Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Web Analytics: Increasing Online ROI

Interesting article by Jason Burby posted on Clickz

As Web analytics tools become more advanced and more companies adopt new data sources, it's easy to get buried in the data and lose focus on what really matters. Over the past six to 12 months, I've noticed many companies are spending the majority of their time creating key performance indicator (KPI) reports, leaving no time to analyze the meaning behind the KPIs. Without thorough KPI analysis, you may be moving in the wrong direction without even realizing it.

Think about your organization. How many different reports regarding Web channel performance and related conversions are distributed? Most likely, your answer is either zero or nearly 50 per month. Obviously, zero isn't good; we need some way to evaluate the channel and share it with others in the organization. But an overabundance of reports can lead to confusion throughout the company. Data may come from different sources and lead to disagreeing numbers for the same metrics, which complicates the analytics process further.

Another closely-related issue is the time you're allocating to assemble the reports. In many cases, too much time is given to report creation and not enough to analysis.

If your Web analytics team spends 80 percent of its time putting KPI reports together and 20 percent fielding ad hoc requests from others within the organization (which typically aren't tied to KPIs but are more items of curiosity), look at reallocating their time.

Depending on your team size, try reducing the KPI reporting to less than 20 percent of the time, leaving more time for other items. Allocate 50 percent of the time each month to digging into the specifics of the KPIs that are moving in the wrong direction. Try to learn everything about the behaviors tied to those issues. As you identify the opportunities and improve them, you can focus on the KPIs that might be underperforming. Then you still have 30 percent of your time resources left to train your business users on how to ask the right questions and use the data that's available to address their ad hoc requests.

Don't get so caught up in putting together the same KPI reports each month. Dig into those that are slipping and not performing well to get real value out of your efforts. Making this change will pay off.


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