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Optimizely Knowledge Base

Use cases for the total value metric

 
relevant products:
  • Optimizely X Web Experimentation
  • Optimizely X Web Personalization
  • Optimizely X Full Stack
  • Optimizely X Mobile

THIS ARTICLE WILL HELP YOU:
  • Identify use cases for the total value metric
  • Decide whether to use a total value metric for your experiments and campaigns
  • Set up total value metrics in your experiments and campaigns
     

Total value is a type of metric that enables you to quantify visitor actions beyond simple conversions and revenue. With total value, you can track the performance of a custom event numerically per conversion, per visitor (with Experimentation, Full Stack, and Mobile), or per session (with Personalization). 

For example, imagine that you measure number of items purchased as a custom event. With the total value metric, you can now track the trend for the number of items purchased per visitor or per conversion. 

Total value allows many programs to better align the metrics they attach to experiments to higher-level business goals.

Enable total value by adding a little JavaScript to your experiment or campaign. Read on for more inspiration for when and how to use total value metrics.

E-commerce and retail

If you’re an ecommerce business, you probably track units per order or items per order (IPO) as a key performance indicator. Use total value to track IPO performance in your experiment.

Imagine that you run a retail shoe site and you’re experimenting with the number of shoes displayed on a product category page. You hypothesize that displaying a few, large product images on each page will help visitors browse and and buy more shoes. You track Add to Cart clicks as your primary metric. But you’re also concerned that visitors exposed to fewer shoes may purchase fewer items overall. So, you use total value to track Items per Order (IPO) -- and ensure that a key business metric is headed in the right direction.

To add IPO as a metric for your experiment, follow the instructions to build a metric based on a Units per Order click event and use the following parameter settings:

  • Winning direction: Increase

  • Numerator: total value

  • Denominator: per conversion

unitsperorder.gif

More total value metrics for e-commerce and retail:

Measure high-value behavior beyond conversions and revenue

  • Number of items added to or removed from cart

  • Number of items per order 

  • Number of products viewed

  • Number of filters applied

  • Number of related products viewed

  • Category page scroll depth

  • Page load time

Travel

Imagine that your site offers flight and resort packages for Hawaiian vacations, with ancillary products like snorkeling outings, surf lessons, and spa appointments. The total value metric can help you track the number of ancillary products added to a transaction in an experiment.

Suppose that on your site, visitors go immediately to the checkout pages after they select a vacation package. On the checkout page, they can either complete checkout or choose to see your ancillary products. You hypothesize that if you send visitors to a page of ancillary product options before the checkout page, more visitors will add them to their vacations. Use total value metric to track the number of ancillary products that visitors add per conversion to find out if you’re correct.

To add the total value metric, build a metric for Number of Ancillary Products and use the following parameter settings:

  • Winning direction: Increase

  • Numerator: total value

  • Denominator: per visitor

numberancillaryproducts.png

What if you also want to increase the total dollar amount of ancillary products your visitors add to their vacations? You might hypothesize that listing higher-cost products earlier on the page will increase the dollar amount your visitors spend on ancillary products. you can use a total value metric based on a “dollar amount spent on ancillary products” event, with the same parameter settings:

Winning direction: Increase
Numerator: total value
Denominator: per visitor

More total value metrics for travel:

Determine booking efficacy and ability to upsell ancillary products

  • Number of items added to or removed from cart

  • Number of ancillary products purchased

  • Steps of booking funnel completed

B2B and lead generation

Sites that rely on lead generation usually use forms to gather key information. Your forms must capture enough information from visitors that your sales team can identify valuable leads. At the same time, forms can’t be so long that visitors won’t complete them. You must optimize your forms so they gather enough information and your visitors actually complete them.

Use a total value monitoring metric to learn how many fields your visitors typically complete. If you discover that many visitors abandon your form after completing 4 questions, for example, you can design forms to capture the information you need in 4 questions or less.

Add a total value metric for number of form fields completed: build a metric based on a “number of completed form fields” event for the form you want to track. Use these parameter settings for your metric:

Winning direction: Increase
Numerator: total value
Denominator: per visitor 

completeformfields.png

Other total value metrics that can help with lead generation include average lead score, number of pieces of content downloaded, and page scroll depth (25/50/75/100%). You might also try these ideas for optimizing your forms.

More total value metrics for B2B and lead generation:

Measure high-value behavior beyond clicks and conversions

  • Number of form fields completed

  • Video consumed

  • Unique pages per visit

  • Page scroll depth (25/50/75/100%)

Media

If you have a media site, you’re probably interested in increasing the number of pages viewed per visitor, especially if you have ads on your site.

Suppose your site includes a blog with ads. You might hypothesize that adding a weekly newsletter with your latest blog posts will increase the total number of blog articles (and therefore, ads) each visitor views. You can test your hypothesis by using total value to track the number of articles per visitor and learn whether your email newsletter is getting your visitors to read more of your blog articles.

To add a total value metric for number of articles per visit for your experiment, build a metric based on your “total pages viewed per visitor” event and use the following parameter settings:

  • Winning direction: Increase

  • Numerator: total value

  • Denominator: per visitor 

totalpages.png

If you’re running a Personalization campaign, you might also want to test whether adding suggestions for three related articles at the end of every blog article will increase the total number of articles a visitor views per session. You can test your hypothesis by using total value to track the number of articles per session and learn whether your article suggestions are working.

In this case, you would add a “number of sessions” event in your Personalization campaign and build a total value metric with these parameter settings:

  • Winning direction: Increase

  • Numerator: total value

  • Denominator: per session 

More total value metrics for media:

Measure reader engagement and content consumption

  • Ad units per visit

  • Ad viewability rate

  • Video play duration

  • Article scroll depth (25/50/75/100%)

  • Article page load time

  • Number of articles read

  • Number of videos watched

  • Article count per page

Evaluate the effectiveness of website messaging and content on generating qualified leads

  • Average lead score

  • Pieces of content downloaded

  • Number of form fields completed

  • Demo video play duration

Additional resources