Simple event logging

Measuring everything doesn’t necessarily have to involve complex analytics tools, or lots of development.

Here is a simple way to quickly log events of interest, for example if you are running an AB test.

Create a single table in your database with the following columns:


  • user_id
  • other_id
  • event_type (either a string or a foreign key)
  • details
  • timestamp

Then whenever something happens that you want to track, insert a row.  You can use the details field to track whatever data is relevant to the event.

Optimise the table for inserts, so that you can quickly add rows whenever required.  Then export the data when you want to run reports.  You can flush all of the data when you have your answer (or do it automatically every week, or month)


AB Testing

Do you AB test?

Lots of people talk about it, but I don’t see many examples of people actually doing it.

Here is one example I saw last week, which sounds like it produced some great results.

The key, I think, is to keep it simple.

For example, find something small you can change easily and run an experiment.  Find an appropriate ID and use a mod2 to split your audience in half.  And, track the results so you know what impact the change has made (more on this shortly).

Then rinse and repeat.

When I say small, I mean small – see this from the Google blog:

Search experiments large and small

If you’ve done AB testing I’d be interested to hear from you.

How did you do it?  What results did you get?