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Getting Started With Behavioral Analytics

September 2017 • SuiLin Yap

There are many types of analytics solutions available when it comes to helping you measure the performance of your business and growth efforts. Ad measurement tools help you optimize your advertising spend, crash analytics help you quickly catch issues, and a whole host of business intelligence tools help you report company metrics.

But when you're focused on driving growth, product and behavioral analytics solutions are the go-to for measuring and understanding what people are doing in your app, website, and other channels, such as your bot or Facebook Page. Insight into people's behavior helps you make smarter decisions around who to target and how to get them to take the actions that ultimately drive business growth, whether that's signing up for a service, purchasing an item, or some other key interaction.

In this post, we'll walk you through how to get started with product and behavioral analytics.

Identify the behaviors that coincide with your business and growth goals

Every business is focused on a specific set of priorities and goals. For example, an e-commerce startup likely cares about analytics such as the number of first-time and repeat customers they have, the number of purchases per customer, and the average purchase amount.

Getting started with behavioral analytics begins with identifying the customer actions that best align with your business goals. Continuing with the e-commerce example, that means customer activities, such as adding an item to their cart, completing a purchase, and the steps leading up to these actions, should be top of mind.

Getting started with behavioral analytics begins with identifying the customer actions that best align with your business goals.

Determine which channels to measure, and unify behavior across them

Today's consumers move across devices and channels when interacting with businesses, so if you have an app, website, and Facebook Page for example, you'll want to measure your customers' actions across all of them in order to get the full picture.

This makes selecting and setting up the right behavioral analytics tool a critical consideration. Many tools support only two channels - mobile apps and websites. They typically measure each channel independently, which means a single person's actions on your app and website may be logged as having come from two different people, making it difficult to understand their actual customer journey.

If your business interacts with people across multiple channels, make sure your analytics tool can measure across them.

However, omni-channel analytics tools, like Facebook Analytics, support a variety of channels, including apps, websites, Facebook Pages, Messenger bots, and even offline transactions. More importantly, Facebook Analytics focuses on people, rather than cookies, sessions, or devices, which allows it to understand when the same person interacts with your business across different channels. This means you can use it to measure and unify people's behavior without any additional work or hassle, such as manually assigning and mapping user IDs.

When setting up your analytics, make sure to use consistent terminology so you can easily understand when specific actions occur across your different channels. For example, if someone can make a purchase on your app, website, and physical store, use the pre-defined purchase event for each channel. Facebook Analytics will unify actions from the same person across channels so you can understand if someone visited your website, and then made a purchase in your app.

Log events and make sure they're working correctly

Now that you know which customer actions you want to measure and on which channels, it's time to set up your analytics to send events when these actions occur. Facebook Analytics provides 14 pre-defined events for most channels, with support for up to 1,000 unique event names, and up to 25 custom parameters for describing each event. These pre-defined events are a helpful way to get started, and they include common actions such as 'App Launched', 'Added To Cart', 'Completed Registration', and “Purchased'.

Depending on which channels you have, you'll need to instrument events with your analytics tool's SDK or pixel. Here are some guides for setting up events for Facebook Analytics.

Remember to be focused about what events you instrument. It can be tempting to measure everything “just in case”. To avoid logging more activities than you need, making subsequent analyses more time-intensive, think about the questions you're trying to answer, and focus on the events that will help you make those decisions.

Think about the questions you're trying to answer, and focus on the events that will help you make decisions.

The final step after instrumenting your events is to make sure they're firing correctly. An easy way to do this with Facebook Analytics is to use a test device to perform the actions you're trying to measure, and visit the Event Debugging section of your dashboard to check that your recent events have been logged.

Understand your audience and their behavior

Once you've set up your analytics tool to send events for the customer actions that correspond to your business goals, it's time to explore your metrics and learn how people are interacting with your business across your app, website, and other channels.

Here are five key metrics to help get you started. Facebook Analytics also offers powerful tools, such as ad-hoc funnels, cohorts, and segments, for slicing and dicing your data to find interesting insights that can lead to growth opportunities.


SuiLin Yap
Product Manager
Facebook Analytics