March 18, 2009

Mega-Metrics: Micro-Channels Purchased From

This is a mega-metric that almost nobody is tracking.

And yet, this metric is our future.

We calculate Annual Micro-Channels purchased from by identifying the number of twelve month buyers, then summing the total number of unique micro-channel combinations the customer purchases from.

Micro-channels are a combination of the referring URL and the physical channel the customer purchased from. Referring URLs are usually summarized --- for instance, at Nordstrom, back in 2006, we combined all blogs, calling all of them one "micro-channel".

There are two trends we need to follow. First, there is an explosion of micro-channels, and if your business is not seeing customers purchasing from multiple micro-channels, it may mean that your customers are either unwilling to shop multiple micro-channels, or that you are not taking advantage of the veritable plethora of micro-channels that now exist.

Second, the shift in micro-channel behavior has never been faster. So this becomes really important. If you see stagnant growth in micro-channels purchased from, but a huge shift in micro-channel behavior (customers who used to use Google now use Twitter), then you have huge micro-channel cannibalization happening.

Micro-channel cannibalization is rampant on this blog. Three years ago, all of my visitors came from other blogs. Eighteen months ago, it was a combination of subscribers and Google juice. Today, visitors are a combination of subscribers, much less Google juice, and many more visitors from Twitter. There is no doubt that Twitter utterly cannibalized blog visitors, and is now in the embryonic stages of cannibalizing Google searchers.

These trends are happening, in real-time, on your e-commerce website. You'll want to measure annual micro-channels purchased from, and you'll want to use Multichannel Forensics to measure how customers are migrating between micro-channels. You'll want to work with the good folks at Coremetrics or Omniture to calibrate this (and all) mega-metrics.