Introduction to Snoobi’s moving average function

           

Have you ever looked at a graph, trying to spot a trend and see if your website or campaign is giving you the desired results?

It is a fact that humans find it easier to spot trends in graphs than in a column with numbers and metrics.
To help with reviewing trends, this article will highlight the use of a less often used feature in Snoobi Analytics: the ability to show graphs over time using a 7-day average view.

You may ask what the problem is with just using the standard timeline and looking at the performance over different date ranges? After all, the direct graph provides direct insight, such as immediately after you launched a new campaign and want to see if it is effective.

But that is different when you want to review a trend. There are many reasons why site traffic can change from week to week and from month to month. A change in traffic or any other metric may be attributed to seasonality, the number of days in a month, or maybe a new campaign or even a change in the weather.

Using a short date range will often see drops in numbers on weekends only to peak again on Mondays. Comparing individual days or short date ranges will thus not help us spot possible trends.

What is a moving average?

You may have seen the 7-day moving average in other graphs, as it is now often used to show trends in for example COVID-19 cases. In Snoobi, this means that we sum the past 7 days of metrics, take the average of those days, and use that moving average for the graph in Snoobi.

Two real-life examples

Let’s look at a real-life example. Below are two graphs for the same period showing the number of views of a home page for a 1-year period.
While the week-over-week details are clearly visible in Image 1, spotting a trend is much easier to do using the moving average as shown in Image 2.

Image 1: No moving average
Image 1: No moving average

Image 2: 7-day moving average used
Image 2: 7-day moving average used

Another example is where we look at visit duration over a longer period. In this example we look at a website that has been stable with no changes in pages or content made during the selected period. When content or the number of pages would have been increased, this would also need to be taken into consideration as this impacts the average visit duration.

Image 3 is a graph showing visit duration. It provides detail but makes it hard to spot a trend. Image 4 is a graph showing the visit duration using a 7-day moving average. The graph here clearly shows a drop in
average visit duration around week 2. It may be too early to draw conclusions and change the site or launch a campaign but it may be a trend to investigate further.

Image 3: Visit duration without averages being applied

Image 4: Visit duration over time using moving average

These examples show that using the 7-day average calculation in Snoobi can be used to get a better view of possible important trends in your web analytics.

Summary

To summarize, use a graph with direct metrics when you want to observe changes immediately. Snoobi provides results in minutes so you can view changes almost ‘as they happen’, enabling you to view results and act immediately if these are not as you expected them to see.

Use the 7-day moving average in graphs as a tool to spot trends in important KPI’s over time.