Making the Most of Your Web Analytics
Every organization that has a website, regardless of size, should know what that website is contributing to the business. Analytics reports are designed to help you see that. However, knowing what information you need your analytics report to tell you is most important. Building a Web analytics strategy to help uncover those key performance indicators and design reports that tell you what you need to know is the best first step in making the most of your analytics package.
Web Analytics as a Tool
Most people who have a website also have some sort of website measurement tool. Many times this is a free solution provided by the hosting service. For example, Urchin was a very popular reporting service for a long time. Normally, these reporting tools are tucked into the website management interface and come with the default set of canned reports. When you see these reports they show some really intersting stuff–how many people visited your website, how many pageviews you get each week, what the most common files requested are, how many people came from search engines. In fact, these tools can show you so much stuff that it is easy to get lost. Or even worse, many people start correllating all the different bits of information in all sorts of different ways. You can spend hours digging through web analytics data, but miss the information completely. In the worst cases, some people end up in semi-permanent state of analysis paralysis.
Building a Web Analytics Strategy
This situation can be avoided, and the first step is to step away from your website analytics tool. Instead, sit down with yourself and the other business decision makers and decide what information is key for you to make a good decision. The services of an analytics consultant can be very helpful in facilitating this conversation. Some people will need the same information, some people will need completely different information, and some people will need similar but not quite the same information.
For example, the marketing manager and the sales manager need similar but not the same information–usually dealing with leads and sales close rates. The sales manager will need more details around the sales close rate while the marketing manager will need more detail around lead generation process. Product Marketing Managers will want all that information as they are normally tasked with marketing but responsible for units sold against a goal (we’ll talk about tracking goals in a later article).
Once you know what the key pieces of information are that you need to make well informed decisions, your analytics consultant can take those generic analytics reports and turn them into very valuable, actionable chunks of information.
Real World Example – Web Analytics Best Practices
An enterprise size client had a robust sales force, a well trained marketing team, several very involved VPs, and some really smart product marketing managers. They also had very few ways of knowing if their marketing was working. So, they made some infrastructure investments by upgrading their CRM and data warehousing. They started some new initiatives around marketing support. They gave more authority to their PMMs to make decisions. All really good ideas. However, they still could not tell how well their marketing was performing. After several rounds of conversations and many example reporting dashboards, the core issue started to become clear–they could not agree on definitions. What is a lead? What is an opportunity? What is a conversion? Without knowing these central pieces, they were cross-talking in a fundamental way. This lead to some very serious mis-alignments. How can you agree that you need to generate more opportunities, if you don’t understand and agree on what an opportunity is? Once we got some working definitions down and started using them, the decision making criteria became clear and the reports stopped being data and became actionable information.
In conjunction with our recently expanded Web analytics services, we’re putting together a series of posts with our Web analytics expert to shed some light on Web analytics best practices and how your organization can leverage analytics to improve business. Amplify Interactive is now providing full service Web Analytics strategy, implementation, support and reporting services across multiple platforms. Contact us if you’d like to discuss taking a more comprehensive, pro-active, and substantive approach to Web Analytics.