You’ve set up Google Analytics on your web site, and now all pages are recording traffic. You’ve taken the basic steps necessary to ensure the data collected is accurate. Now it’s time to watch those visitor numbers rise while you soak up the glory – but don’t spend too much time basking in the glow of vanity metrics. You’ve still got work to do.
Make metrics actionable
While it’s great to start putting numbers on things like page visits, accomplishing anything concrete with GA takes a plan. Specifically, a measurement plan.
Your measurement plan should above all be aligned with specific business goals. While this sounds simple, your plan won’t be effective without taking a close look at the larger business objectives and obtaining consensus from key stakeholders that it supports those objectives. Getting buy-in from a top executive may help elevate awareness of the project and ensure it’s carried through to completion. What emerges should be a document seen as integral to your digital marketing strategy.
Key stakeholders can include:
- A person who knows the overall business objectives and strategy
- Someone who understands web analytics including what it can deliver and how it should be configured
- A person on the Executive team who’ll champion the value of analytics as a means to improve performance
What your plan looks like
Your plan can be as simple as a spreadsheet with business objectives defined along the top row. In the next row, list the supporting strategies and tactics you propose to achieve the goals. In the next row, list KPIs for each tactic or strategy.
It’s best now to gain approval of your list of KPIs – ideally from the Board of Directors and those who’ll ultimately consume the reports generated by your GA implementation. They must be confident what’s being measured will help inform their decisions. Of course, KPIs (and the measurement plan itself) will be updated from time to time to ensure it continues to align with business goals.
Consider reporting needs
The stakeholders who eagerly await your reports should be considered next, as their needs may drive analytics setup parameters such as segmentation, performance targets, dimensions and custom metrics. They should continue to be involved in the process as these plans are refined.
Armed with a now comprehensive list of what you want to measure, it’s a good idea to audit your current GA installation. Ensure your site is using Google’s latest analytics implementation, Universal Analytics. It’s also a good time to implement Google Tag Manager, a tool that simplifies tagging pages for actions taken by users such as clicking on a video or otherwise engaging with content.
Once the plan is successfully implemented and KPIs are being tracked, it’s crucial to agree on the methods and frequency of reporting. Customized reports, dashboards and even automated emails can be created for stakeholders, but it’s often better if they can use the GA platform itself to obtain the information they seek.
After all, GA can show behaviors in real time, it’s flexible, and it collects many data points they may have previously not considered. Indeed, the more informed the organization is about GA’s capabilities and how to interpret the data it collects, the more informed its marketing decisions will be.
Got Analytics? Get a Measurement Plan
was written by me, Greg Norton – also known as webzenkai. I’ve got more than two decades’ experience building effective websites and powerful email campaigns that yield results. Feel free to contact me regarding this article or anything else you find on this website.