When launching the vole site, I didn’t want to allow the usual privacy free-for-all with analytics/embeds/widgets snooping on visitors, and there was no way a cookie consent overlay was going to deface my beautiful creation. So I went looking for a cookie-free, anonymised web stats service and found… surprisingly little.

Fathom dashboard

Luckily I eventually discovered Fathom. It’s not free (because they don’t sell/use your data) but works well, preserves privacy and has a Goals feature for tracking sales that can also aggregate game/quiz scores to discover things like…

  • Is the game easier/harder than expected?
  • Do people keep replaying?
  • How many visitors don’t bother playing at all?
  • What percentage completed it?

Real-world example

Can You Draw a Perfect Circle?

Using Fathom, I’ve analysed most of my recent games over the first few weeks, e.g. 17 days after Can You Draw a Perfect Circle? went live I could calculate…

  • >10 million circles drawn in total
  • 19.1 circles drawn per page view
  • 82.4% average score

(By manually collating 200 tweets, I estimated the average shared score was 95.5%)

Setting up the goal

Show more data Assuming you’ve got Fathom up and running and Show more data switched on, the Goals area should be visible and Create a goal can be clicked.

Wombat Invaders

I’m going to create one for an amazing imaginary game, Wombat Invaders.

Create a goal

You then get the snippet of code to track that goal:

Goal: Wombat Invaders

Logging the score

In your JavaScript, use that snippet when it’s game over, replacing the zero with an integer score:

if (gameoverManGameover) {
    window.fathom.trackGoal('ENNMI69H', score);
}

For fractional scores you can multiply up then round to an integer, e.g. for two decimal places:

if (gameoverManGameover) {
    window.fathom.trackGoal('ENNMI69H', Math.round(100*score));
}

Analysing the data

Once you’ve got some scores coming in, they’ll immediately show up in the dashboard:

Goals

The aggregate Value is displayed as if the scores logged were in cents. If the main stats show the game was viewed 16 times, we can then calculate:

  • 4106.125 average score (98547/24)
  • 1.5 plays per view (24/16)

So the imaginary Wombat Invaders isn’t replayed a lot, but I’m imagining it’s so mind-blowing that once or twice is enough.

Levels and endings

To track how many visitors don’t bother to play at all, you can set up another goal and log it when the first attempt starts (with no score passed in, just the default zero), then compare Completions with Views.

If you want to know what percentage complete the game or reach a certain level, you can similarly set up separate goals to track at appropriate points. Note that each goal event submitted counts towards your page views quota, so heavy logging could push you into a higher payment tier.

If you want to try it…

You can sign up for Fathom here to get a 7-day free trial plus $10 off if you decide to continue (I’ll then get a much-deserved reward for sending you there).

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23rd June, 2020