Analytics is often overlooked by marketers – it’s a critical mistake.
Great data analysis improves your SEO, content, paid traffic, email, conversions and every other aspect of web marketing as well.
Your data doesn’t lie – by knowing what to collect and how to collect it, you have the fire power to make well informed decisions.
Notice what I emphasized in the previous sentence?
“knowing what to collect and how to collect it“
In order to make precise decisions, you need to clearly define what you want out of your data.
The best way to do so is with an analytics measurement plan.
Why you need a measurement plan:
A measurement plan is step 1 in your overall analytics process.
Without a proper measurement plan, everything else fails.
This article is a step by step guide to creating a web analytics measurement strategy and plan.
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Why do you have a website?
No, seriously, why? I’ve run into clients whose objectives are so blurred they’re better off without one.
Some examples are:
Answering this question is the first step in getting a hold of your data. Once you have this defined you have an overarching objective that everything maps back to.
Every dollar that your business spends should drive towards achieving these objectives.
For our sample website:
“The purpose of our website is to increase total sales by allowing customers to buy our products online”.
Goals are what drive success of a given business objective. It completes the following sentence:
In order to increase our online sales, we must ….
Goals should be all of the following:
When structuring my goals, I always lead with a verb – this implies action. For our sample site, here is how I completed the sentence…
In order to increase our online sales, we must ….
All 3 of the above are measurable goals that drive towards the overall business objective. Easy. Simple. Clean.
KPIs are digital outcomes that help you gauge success against your goals.
There’s a lot of debate about picking KPIs – some argue metrics like visits, page views and time on site are “vanity metrics”.
If you’re BuzzFeed, those metrics are critical to your advertising model, aka how you generate revenue.
What matters is picking KPIs that matter to your business.
Dig deep into metrics that will help gauge the success of your goals.
For our sample site, I chose the following KPIs for our goal “grow our email list”. Some KPIs to help gauge success are:
KPIs are the heartbeat of your website – choose ones that will easily help you measure the success of your goals.
You got 2 million new email addresses from your lead generation campaign. That’s amazing! Wait, that’s amazing right?
Targets (or benchmarks) put your website’s goals into perspective. They are a numeric value that force you to measure the success of your goals.
You should use your company’s historical data to choose targets. If no such data exists, use industry benchmark data (a simple Google search will help you track down the data).
For our sample site, I chose benchmarks based on industry standards:
When the time comes to report on your efforts the amount of data is staggering. Spending hours digging through reports is not a wise use of your time. That’s why I include reporting and segmentation in my plans – it saves time, headaches and lets you focus on making the right analysis.
Segmentation is a science in itself – for the purpose of this post I will keep it short. Define segments that help you uncover additional insights and causation.
Cost per lead is a great KPI – Cost per lead segmented by traffic source is even better.
For our sample site, I chose the following segments for my KPIs:
NOTE: The report I chose is an Adobe Analytics / SiteCatalyst / Omniture report – this report is not available in Google Analytics.
Don’t forget this part!
The whole point of analytics is to make data driven decisions that will propel your business forward.
Now, go forth and analyze!
You are right. Analytics cuts out guesswork which means that your marketing decisions can be laser targeted.
Agreed – Analytics is the most important aspect of digital marketing.
great work by Ryan Rtewart on search engine optimization specially web analytics measurement plan
is very informative and useful in getting the better seo results. As digital marketing base on analytics
and as much as you analyze your data alternative you will improve your SEO, leads and conversions. Really great work by the author, the whole article is very informative keep it up.
Thank you Raja – that means a lot.
Thanks for this. I’ve learned my lesson. I will no longer to anything with testing & tracking first!
Data collection and analysis is big business and should always be done.
Our main aim of digital marketing is to capture more leads. We have spent lot of money on SEO and Paid Traffic but
do not analyze the analytics deeply. Author’s six points about creating web analytics measurement strategy and plan is very helpful in getting the right, genuine and target leads.
Web analytics may seem like a tedious process for some, but it is necessary if you want to achieve real web success. It is what separates the mediocre from the great. Mr. Stewart has achieved a level of greatness and I have learned so much from your blog that have helped pull me out of my depression and slump and see results. Thanks so much!
Analytics are the key to all things digital.
Agreed – you’re welcome!
i hate even the thought of havin to do web analytics .. is there an easier way .. guess i have to do it
Good analytics navigate the way. Without it we just wonder aimlessly.
I guess if you don’t really know why you have a website, then you’re pretty much screwed from the start.
I’m not good with analytics. All those numbers & charts drive me crazy lol…guess this will take some getting used to.
web analytic is good it give us great insite into what work and what not working.
Really enjoyed the slide presentation; I learned a lot about the importance of web analytics!
This is news to me. I always thought SEO was the most important aspect of digital marketing. Guess I need to re-adjust my thinking!
“If you have an enticing offer, you could be attracting a lot of opt ins from fake emails.” This is so true! That’s why is also good to use an software or email program that can detect this – and particularly block out fake disposable emails.
Superb job! Most powerful post I’ve read on web analytics to date. Dead on!
I set aside several hours per day just to study web analytics. It has proven to be very successful for me.
Great article. Kpis and segments are super important and too often not set up at the beginning. You laid it out in a great, logical, easy to digest way. Thanks.
Hi Ryan Stewart,
I just reading this article that is clearly and deeply cover analytic. Analytic is important decision making term, it will decide yoour next strategy.. your aspectation..
i learned alot from this article.
It was a great learning tool. I like the way you made everything look so simple. I am preparing for a job interview, and this was very helpful. Thanks!
Love your post and blog – I find it very inspiring. Just a note – might worth to update the links inside the article.
thanks suki, will so!
I cant figure out what to change on my site, is linkbuilding still
p.s Don’t take advice from the Warrior Forums haha
link building is still a huge part of SEO. that should be a bumper sticker!
Great post!!! Simple and very informative. Keep up the good work Ryan!!!
Thank you Dave!
Thank you! This article has helped me tremendously! I am so use to freestyling everything and just figuring it out.
You are welcome, thanks for commenting!
Thank you for sharing. I am a brand new copywriter, transitioning from Government contract work in Administration. Researching info on creating a fictitious company to analyze for practice in UCSD Extension course.
RYAN another piece of content. Was looking for the same.
Thanks for sharing the great study.
Awesome, welcome to our community!
@ Ryan Stewart – This might sound a weird question but I am asking nevertheless. The steps mentioned in your contents are different from those shown in your “leadership” image. Analytics has so many intricacies and when you search for it, you get lots of material and so many steps that it becomes confusing. Are these six steps in the contents the steps to create analytics measurement plan or these are the steps of the whole analytics process? I wish I could have a list of all the steps from A-Z..(and not referring to why you need to do it).
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