Web browsing behaviors are constantly changing. As a result, analysis of those behaviors must evolve to match those changes. A recent change that has become more prevalent over the past few months is tabbed browsing. The Firefox browser made tabbed browsing much more common, and now Microsoft has added it to Internet Explorer.
Tabbed browsing allows people to open more than one window within a browser and easily bounce back and forth. If you haven't already discovered tabbed browsing, check out this example.
Tabbed browsing has made comparing products, shopping for the right price, and researching products that much easier. For example, Chris is looking for a plasma television for his new home. He opens the browser and starts looking at ratings on Epinions. As he explores the ratings, he pops open links to pricing for a few different TVs in tabs. He decides to research a few different models on manufacturers' sites.
As he launches those pages in tabs, Chris is most likely triggering a page view and starting a visit for each site within its analytics tool. But he has yet to actually view those pages, since they opened behind the page he's viewing.
Chris may very well open 15-20 links in different tabs while doing his research. He bounces between the different tabs, clicking deeper into some sites, then bouncing back to other tabs. If he doesn't immediately see what he's looking for in a particular tab, he's even faster at closing it and moving on to the next. As he wraps up his research, he closes the browser (and all the tabs), possibly not even viewing some of them.
What does this mean for user behavior tracking and analytics? First, it appears tabbed browsing is only used by a small percentage of Web users but is becoming more prevalent. Depending on your audience, the following issues could arise and should be considered when analyzing site performance and visitor behaviors:
Tabbed browsing changes Web browsing behaviors and may change the way you look at some metrics when analyzing data. True, only a small percentage of people are actively using tabs when browsing, but it appears to be a growing trend.
As the Chief Performance Marketing Officer for POSSIBLE, Jason supports the agency's global Marketing Sciences and Media Services programs.
His primary role is to help POSSIBLE teams and clients use data to craft digital strategies that attract, convert, and retain customers - maximizing ongoing ROI across paid, earned, and owned channels. He believes that brands can better serve their customers by understanding audience behavior, and that messaging should be targeted to individual customers through the use of testing, behavioral targeting, and CRM initiatives.
Jason has written extensively about digital analytics, optimization and digital strategy, including an ongoing column at ClickZ.com. He is the co-author of "Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions," which is one of the leading texts in the field of digital analytics. His client roster includes Microsoft, Nike, Nokia, Dell, Ford, Sony, PayPal/eBay, P&G, Alcoa, Expedia, Mazda, Intel, and Motorola, and more. Jason is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars around the world ranging from the Cannes Lions, Adobe Omniture Summits, eMetrics, SES, ad:tech, BazaarVoice, and many other WPP events.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.
May 22, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT
June 5, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT