15 Recommendations to Improve Website Analytics – Part 5

Our fifth and final post in the five-part series of 15 Recommendations to Improve Your Web Analytics is near and dear to us. These last three recommendations add an additional layer of complexity to web tagging implementations, but also can save countless hours and provide essential insights throughout the entire customer journey.

Take Your Web Analytics to the Next Level

13. Implement an Analytics Friendly URL Schema:
While the URL schema usually lies in the hands of your web developer, that schema can have a major impact on the ability to categorize pages on your site. Work with the development team to come up with a structure that makes your life easier when you have to download site metrics to measure. For example, if your website is structured based on 4 subjects or headers in the top navigation, make sure each of those are noted, so “website.com/products/product-A” follows the same structure as “website.com/products/product-B”. This is especially useful when you have sub-categories under the subject, and will allow you to group traffic together and understand user paths.

14. Track Campaigns Using Unique:
Marketers never forget the first time – the sinking feeling that comes from the realization that results for the big email and display campaigns are hopelessly confused because the tracking links are not unique. Every web analytics tool has the capability to track marketing campaigns with valuable campaign meta-data. However, marketers must do some advance planning to ensure proper implementation of unique links, as well as to set up tracking in the web analytics tool. Unique links, when implemented, allow you to understand not only where your site visitors are entering from, but where they are going once they do. Don’t just rely on the traffic source tab on the analytics UI. Be sure to get the most out of the campaign tracking capabilities and build-in campaign management tools to enrich and segment your user data.

15. Marketing Automation Integration:
Marketing Automation platforms have dramatically simplified many tasks, including two that are relevant to this conversation – the creation of landing pages and web forms. Marketo, Eloqua and their competitors allow marketers to implement campaign specific landing pages without relying on IT. This has enabled a new world of testing, campaign tracking and personalization. Similarly, many platforms allow marketers collect data from web sites using easily installed forms. What’s not to like?

Two recent engagements have reminded us there are some things not to like if integration with the website is not done correctly. The same tools that simplify marketing production can complicate marketing measurement dramatically by spoiling your valuable data. In one case, we had a client that implemented a Marketo form to collect data from the ‘Contact Us’ page. Loading the form required a call to the Marketo site, and all site conversions – completed contact forms in this case – were unintentionally logged as referrals from Marketo. Needless to say the client was very disconcerted to learn that conversion data collected through the analytics tool were useless. We recently saw a similar situation with landing pages implemented through marketing automation.

These results were not an inevitable byproduct of using marketing automation. In both cases, we quickly implemented slightly revised solutions that solved the data collection issues. Marketers need to be sensitive to these issues, and above all, they need to test site enhancements to ensure measurement is not compromised. A little additional work is much easier than telling the CMO you are unable to determine which traffic sources and/or campaigns drive the most site conversions.

For the most part, setting up your web analytics out-of-the box solution is not difficult. For simple implementations, most of the heavy lifting can be done by a web site developer in less than 30 minutes. Business users can configure a lot of useful functionality directly in the user interface. However, we continue to see implementations that don’t take advantage of even basic features such as those outlined in our posts. If any of these points make you pause, you should have someone knowledgeable spend an hour with your web analytics implementation team to conduct a basic review.

Missed the previous posts in this series?

Part 1: See the 3 Most Common Web Analytic Mistakes to Avoid

Part 2: Additional Investments to Make Before You Begin Web Tagging

Part 3: Web Tagging Best Practices