I wanted to follow up on my previous post Web Analytics and Change: Do these two concepts really go together? just so we don’t stay on a dark note and think that web analytics and change are two incompatible concepts. To me, for web analytics to be able to drive change, two things need to be happen. First of all, time needs to be allocated for this and second of all, processes have to be in place for this.
Let’s go back to the obstacles I raised in my last post. The first obstacle was the amount of people coming to you with very different questions about the site, the customers…To tackle that, I make sure I give new starters basic training on the analytics tool that is in use in the business. I also ask them about their job so I get an understanding of the type of data they can benefit from. That way, I can create custom reports for them straightaway, (and people love custom reports, it makes them feel a bit special!) Obviously, the same principles can be applied to existing members of the team. By doing this, you will save yourself and your team members some time. Time not spent on answering random questions on a regular basis means more time spent on higher value analyses that can lead to change.
The second obstacle I was describing was the amount of time required by the data collection process. In my opinion, there are two different approaches for this. The first approach is to review on a regular basis the amount of data that is really required; after all, businesses change constantly so reports should reflect that. The inconvenient of doing this is when you come to do an annual review and when you have altered your reports multiple times in the meantime, some of the data will be missing and it can be annoying. The second approach which is more practical than the first one consists in automating your reports. When I say automate, I mean automate, automate and automate again, so automate big time basically! Unfortunately and as described in my first post, not all web analytics tools have an excel plug in easy to use built into them. Now, depending on how many hours/days a week you spend on reporting, there could be a solid argument to justify switching to a more adequate analytics platform. Again, time not spent on reporting means time spent on analysing the data properly,and making recommendations that can drive change.
The last point I made in the previous post was the fact that it was very common for drastic changes to take place on a site without web analytics being taken into consideration at any stage. Now, this is a hard one to tackle because for this to change, it requires web analytics to be put at the centre of the decision process. This is hard to achieve because this means proper processes to be in place. Having proper processes in place requires the whole of your business to take web analytics seriously. It’s very easy to organise one meeting to talk about the data that will be required for project X. However, it’s an other thing to have these data driven meetings happening on a regular basis with key stakeholders. If not done already, I would really recommend you to read the web analytics business process white paper by Eric Peterson which gives some very solid grounds on this: The Web Analytics Business Process.
I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has already implemented bits of what Eric is recommending in his white paper or any other web analytics processes of some sort.
Thank you for reading