6 Steps to Create Your Web Analytics Measurement Plan

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Ryan Stewart

Marketing expert

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.

Quick survey:

What’s the most important aspect of digital marketing?

  1. Search engine optimization
  2. Content
  3. Paid traffic (PPC, display, etc)
  4. Email
  5. Lead capture

Trick question. The answer is NONE OF THE ABOVE.

The most important aspect of digital marketing is ANALYTICS.

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 a web analytics measurement plan.

A web analytics measurement plan accomplishes the following for your business:

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

A measurement plan is step 1 in your overall analytics process:

web-analytics-measurement-strategy-overall-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.

web-analytics-measurement-plan-completed-example
An example of a completed web analytics measurement plan.

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:

  1. Sell my products
  2. Sell space for ad revenue
  3. Create a 1 to 1 relationship with my customers
  4. 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”.

Web-analytics-measurement-plan-step-1-business-objective

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:

  1. Actionable
  2. Measurable
  3. 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 ….

  1. [reach new customers]
  2. [increase repeat purchases]
  3. [grow our email list]

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

creating-goals-web-analytics-measurement-plan

Step Three: Choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are digital outcomes that help you gauge success against your goals.

There’s a lot of conjecture about picking KPIs – some analysts argue that basic metrics like visits, page views and time on site aren’t quality success metrics.

Bullshit.

If you’re a website like BuzzFeed that generates revenue from selling ad space, you can bet they’re watching those metrics intently.

With that being said, don’t stop there. Dig deep into metrics that will easily gauge the success of your goals.

For our sample site, I chose the following KPIs for our goal “grow our email list”:

  1. 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.
  2. Cost per lead. The ultimate conversion metric. You can use this figure to scale the campaign or for attribution/ROI modeling.
  3. 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.

web-measurement-plan-step-3-KPIs-1

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:

  1. Form abandonment rate > 10%
  2. Cost per lead < $5.00
  3. Welcome email bounce rate < 5%

step-4-set-targets

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:

  1. Traffic source
  2. Ad group
  3. Email subject line

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

step-5-analytics-measurement-strategy

 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!


About 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.

30 Comments

  1. 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.

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  2. 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.

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  3. 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!

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  4. 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!

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  5. “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.

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  6. 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.

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  7. 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 ..

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  8. 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!

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

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  10. 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

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