A user metric is a terrible thing to waste

April 29, 2013 Trace Wax

When it comes to user metrics, what should you log when you don’t know what to log?

Everything.

When you’re first getting an MVP site off the ground, you don’t know quite what you might want to track. And might not have time to think about it.

If you log everything your users do, however, then weeks or months of data will be there for you when you need it most, to answer your questions right away. That’s why I’m excited about companies like Heap are doing, logging every single user click.

For those without Heap invites, or if you’d prefer to use Kissmetrics, I wrote a simple gem to do the same with KissMetrics, for all your user clicks that hit your web server: km_everything. It logs all controller actions by default, but you can set up a whitelist to give them more meaningful and product-manager friendly names, or a ‘blacklist’ to prevent certain actions from being logged that aren’t meaningful and would use too much of your KissMetrics event quota.

Also, from what I’ve observed on KissMetrics, server-side metrics have proven more reliable. Metrics recorded via Javascript can be off if the user closes their browser too quickly after taking an action. Logging the metrics server-side also won’t take up any of the user’s processing power or show signs that remind them they’re being tracked.

Excited about our brave new world of meaningful ad hoc analytics with reams of user data, powered by ubiquitous metrics. This data will then show us how to make our sites even better for our users.

About the Author

Biography

More Content by Trace Wax
Previous
800,000 Messages/Minute: How Nokia's HERE Uses RabbitMQ to Make Real-time Traffic Maps
800,000 Messages/Minute: How Nokia's HERE Uses RabbitMQ to Make Real-time Traffic Maps

Back in 2008, Nokia acquired NAVTEQ Maps which has since become part of Nokia’s Location and Commerce busin...

Next
Feature hydra: how many heads does your product have?
Feature hydra: how many heads does your product have?

Should a web and iOS project have one or two tracks/teams/IPMs? I posted that question to our internal Q&A...

Enter curious. Exit smarter.

Register Now