The importance of web analytics
27 Mar 2016 » Marketing Team
Let me start with an anecdote I once heard. The marketing department decided that they wanted a new feature in the home page. The IT team received the request and implemented it as per the requirements. Three months later, the business owner of this new feature requested a report on the performance of this new feature to the web analytics team. To the team’s surprise, that was the first time the web analytics team had heard of this feature. Consequently, had not issued any tracking requirements and there was nothing to report on. In other words, three months had been lost.
I am sure many of you have been in similar situations or have heard of cases that resemble this true story. It is not too uncommon that the web analytics team works in a silo, without much interaction with the rest of the company. Speaking with the head of web analytics from the previous anecdote, she insisted that her team just provided a service to the rest of the company, implying the little importance of that team.
Web analytics in the current market
The days when web metrics were unimportant have long been forgotten. In any competitive market, everything must be measured, if a company wants to succeed. This means that the web analytics team should be included in all new developments. In fact, I have already blogged about how web analytics teams tend be organised and there is a trend to have a team permanently devoted to new features.
I am not implying that web analytics should be the most important team in the marketing department or that it should be the centre of the marketing department. But, still too many companies do not care too much about the analytics team and I believe this is a bad idea. A typical comment I have heard is that the top priority is having the website working as expected and that web analytics comes down in the priority list. But, if you do not have the proper tagging in place, how do you know if the website is really working?
Tips to increase the visibility of the web analytics function
If all this previous explanation sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. It has happened many times in the past and will continue to occur. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure the web analytics function is not forgotten:
- Be part of all web projects. If your developments follow an agile methodology, you should be present in the stand-ups and all other milestones of a typical scrum project. In classical waterfall, be included in the project too. You will then be able to include web analytics requirements as needed.
- Be part of the project workflow. Sometimes you do not need or cannot be part of the web projects. But, at least, all web projects should be reviewed of the web analytics team. Remember that any new feature needs to be tracked.
- Increase your visibility. If the CMO or Marketing Director is not very aware of the web analytics team, prepare specific reports for him/her to demonstrate the usefulness of your team. In particular, if a report shows direct monetary value, it will be clear that your team has a lot to offer.
- Compare your company with the competition. In the last few years, I have personally seen how big companies have realised the importance of data and have heavily invested in this area. Some of my customers have undergone profound changes in this direction. Point out how your competitors are thriving through a better web analytics team.
I know this is not easy, but even traditional companies are following the same path, like banks and supermarkets. I would like to hear other ideas that you have used to raise the awareness of the web analytics team in your company. If you have an interesting story, please share it with us in the comments section.