actions to rewrite descriptions, reconfigure index settings (ranking, relevance), or update your catalog.

Lost opportunities

By looking at click rates (as well as conversion, as discussed in more detail next), you can discover and avoid lost opportunities - for example, best-selling items which are not clicked or are too low in the results. This is crucial to your business. The benefit is always the same - improving relevance, or rewriting product descriptions, or updating your catalog.

Conversion

We often need to go beyond the next click to understand our users. We make this possible by assigning a unique tracking number to every search, so that you can trace that search to a single subsequent user action. Using the query tracking number (the “Query” ID), you can choose any single subsequent click, scroll, or other catchable web event to be your company’s global conversion point. Analyzing a global conversion point creates a benchmark - a realistic metric to gauge overall success as well better shape individual searches in the interests of your business.

Conversion is a simple yes/no metric

We measure whether individual queries lead your users to take a particular action. Let’s say you define the conversion as: “to put an item on the shopping cart”. How often does a search for “t-shirt red dyed” lead to placing an item in the shopping cart? And does “t-shirt” on its own work better or worse?

Several things to keep in mind:

  • You cannot define more than one event as a conversion point: whether you wish to define “buy a product” as the conversion point or “watch a video” - or whatever the choice - this choice becomes the company-wide conversion point for all search-to-conversion analysis.

  • If conversion=buy, and 1 search has generated 10 results, in which 5 of those lead to a buy, this is still considered to be 1 conversion not 5. The goal here is to see if a single search has reached at least one conversion.

Here is a small list of possible conversion points:

  • To buy
  • To build a wish list, a shopping cart
  • To watch a video, read an article
  • To make further inquiries, contact support
  • To explore further
  • To come to the store
  • What else? It depends on your business needs. Conversion points are agnostic.

Well-chosen conversions can feed back into your business decision-making. Done properly, Click Analytics should impact:

  • The kinds of products and services you offer
  • Your inventory
  • Diversification of products
  • Customer Service
  • Levels of Support
  • Website UI / UX

Implementing Click Analytics

There are 3 steps to take to collect click and conversion events:

  1. Setting clickAnalytics to true
  2. Sending click events to Algolia
  3. Sending a conversion event to Algolia

1. Setting the clickAnalytics parameter

This is a prerequisite: in order to get started with click analytics, you must set clickAnalytics=true on the query method. This must be done for every search that you wish to track.

index.query({
  query: 'query terms',
  clickAnalytics: true
});

2. Identifying the Query, Result, Position

With clickAnalytics set to true, the query method returns a queryID with every request. You need to use the Query ID to capture click rates and conversions.

For every result, there is a “result” ID that we call objectID. This is the ID of the result that has been clicked.

Finally, there is a position. Position is the absolute position within the whole result set. If you display your results in the order that we send them to you, then the position’s value will take into account the page number, the number of results per page, and the position the result appears on the page. So if the user is on page 2 and clicks result 5, then position=15 because position 5 on page 2 is 5 + 10 = 15. However, if you do not display all results, or you reorder them, then the position will be the position in your own reordering of the results, and this can be any number.

As you will see, these values will be needed to track click rates.

3. Sending click and conversion events

You need to send us all click and conversion events. For this, you need to use the events method:

Previously you needed to use two different methods click and conversion. Those endpoints are now deprecated, but the documentation can still be found here.

Each endpoint targets only a single index.

For the click rate, you’ll need to send the queryID, objectID (of the result), and the position.

For the conversion, you’ll need to send only the queryID and the objectID (of the result).

Note that once you have sent a conversion, you can’t later remove it. Additionally, there is no count of how often something has converted. A query which leads to many conversions will have, nonetheless, a single conversion rate.

For all information about endpoints and Rest API methods, go here.

Additionally, we have a tutorial that explains how to use the Rest API.

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