Web analytics is a necessary discipline when working in online marketing. It’s what proves whether your initiatives, campaigns or designs are working or if they’re a total flop. With the wide adoption and ease of use of Google Analytics, it’s easy to take web analytics for granted. So easy in fact that those who don’t have an analytics background are taking the data as-is with no further thought behind how it was collected or why it is the way it is.
Web metrics can easily be skewed leading to the wrong decisions if certain principles aren’t adhered to.
The following is a manifesto for anyone responsible for web analytics for their organization.
I <insert your name here>, who is responsible for analyzing and disseminating web metrics vow to adhere to the following web analytics principles and guidelines:
- Interview business stakeholders for their web analytics expectations and requirements before launching a new website or starting a web analytics initiative
- QA new websites thoroughly to ensure all pages are tagged appropriately, making certain data being collected is as accurate as possible
- Stay involved throughout the evolution of a website as new pages are added or updated making sure they are all tagged appropriately
- Question the accuracy of any sudden spikes and dips in traffic or activity
- Investigate the cause of all traffic or activity spikes and dips
- Visit the site’s web pages as I am analyzing the data to provide context
- Keep up to date with all offline and online promotions, marketing campaigns and publicity that could affect website traffic
- Hold back distribution of web metrics reports until all data inconsistency issues are either addressed or the cause has been identified
- Do my best to only supply web metrics that are actionable
- Do not send dashboards to key decision makers without being accompanied with a thorough analysis
- Do not assume stakeholders will analyze or see the data in the same way I do
- Segment the data as best as I can to provide context regarding activity on the website
- Distribute web metrics not only to executives but to content developers, designers and web developers to see the impact of their work
- Train key stakeholders on web metrics basics or provide them with succinct training materials
- When appropriate, combine web analytics with data from other sources such as the CRM, forum systems or blog platforms
- Remember that web analytics is only part of the equation and to do my best to push for more qualitative data from surveys or interviews
- Stay up to date in my training and continually improve by learning from other practitioners
If you think I missed any, I’d like to hear from you.