I was kindly invited by Nicolas Malo to speak at the Lille Web Analytics Camp on last Wed 21st Mar, presenting as part of the English stream of talks. It was a great experience (a bit challenging for me as probably the only native English speaker in attendance) but great to see so many people happy to give up an afternoon to talk and learn about web analytics. My biggest disappointment was not being able to stay long for the informal discussions that night, I should have booked Eurostar for the next morning.
When Nicolas first asked me to speak, I threw a couple of ideas for topics at him. His preference was for a talk on Getting Practical Value from Web Analytics throughout the Organisation. This is the sort of topic I find myself returning to more and more when I talk to people, web analytics is not about data but about making use of data within an organisation. Below is a copy of my presentation and, as it is a fairly visual presentation, some brief notes on the ideas behind each slide. It can also be downloaded here – Getting Value from Web Analytics throughout an Organisation.
Barriers to the Use of Web Analytics
I wanted to repeat some of the lines probably every web analyst has encountered when introducing web analytics into a company. Some of my favorites are:
- You will say (prove) I am not doing a good job
- My job is about creativity, not numbers
- I don’t have time for this
- The last thing I need is more reports
- I know our customers & the market better than you (and your data)
Purpose of Web Analytics
It is always worth remembering why companies invest in web analytics and what it is all about. It is not about numbers, statistics and reports. It is about providing the intelligence to allow better decision making leading to organisations improving their performance.
Must have Quality of Data
Why – so internal stakeholders have confidence in the numbers and so you can provide them with answers to their questions
How – ensure all pages & campaigns are tagged and that you are capturing key visitor interactions & key meta-data
You need to have the foundation of web analytics in place before you can build on it.
Build Internal Relationships
Why – so that people tell you when they make changes that will impact performance (the numbers you are looking at) and so they come to you for assistance with their business questions
How – depends on personal approach – walk about the building talking to people, buy them lunch, have a beer with them after work, invite yourself along to every meeting you can find out about
You do need to know (be on first name terms with) people from all departments throughout the organisation – and that doesn’t mean just marketing and development but also product management, user experience, finance, customer service, operations, etc. They all have answers and questions.
Help people to like Web Analytics
Why – web analytics can be very overwhelming with so many reports all full of numbers meaning most people have no idea where to start and so don’t
How – provide them with training and reference guides, run regular workshops where they can ask questions and very importantly, give them dashboards so they can look at a subset of the data all in the one place
Once people get used to web analytics, they discover that it is not so scary after all and that it can provide them with lots of useful information – ease them into this new world of data (preferably without using the word data or showing them much data).
Integrate Web Analytics everywhere
Why – the set-up of web analytics and the use of intelligence from web analytics to improve performance are not one off endeavours, they must be continuously worked on to be effective – this requires web analytics to be integrated within the existing processes of the organisation
How – processes and templates – as simple as possible but documentation is a necessary evil and web analytics must be a consideration when creating any new marketing campaigns, pages, website features, etc.
If it is useful to know the impact of a new campaign/website feature, you need to invest resources into defining business objectives, KPIs, targets, into adding the necessary web analytics tags and into evaluating performance.
Prove Web Analytics works
Why – you need proven results before other people will believe in web analytics (just as the idea of web analytics is to believe in data over opinion)
How – find someone who will give you a chance, use web analytics to improve performance and then create internal case studies
Once it is proven that using web analytics data will lead to improvements in performance, it becomes a question of can you afford to not take advantage of this resource rather than do you have the time to do so.
Reminder of Key Points
- Get the foundation accurate and complete ASAP
- Make friends with people in all departments
- So they tell you what they are doing
- So they come to you with their business intelligence needs
- Support people in getting used to web analytics
- Provide training sessions and Q&A workshops
- Give them dashboards with a reduced data set
- Develop templates & processes for web analytics
- Create case studies to prove Web Analytics can and does deliver against its promises