Let’s start with the punch line – roughly 50% of people arriving at Firefox Support (support.mozilla.com) do so accidentally. And yes, cats are a common culprit! Below is the story of how we arrived at this insight.
The metrics and SUMO teams have been working hard to better understand the traffic at support.mozilla.com and users’ experiences there. One critical item we’ve had trouble wrapping our heads around has been the unusually high bounce rate on the SUMO home page. Looking strictly at the web analytic numbers, roughly 86% of visitors immediately exit the site.
As a multi-pronged approach to figure out what the heck is going on here, we considered a couple options:
- Implement a feedback button/form on the home page, allowing users to tell us what is on their mind – more on this below
- Modify our tracking so that we can see the percentage of visits that are derived from people hitting the F1 key on their keyboard – the SUMO team will soon be discussing the details of this change
For approach #1, we initially implemented a button in the bottom corner of the page (button and feedback form are pictured below). This page sees nearly 10,000,000 visitors monthly, so we were fairly sure that we would be able to understand some key insights rather quickly. Unfortunately, events did not play out as expected. Over the course of nearly a month, we had fewer than 1,000 total responses, which translates to a click-through rate of roughly 0.0001% (ouch!). To boot, there didn’t appear to be any revealing patterns or insights within the responses.
At this point, we felt bewildered and didn’t know where else to turn. So, what did we do? We implemented a pop-up.
Let me stress that I hate pop-ups, hate them. Given our circumstances, we decided to run the feedback pop-up question for just a 24-hour period and show it to 60% of visitors to the SUMO home page (they saw it when trying to leave the page).
The findings were amazing. Firstly, out of 700 total comments, only one or two people said something negative about the pop-up itself. Many comments were along the lines of, “Firefox is great” (someone even pointed out that we should have included a positive category within the survey form). Here’s one example:
“i admire this site and this browser. it is faster, and safer,…….. so many add ons that can use and its fun…… i think this is the best internet browser that i have…. i using ubuntu 9.04 and its work fine…tnx more power to you…. and to your team….”
Secondly, we were able to confirm a hypothesis – nearly half of the traffic to the SUMO home page appears to be accidental (e.g., a user accidentally hitting F1 on his/her keyboard). The screenshot below comes from Kampyle’s dashboard (they’re the feedback analytics firm who helped us with this project) and it shows a breakdown of people’s feedback by category. That blue slice of the pie is “Arrived by Mistake”… that’s huge! Even though it shows as 40%, we’re guessing that the true percentage is closer to 50%, as some folks arriving by mistake likely closed their tab/window within a fraction of a second and missed our feedback question.
[As a side note, this is a perfect example of why pure web analytics – alone – can fail us (analysts, marketers, business managers, etc.). Without hearing real comments from real people, we could have easily been led down the wrong path by relying solely on the data.]
Lastly, we wanted to look at the exact feedback left by people visiting support.mozilla.com by mistake. The vast majority indicated that they indeed realized that they had accidentally hit the F1 key. Diving in a little further, we wanted to share a small sample of actual comments. Enjoy!
“actually the cat walked on the keyboard”
“bent over to pick something up and accidentally leaned on the f1 key”
“Cat jumped onto laptop”
“CHILD GOT A HOLD OF THE KEYBOARD AND STARTED PUSHING BUTTONS.”
“finger too big. finger hit f1 by mistake. stupid bigfinger.”
“i was dusting, its nice to know this site exists.”
“I was stretching in my chair, and next thing I know, I’m on the FF help site. OOPS!!”
“I was using a netbook in the dark and thought I was pressing 1 but I hit F1 by mistake. Aside from that I’ve usually found the firefox support site quite helpful on the rare occasion that I’ve needed it.”
“my 2 year old was playing with the keyboard”
“My 9 month old was playing with my keyboard.”
“My baby likes to grab my computer and press buttons. She grabbed my keyboard and held the F1 button down so the Support site opened in about nine tabs.”
“My cat stepped on my laptop. :-P”
“My daughter is always pressing it. I never knew which button it was before now.”
“my fat finger syndrome is acting up again”
“My nails are long and I constantly hit the F1 button.”
“now I know which key my baby hit when he was banging on the keyboard.”
“Oops. Accidentally hit F1, but wow! The support site is great! Lots of info. I may have to come back intentionally! Thanks for a great product!”
“the key was hit by the telephone”
“Yes, I arrived at this site by pressing F1 key. No matter how I came here but would like to let you know – I love Firefox and thanks for provinding us this great product.”
“cat hit keys”
“Cat on keyboard”
“Dropped food on keyboard”
“my cat hit the help key….lol”
“My cat pressed F1, but it’s cool”
“my pet rat walked over my keyboard and hit the F1 Key LOL – Sorry!”
“No clue–my cat was wandering around and probably stepped on something but it was nice ending up here because I’m seeing all kinds of things that look very interesting.”
“my son was hitting some random keys on my laptop and suddenly I get this.”