Track User Interest In SharePoint

This article is mainly targeted to the SharePoint Online environment, but is valid for most of the OnPremise versions of SharePoint (2013, 2016) too.

Overview

This article is mainly targeted to the SharePoint Online environment but is valid for most of the OnPremise versions of SharePoint (2013, 2016) as well. SharePoint is famous for its intranet capability. Many organizations are using SharePoint effectively to build their intranets using SharePoint. As SharePoint is part of Office 365 (i.e. SharePoint Online) the boundaries between the intranet and the extranet are fading away. The SharePoint online site can be shared with the external users (e.g. Customers, Vendors) for greater collaboration.

Typical SharePoint Site Layout

SharePoint sites are developed as user-centric sites;  that means the landing page of SharePoint should show the major areas users are interested in. Typically it includes news, articles, announcements, tasks etc. Below is an example of how a typical SharePoint intranet home page looks.

SharePoint

At a higher level, this seems fine as we are displaying important news, links, and announcements to users. But a few questions come to mind:

  1. Are we imposing this typical layout on our users?
  2. Are users really interested to see this?
  3. Is there anything else that users are interested to see?
  4. How can this design be evolved over time?

Track Users’ interest

To get answers to the above questions, we need to find out the user activities on our SharePoint site.

  1. How are users using the SharePoint site?
  2. Which content would users like to see?
  3. What type of content attracts users?
  4. What terms do users typically search for in SharePoint site?

Search Reports

SharePoint site collection administrator can play a vital role in finding out this information using an out of the box feature of SharePoint – Search Reports.

Get the Search Reports

  1. On the root site, click Settings (Gear icon) > Site settings

    SharePoint
  1. Under Site Collection Administration section, click Popularity and Search Reports

    SharePoint

  2. The Usage Reports page will display the number of Usage Reports and Search Reports

Usage Reports

 SharePoint

Search Reports

SharePoint

 

  1. The more useful reports to see the users interaction with SharePoint site are Top Queries; i.e., Top Queries by Day and Top Queries by Month.

  2. Under Search Reports, click the link to view the reports in detail.

    SharePoint
  1. Also, the Usage Reports will show how frequently your SharePoint site is being used.

    SharePoint

These steps will work on any of the SharePoint environment (Online and OnPremise – 2013, 2016) to get the usage details

Search Reports at Tenant Level

This section is only applicable to SharePoint online. To see how the users are using SharePoint sites across the tenant follow the below steps:

  1. Click Office 365 App Launcher > Admin.

    SharePoint

  2. Under Admin centers, click SharePoint

    SharePoint
  1. This will open up SharePoint Admin Center page.

  2. Click Search from the left navigation
    SharePoint

  3. Under Search Administration, click View Usage Reports

    SharePoint
  1. This will show the number of available Usage Reports and Search Reports

Usage Reports

 SharePoint

Search Reports

SharePoint

 

  1. These reports are same as we saw for the site collection but will give the details for the entire tenant (including all site collections under the tenant).

    SharePoint

Conclusion

By analyzing the Usage Reports and Search Reports, we can see how the users are using the SharePoint sites, what their content interests are, and what kind of information is being searched frequently. Based on these data points, the home page can be redesigned to include the content which users are more interested in. This will help make the SharePoint site more user-centric and interactive.

Limitations

  • Reports capture data for a year only (last 12 months).
  • The Usage and Search Reports captures data from classic search queries only. It does not include any search queries from Modern search (applies only to SharePoint online).