It’s tempting. Google Analytics is free and it looks so easy to get started. Just install a java tag on your website pages and start start collecting data. You can use Google’s standard reports to very quickly look at who visits your site and what they do.
But it leads to a dead end. Those standard reports by themselves are too generic. They won’t reveal the insights you are looking for.
You risk more than your time. The real risk is that you may give up in frustration and never find out what you need to know. You continue to fly blind, never knowing which marketing investments are working and which ones are not.
Experienced web analysts know that when they plan their analytics more systematically they receive rich dividends.
Whitmore’s Web Analytics Process
Caleb Whitmore at Analytics Pros has described his web analytics planning process. He is an authority on the subject from the many Google Analytics implementations he has done for his clients.
- Business goals: Why does this website exist? You are making a significant investment in your online presence. What business goals does your investment support? An increase in sales and revenue? Higher quality marketing leads?
- Supporting questions: With goals in hand, you can start to ask questions about how your website can help you to reach your goals. Everyone involved should participate in this brainstorming exercise.
- Data requirements for answering questions: Assign KPIs and metrics that will answer your supporting questions.
- Implementation: With a clear set of data requirements, you can meet with your developers to plan the implementation. Your implementation will collect the data that will be relevant to your analysis and reporting.
- Report configuration and access: Finally you can start giving your stakeholders the information they want. This work includes assembling the various profiles, reports, and dashboards that people will need.
- Analysis and answers: Time to dig into the information you are getting and look for the insights that will tell you what changes to make on your site.
Kaushik’s Marketing and Measurement Model
Here’s a thought. Use Avinash Kaushik’s Digital Marketing and Measurement Model to both expand and simplify Whitmore’s web analytics process.
Kaushik’s model starts where Whitmore does, with agreement on business objectives. It then transitions from the business to the website by specifying goals, selecting KPIs, setting target for your KPIs, and singling out important segments.
The marketing and measurement model could replace the first three steps in Whitmore’s process. It would also clarify the types of questions to ask and the data requirements to answer them.
The hybrid of Whitmore’s and Kaushik’s models for a web analtyics process has four steps. The first one includes the five actions to develop a marketing and measurement model.
Many companies don’t implement a web analytics process. By following this hybrid process you will be ahead of most of your competitors. Before you start your analytics implementation, you’ll have a clear picture of what you want to measure, why you want the data, and how it will improve your business.