One of the most exciting new features in Fusion is Head-n-Tail Analysis. Strangely enough this has nothing to do with shampoo or horses, but it is a way to look at a large set of queries and identify:

  • Head – The queries that generate most of your traffic and conversions
  • Tail – The queries that generate very few or no clicks
  • Torso – Everything else in between

When to Use Head-n-Tail Analysis

Why you’d want to know which queries don’t result in clicks should be obvious. If a user searched on “blue trees” but didn’t find those little car air fresheners they were looking to purchase, it’s a missed opportunity. Maybe an incentive could encourage the user to convert to a purchase or a click.

Frequent queries are also an opportunity for higher clickthroughs. Popular queries could be optimized with a particular promotion or featured on the homepage or in an email campaign. Remember, most users that go to any website, bounce. The more you cut that bounce rate, the better you serve your users whether that means higher productivity in enterprise search or more sales in e-commerce.

Whether you’re in digital commerce or you’re developing an enterprise search app for a corporate intranet, Head-n-Tail reveals the reasons users leave your site without finding what they were searching for. Either it should have been on the front page or it should have been in the search results. Whether the user misspelled something or they should have been more descriptive isn’t the issue. The issues is that your search needs to anticipate the user’s needs.

Optimizing the Head, the Tail, and Everything Else

For the tail queries, Fusion doesn’t just tell you “this isn’t good” but suggests ways that you can rewrite the query. In some cases it is just adding “slop” or flexibility to the keyword or phrase. In some cases it is a spelling issue and maybe you want to add a synonym. Head-n-Tail analysis will tell you some of those right off the bat.

For the head queries, this may be as simple as adding the top n items to your front page. It also might be a good hint that you should use a recommender to personalize the front page to a user. There are other tools in Fusion that may also be useful in this case. You could just offer a redirect when someone types “contact information” in the search bar. Or you could enable signal boosting the more relevant results will automatically bubble up to the top.

How to Get Started

We’ve got an in-depth technical paper Fusion Head-Tail Analysis Reveals Why Users Leave available to guide you along with an upcoming webinar: Fusion 4 Head-n-Tail Analysis, with Lucidworks VP of Research, Chao Han.

Additional Resources