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6 Steps to Create Your Web Analytics Measurement Plan

measurement plans

Ryan Stewart

I have an unhealthy obsession with being considered the world's BEST internet marketer. I'm highly active on social media and love a good debate.

Analytics is often overlooked by marketers – it’s a critical mistake.

Why?

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.

Building a measurement plan

Why you need a measurement plan:

  • Defines your company’s objectives; maps those objectives to goals, metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Defines what success looks like; gets buy in from top executives
  • Provides direction and way ahead for your marketing strategy
  • Lays the groundwork for proper JavaScript and HTML tagging on your website (for tracking data)
  • Plans how you will sort through the data: what do we need and why?
  • Assists in optimization and improvements

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.

Full Analytics Measurement Plan

Need help with your analytics? Leverage our full service Analytics consultants.

Step One: Document Business Objectives

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:

  • Sell my products
  • Sell space for ad revenue
  • Create a 1 to 1 relationship with my customers
  • Provide a platform to use my software

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”.

step one

 

Step Two: Create Goals / Strategies

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:

  • Actionable
  • Measurable
  • Understandable

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 ….

  • [reach new customers]
  • [increase repeat purchases]
  • [grow our email list]

All 3 of the above are measurable goals that drive towards the overall business objective. Easy. Simple. Clean.

step 2

 

Step Three: Choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

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”.

FALSE!

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:

  • Form abandonment rate. Assesses how many visitors begin the form but dont finish it helps us optimize the form to maximize entries by determining sticking points for users.
  • Cost per lead. The ultimate conversion metric. You can use this figure to scale the campaign or for attribution/ROI modeling.
  • Welcome email bounce rate. This metric helps determine lead quality and whether or not you should change your opt in offer. If you have an enticing offer, you could be attracting a lot of opt ins from fake emails.

KPIs are the heartbeat of your website – choose ones that will easily help you measure the success of your goals.

step 3

 

Step Four: Set Targets/Benchmarks

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:

  • Form abandonment rate > 10%
  • Cost per lead < $5.00
  • Welcome email bounce rate < 5%

step 4

 

Step Five: Determine Reporting and Segments

When the time comes to report out 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 let’s 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:

  • Traffic source
  • Ad group
  • Email subject line

NOTE: The report I chose is an Adobe Analytics / SiteCatalyst / Omniture report – this report is not available in Google Analytics.

step 6

 

Step Six: Analyze, Adjust and Improve

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!

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Comments

  • Chuck Says

    You are right. Analytics cuts out guesswork which means that your marketing decisions can be laser targeted.

    • Ryan Stewart Says

      Agreed – Analytics is the most important aspect of digital marketing.

  • Raja Asif Says

    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.

    • Ryan Stewart Says

      Thank you Raja – that means a lot.

  • Holka Says

    Thanks for this. I’ve learned my lesson. I will no longer to anything with testing & tracking first!

  • Midden Says

    Data collection and analysis is big business and should always be done.

  • Zeeshan Iqbal Says

    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.

    • Ryan Stewart Says

      Analytics are the key to all things digital.

  • Henry James Says

    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!

    • Ryan Stewart Says

      Agreed – you’re welcome!

  • Vedder Says

    i hate even the thought of havin to do web analytics .. is there an easier way .. guess i have to do it

  • Macrina Says

    Good analytics navigate the way. Without it we just wonder aimlessly.

  • Kirby Says

    I guess if you don’t really know why you have a website, then you’re pretty much screwed from the start.

  • Ben Says

    I’m not good with analytics. All those numbers & charts drive me crazy lol…guess this will take some getting used to.

  • Roches Says

    web analytic is good it give us great insite into what work and what not working.

  • Lomboy Says

    Really enjoyed the slide presentation; I learned a lot about the importance of web analytics!

  • Tim Wayland Says

    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!

  • Bollen Says

    “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.

  • Varella Says

    Superb job! Most powerful post I’ve read on web analytics to date. Dead on!

  • Gresco Says

    I set aside several hours per day just to study web analytics. It has proven to be very successful for me.

  • David Says

    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.

  • Harendra Says

    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.
    thanks ..

  • Alinser Hoyos Says

    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!

  • Randy Floyd Says

    Great post!

  • Suki Says

    Love your post and blog – I find it very inspiring. Just a note – might worth to update the links inside the article.

  • Marlys Says

    I cant figure out what to change on my site, is linkbuilding still
    working?

    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!

  • seo Says

    Great post.

  • Dave Says

    Great post!!! Simple and very informative. Keep up the good work Ryan!!!

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