You Ask, I Answer: Spotting Trends in Analytics?

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You Ask, I Answer: Spotting Trends in Analytics?

Julie asks, “What trends should I be looking for in my analytics?”

The answer to this question is going to require some math, so pour a coffee and let’s tuck in. In this video we’ll review simple and exponential moving averages, the moving average convergence divergence indicator, and the application of the stock alerting technique known as Bollinger Bands to spot serious anomalies in your analytics data and take action immediately when you spot a trend that’s going the wrong way.

You Ask, I Answer: Spotting Trends in Analytics?

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In today’s episode Julie asked the question what trends should I be looking for in my analytics? Ah trend spotting trend spotting is a lot of fun because it gives you the ability to take your data and extract meaning from an on a relatively rapid basis meaning that you can quickly look at the data and go up there’s something here This one’s gonna pay attention to now the answer to this question is going to require some math so if you if you’re uncomfortable with math pour yourself a coffee

and let’s talk in we’re going to review for techniques to do some trend spotting and I’m going to be using the programming language are you can do this in Excel. I personally don’t know how to because I’m not as good as Excel as I am at programming. But check out the

videos of folks like I was just so like to see that. So let’s dig into the code and what it does.

And I’m good well, actually not was to do the code one. So we’re going to use for different types of averages. So let’s start with our Google Analytics data, right? So this is my websites, data from the last 60 days, give or take, and we see that you know, stuff is a little slow on the holidays and then things are picked up. Now, by itself. This data is too volatile to be able to spot them, you can kind of eyeball something, but you never want to eyeball data. You always want to try and get a sense of what’s actually going on. So let’s look at applying a seven day moving average moving averages nothing more then being able to take a consistent window of time in this case, seven days and doing the mathematical some of the previous seven days traffic. And then as each day moves with a new day up front, you chop off the day on the back end.

changes. And that’s what this blue line here represents. It represents a seven day moving average. And you can see as traffic goes down in during the holidays, and then as traffic starts to go up, the moving average starts to go up, and so on, so forth. So this is a way to smooth out data a little bit and spot a trend. It’s much easier to see and it’s much more correct. Now we’ll see that the moving average around January one was about 300 visitors per day. And then by the time we get to January 15, I’m about 450 visitors a day. And now here in in mid to late February. I’m around 500 visitors a day. So if you can spot a trend here that we’re going in the in the general right direction. Now the moving average the simple moving averages, good for smoothing things out, but it is it can be a little too simplistic. And if you’re trying to spot anomalies and trends in your analytics for the purposes of doing something you may want to look at what’s called an exponential moving average.

This is the same idea. But then you add a weight awaiting factor to it to say like I want to count the influence less three days more than the weight of the, the previous four days before that. So in a seven day average what’s happened more recently, I want that to count for more because I want to be able to respond to trends quicker. And so we see here the the exponential moving average, you can see there’s, there’s a bit more up and down. And this is reflective of the fact that, you know, there are things like weekends and things just like just as we saw in the previous one, there’s it that’s smoother. This is more, you know, following the lines and curves of the actual data, but

it’s a little bit fast. If you look in the previous example here, there was that big spike and then it really only started to show up here, right, this is a big spike and then within a day that shows up my exponential moving average.

I’m looking day over day I’m checking on my analytics and saying home I my is my traffic from my conversions up, the exponential moving average might tell me a little sooner, hey, you need to do something, hey, things are down and things are up. Now there’s some logical things need to apply here. Obviously when it drops precipitously my site is largely a b2b audience. And so the weekends are always going to be a bit of a downer, same for holidays.


this is a good indicator good trend like things again, going in the general right direction. My exponential moving average on the first was 300 and here we are in mid February and around 525 or so. So still being able to spot the trend and get a sense of where we are

Let’s add another average to this will add what’s called the 28 day moving average. And now of course, instead of

just a seven day window, we also add a 28 day window for last four weeks. By the way, you always want us 28 days not 30 because the

Week structure, right? The someone’s have 30 days someone’s have 31 days someone’s have 28 days as occasionally 29 days and by using a 28 day moving average you’re saying that I’m averaging from four weeks ago on the calendar so Saturday to Saturday if you do 30 days sometimes it can be a Saturday or Sunday if your b2b and it totally hosed your your analysis.

So in this case 28th day moving average really smooths down so I’ve got my exponential green one. But this is my seventh day I got my 28 day one which is the red one here and that what’s interesting to think about is when your short term average your seven day average is above your 28 day average means your site’s growing. It’s going in the right direction or the other hand when you’re 70 which goes below your 28 day average this kind of it means that you’re kind of taking a dip right you’re kind of taking a drop in traffic you’re decides not growing as fast so we can see this again generally speaking a bad practice to eyeball but we

can see that over time in this period of time here, the seven this last seven days is not as good as this previous 28 days here, I have more bigger spikes here. And so that the red line reflects that when you’re green line, or in this case of 78, which goes below the red line, the site is contracting our Analytics tracking. So this was Facebook data, you say our Facebook views are reaches contracting. And that’s a bad thing. That’s when when when this does this, like it’s time to crank up the ads a little bit, or send some email or tweet about it or publish new content, whatever you do to get you the numbers you want, you would do at this period of time, because that’s kind of an emergency saying like, hey, hit the panic button. This is what we call a a, it’s called a moving average convergence divergence indicator. And that basically means it’s the difference between those two. So whenever this indicator is above zero, things are going good was below zero.

Do something hit hit hit some ads do something to get that back in place. We can see here just a few days ago, it was a below zero point. And if we look in the actual chart, there was a pretty substantial below zero point right here. So that was if we were running this analysis on a on a daily basis, that’d be a time to hit the button. Okay, let’s let’s, let’s crank it up our spend

the last one last transplanting tool is called clinical bollinger bands. And this is a technique from the stock market. These are all stock market techniques. But this is one where you’re looking at you’re moving average and trying to figure out if it does ever go beyond two standard deviations from the average and in the at the upper averages. The red lower average is this red here. If this blue line crosses one of those, something really weird has happened. Maybe you got a big hit on

CNN or something like that. Or maybe your website’s tracking codes stopped working, whatever the case may be, if you are running this analysis.

You see that blue line touch one of these bands. It’s, that’s that’s the real panic button. That’s when you really have to look hard at what’s going on and what’s going either wrong or very, very right and double down on it. So

these four techniques, simple moving, average exponential moving, average moving average convergence divergence indicator and bollinger bands are ways to spot trends in your analytics data. And it can be applied to any data for which is in a time series format. So Facebook analytics YouTube views number of people who physically walked in your store that day if you’ve got the data and it’s ordered by time you can use these techniques to spot anomalies, to spot trends and most importantly, to take action if you know what fuels the indicator and you know what you need to do to get indicated going in the right direction. Use these techniques to get those answers a great question Julie. As always, please subscribe to youtube channel and the newsletter I’ll talk to you soon want help solving your company’s data.

And digital marketing problems. This is a trust today and let us know how we can help you.

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