Integrating Web Analytics and Optimization Into Your Business, Part 1

  |  August 11, 2009   |  Comments

Integration and alignment can occur no matter where analytics and optimization teams sit in your organization. Here are four factors to consider.

Over the years, we've structured the teams within our agency a few different ways and have also seen how other companies structure their Web teams. Some worked really well, while others failed miserably.

In the early days, many Web teams sat within the IT department because it was considered purely technology magic to have a Web site. Over time, many companies experimented with breaking the Web team out altogether; some went as far as creating a separate company to house these organizations.

Many businesses figured out that the Web is an important marketing tool and decided it should be integrated into the marketing group. While it's still a significant marketing outreach tool, companies now realize the Web touches many other parts of their organization and, as such, should be an integrated part of multiple departments.

Different approaches can be taken to integrate Web operations. Under one scenario, the Web team can exist as a separate group within marketing, with its strategies and initiatives determined by a steering committee representing different parts of the organization.

Today, let's examine the importance of integration of your Web analytics and site optimization teams. Keep in mind, this is relevant whether you have dedicated employees, have people with fractional responsibilities, or work with an outside agency.

Understand the Dynamics of the Business

If the analytics and optimization teams sit in silos and only focus on looking at the data and testing ways to improve individual pages, there's significant risk they won't understand how the rest of the business works. They must understand why customers buy, why they defect, why they repeat, what sets the company's offerings apart from competitors, and what the key sales points are and why. If they're only called into a meeting to present their findings and aren't part of overall discussions, they will have limited value.

Remember Brand and Web Standards

This pertains more to the optimization group than the analytics group and it revolves around a company's brand standards on the Web. This can be specific wording, a design element, fonts, etc.

The optimization team must understand brand standards so they can maintain consistency when needed and can pull the right people in when they want to test changes. A team should know in advance what those standards are. The team shouldn't be put in a position to defend itself after it tests something that might be a breach of documented standards; the team should instead be aware of the standards and able to make a case to test changes to them.

Bottom line: Unless you know what those standards are, you aren't going to be able to effectively work with them and fight them when needed.

Know What's Happening Online and Offline

Too often, Web analytics and optimization teams can be so focused in the online channel that they aren't looking at what's happening offline (or offsite). This can include other media campaigns, offline promotions, PR, social initiatives, or the industry in general.

All of these things can impact what people are doing on your site or what they're thinking when they come. Without this insight, things can be misinterpreted or opportunities can be lost.

Remember Alignment

Analytics and optimization efforts should be aligned with overall business goals, Web goals, key initiatives, etc. The analytics team should be focused on analyzing the most important initiatives and the areas of the site that can help the Web team and company reach their defined goals. Without this, you can have a lot of analysis focused on less-than-key areas. The same goes for optimization.

Because all resources are limited, ensure optimization efforts are focused on testing and improving the site's most impactful areas and are tied to key goals and initiatives.

Integration and alignment can occur no matter where analytics and optimization teams sit in your organization. How? By getting the teams involved with the more holistic picture; don't rely on them just to present data findings and put tests together.

For these teams to truly impact your business, they must be considered a part of the core team (Web and beyond) in order to get the needed holistic view.

In part two, I'll examine some of the risks when integration goes too far and you start to lose the power and value of site optimization and Web analytics.

Shoot me a note (or comment below) and let me know some of the other benefits you've seen around integration of these two practice areas as well.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Burby

As President of the Americas at POSSIBLE, Jason is responsible for leading the long-term stability and growth of the region. With more than 20 years experience in digital strategy, he is a long-time advocate of using data to inform digital strategies to help clients attract, convert, and retain customers. Jason supports POSSIBLE's clients and employees in driving new engagements and delivering great work that works. He is the co-author of Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions.

Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.

Jobs

    • Tier 1 Support Specialist
      Tier 1 Support Specialist (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreThis position requires a highly motivated and multifaceted individual to contribute to and be...
    • Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative
      Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative (Agora Financial) - BaltimoreAgora Financial, one of the nation's largest independent publishers...
    • Managing Editor
      Managing Editor (Common Sense Publishing) - BaltimoreWE’RE HIRING: WE NEED AN AMAZING EDITOR TO POLISH WORLD-CLASS CONTENT   The Palm...