01 – Getting started with Analytics
The challenge with analytics today lies not only in knowing what to track in order to successfully monitor and evaluate digital performance, but also in knowing what not to track. Most analytics platforms these days are very advanced and can track almost anything and everything, however, this does not mean that it should. The key to this exists in effectively identifying business requirements and objectives first and foremost, before any implementation takes place.
The key to any successful analytics strategy is a well designed analytics framework and does not stop at the initial analytics setup and implementation but rather, is a life cycle of continuous evaluation and refinement.
Define & Document
This is a crucial phase in the analytics lifecycle. Organisations can often get carried away with wanting to track every minute detail of customer behaviour but this can often do more harm than good. Reporting becomes confusing, cumbersome and any “nuggets” and insights are buried too deep amongst the “useless” data to be of any value.
Identify what the purpose of your website, mobile site, or app is. Is it to generate transactions and revenue, generate quality leads or increase brand awareness, or is to to encourage website engagement and content consumption? This step is extremely important as it will help drive and define your website’s KPIs, metrics and analytics tracking requirements. Document these metrics and tracking requirements into an Analytics Solution Design specific to your chosen analytics platform. The Solution Design should Include the specific codes, variables, values and events that should be tracked, and when are where they need to be set. If you have chosen to use a Tag Management Solution (TMS), include datalayer, tag and trigger details too.
The Solution Design should be treated as a living and breathing document, to be continually updated to reflect changes to the website or tracking requirements. Targets are important as they are used to gauge how good or bad a website is performing. Targets can be based on historical data, an industry benchmark, or a combination of both. Targets should continually be evaluated and refined.
2. Implementation & Data Collection
The analytics code should then be implemented against the documented Solution Design. Testing and verification is a critical part of this step and is done to ensure that values are being set and sent to the Analytics platform as expected. An incorrect or incomplete implementation will compromise the quality of data collected and can yield inaccurate insights.
3. Analyse & Insights
Once implementation is complete and verified, and data is populating in your analytics platform, the data can then be analysed to gain insights into customer behaviour. This can be in the form of regular scheduled reporting or adhoc reporting to identify certain behaviours and opportunities.
4. Action or Refinement
Based on the data gathered and insights gleaned from the Analyse & Insights phase, you will be able to see how how well your website stacks up against the defined KPIs, objectives and targets which areas are working well and which areas need improving. Are users performing the desired actions on your site why or why not?
Furthermore, these insights can be used to inform any actions that need to be taken, or changes that can be made to the site in order to improve user experience and drive your desired KPIs.
Insights can also highlight areas of opportunity for testing, targeting, and/or personalisation. The cycle then begins again when any new features, changes, or campaigns are planned for the site.
Analytics is a powerful tool used to understand user behaviour and drive informed decisions. Following this process will ensure that your analytics strategy will always remain relevant and successful.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kimly is a Senior Digital Analyst at JBA, based in the Melbourne office