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How to do a Domain Traffic Test - Assembling the Data

How to do a Domain Traffic Test - Assembling the Data

When I was speaking at NamesCon in January I said that I would like to show the attendees the best computer game I’ve ever played. It has all the aspects of both a tactical and strategic game with a bit of time travel for good measure. Everyone leaned forward with expectation…

I then put Excel up on the big screen in the room. It’s safe to say there was a bit of laughter. Let’s think about it for a second, Excel allows us to answer questions about the performance of our domains like no other application can. We can view the past, compare it to the present and even predict the future.

Right now we are going to mobilise the data that we have arrayed from the previous articles in the series so that we can understand what is happening with our domain traffic. This will be a VERY high level view of our traffic test but I believe that it will help get some answers to our questions.

The first thing we need to do is to ensure that all of the baseline data is in the same currency as the testing monetisation source. Once this is done then we then need to convert everything to daily data. The reason why we need daily data is that it gets rid of the problems associated with 28/30/31 days in a month and also allows us to later compare the data against daily from the new testing source.

Next, create another tab in Excel and call this “Latest Data”. When capturing data make sure that you have multiples of 7 days so that any variability caused by the weekends can be minimised. All of this data needs to be brought back to a daily format so that we can then compare it to the baseline.

Make sure you check the DNS settings of EVERY domain in the test so that domains not pointed correctly can be removed. There’s no point in penalising a test by having domains with baseline data and no data from the testing source.

Now create a tab called “Analysis”. In this tab you need to add you complete list of domains in column A, Column B, C and D are for the baseline views, revenue and RPM. Columns E, F and G are for the new monetisation company’s views, revenue and RPM.

Now that the data is sorted out you are now in a position to conduct some analysis.

The first rudimentary analysis is for column H and it’s the difference between the new monetisation source and the baseline’s revenue. This will show you which domains are winning and losing and by how much. I typically sort all of the data by this column with the winners at the top and the losers down the bottom.

I then create a column I which is the cumulative revenue. It tells me things such as the maximum amount that the new company is winning by and whether my test is in the positive or negative.

Now we start to get into the deeper analysis of, “Why am I losing or winning?” Over the years I’ve found most people don’t bother asking this question and end up making the incorrect optimisation decision.

For example, let’s imagine that the new company is winning on XXXX.com by $10/day. This is awesome! But after doing a bit more analysis you discover that the reason why is that XXXX.com received 10 times the traffic of the baseline during that period of time!

So in column J put the percentage of views the testing source has over the baseline and then in column K add the percentage RPM. This will then quickly tell you whether the domain is winning/losing due to traffic or results. Remember that this is not a normalised RPM so take it with a grain of salt.

In the next article I'll be taking you through how to conduct the analysis and some of the things that it can tell you about your traffic test. BTW, I'm considering running an online webinar in this topic. If you would like to attend then please leave a comment here.


Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.

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