15 Recommendations to Improve Website Analytics – Part 1

Marketing Accountability continues to be a hot topic, particularly in B2B circles. Although Sales & Marketing professionals have talked about the importance of data and measurement for almost twenty years, we continue to see striking oversights in basic implementation, especially as it pertains to websites. This post is the first in a series of five posts that will highlight some basic website tagging fundamentals that will improve your web analytics implementation. With a little foresight and planning, site managers can avoid oversights we see time and again, ensuring they can answer critical business questions about their customers.

Common Web Analytics Mistakes to Avoid

1. Set up Strategy/KPIs:
The first step, before placing a single line of code on your website, is to develop a basic measurement plan. Work with your business leaders to define success for the site and understand what insights you want to glean from tracking. Perhaps you want to run A/B testing on a pop-up offer or track views of a new instructional video or simply learn how customers get to your website. Whatever it is that you are trying to achieve to fit into the larger success of the organization, set up those Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the form of a measurement framework to make sure everyone involved with the implementation understands the larger goals of the website and those goals are tracked accordingly.

2. Select an Analytics Platform You Know:
One of the most frequent problems we come across when working with our clients is a fundamental disconnect between business owners, marketers and the website developers. Decisions regarding web analytics tools are often made without consulting the site development team that must ultimately implement the tagging solution. Before choosing your web analytics tool (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Core Metrics, Web Trends, etc.), work with your developers to make sure that there is expertise in-house to ensure a successful implementation and more importantly, the ability and flexibility to manage new and existing tagging updates. Remember: successful web analytics don’t end with the initial implementation!

3. Establish Goals: Most web analytics platforms provide a simple interface for establishing site goals that flow through directly to a standard report suite. The most common issue we see is failure to set up any goals for tracking. While web analysts can still capture the data in most cases, taking advantage of the built-in feature makes reporting much simpler and allows users to glean more insights. Setting up goals in the interface is very quick for basic actions, and it forces business users and analysts to align on metrics, which is never a bad thing. Using your site strategy and measurement framework from #1, you can start to place some goals on the site to track.

This post highlights some of the common pitfalls we see at what should be the very beginning of the website tagging process. (Often these are actually addressed too deep into the process, if at all.) Subsequent posts will delve into recommendations when your solution is already in place.

Stay tuned for Part 2!