One common problem with Web analytics data is the pertinent data don’t get into the hands of the people who can use it to make decisions.
When making recommendations on a new navigation structure, do information architects know where users are going or what they’re searching for? Do copywriters understand the site’s number one call to action and what gets people to convert? Do designers understand what types of pages, callouts, or visual images help drive more conversions?
Often, the answer to these questions is no. A two-fold issue leads to this problem:
- Sharing information. Usually, Web analytics information isn’t shared at all. Having worked with dozens of Fortune 500 companies and even more midsized companies over the past few years, we consistently see analytics data aren’t shared throughout the organization. There may be a few high-level metrics that go out to people, but, in most cases, they aren’t in any way actionable.
- Pertinent data. It’s imperative to share data that are pertinent and, more important, actionable. If they don’t tie to the issues people are trying to resolve, they won’t be used.
We typically see only high-level metrics shared. Far too often, they don’t tie into specific site goals or key performance indicators (KPIs). Unfortunately, this information isn’t often viewed as pertinent to the recipients’ daily tasks, so it’s ignored.
A number of months ago, I spoke with a company spending over $150,000 per month on its analytics tool. It’d set up over 50 user accounts to access the tool. When we analyzed who used it, we found over 85 percent of the users hadn’t accessed the tool in over six months. This is fairly common.
You can argue people weren’t properly trained, the tool isn’t correctly configured, or people don’t know how to interpret the data. All of which may be true. Those same people are the ones getting the high-level data from an analyst on weekly basis and not paying attention to it.
How do you get the right people to look at the data? Start with getting everyone to understand overall site goals and those goals’ drivers. One of the best ways to do this is to pull together a cross-functional team to define the goals with a focus on defining their drivers.
This helps get everyone on the same page, but it’s only a start. The trick is to keep those goals and drivers top of mind for people on a day-to-day basis. Here are some hints:
- Create a scorecard that reports on those metrics. Distribute it regularly.
- Review site goals at the beginning of each team meeting.
- Train people who can use data to affect site performance both on using the tool and how to interpret the data that’s important to them (the latter item is often skipped, leading to misinterpretation).
- Create before and after reports when new items or content are launched on the site. Once people see these a few times, they will become ingrained in their minds and your process.
- Provide access to different tools that can provide this information once people are trained and everyone is pointed in the right direction.
You want to share analytics data with those who influence the Web site’s performance. But more importantly, you want to demonstrate the power of having a team that’s trained to interpret the data correctly and use it to work toward your established goals.
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