Agency Practice Web Analytics – Part 1 : Internal Process

I have been talking with some agency peeps lately about how to answer their customer’s demands for web analytics.   Everyone with a web site needs measurement.  I think that  not implementing the freely provided Google Analytics as part of an engagement is silly.   Aside from the obvious, the other benefit in using Google Analytics for your client sites is that you can take this data and help develop more relevant marketing campaigns and give good advice about improvements to your clients’ website or advertising campaigns.   Agencies can sell the value of analytics in providing  KPI or ROI information from your clients’ existing sites or pages — providing your agency an opportunity to pitch improvements.  So why is it so hard for agencies to give their customers analytics?

Here is the Problem I hear: “We want to provide actionable web analytics to our customers but……….

…We don’t have time.”
…There isn’t enough budget”
…We don’t know where to start”
Solution :  Use the “Agency Creative Process” to define your web analytics engagement…..

Simple.  No different from any design and development life cycle,  and scalable to accommodate any budget.

OK, maybe not simple.  Nothing ever is…. my point is – don’t treat web analytics as an afterthought and tack it on at the end of a project.  Use  your agency process to make web analytics part of your engagement from the very beginning of the project.   Define the problem — design and develop the solution.  I’ve used this method in my own practice with success,  I have consulted with agencies to help them put this method into their own practices, now I give it to you.

Most agencies that I have worked with  have a documented  method that looks something like this:

1. Discovery: find out everything you can about the thing you are making
2. Define Requirements: document all of the business, functional, and technical requirements
3. Design and Validate:  in various fidelity, plan and demonstrate the solution so that everyone on the team, the client, and some representative users understand what is being built.
4. Develop and QA
5. Deploy

During those all those phases,  different contributing practices and disciplines have deliverables, internal and client-facing,  that they contribute to the process of building the site, marketing campaign or application.  “Web Analytics” as a practice and discipline can be incorporated  into the development process.

Note that this process resembles a waterfall method — with phases and dependencies.  This doesn’t represent Agile — in my experience, the agencies I worked with were not using the Agile method with clients.

When working with agencies — as a third party independent consultant or part of an internal “web analytics team, here is what we did during each of the phases:

1. During Discovery, we worked with the client and the internal team to understand what business questions they will want to have answered, what users need to do so the project will be a success, how they will measure that success.
2. When Requirements were being defined,  we worked with the client and the internal team to document how to get the measurements needed to answer the business questions about user interaction with the thing that is being developed.
3. During Design  we collaborated with with the client and the internal team to plan and communicate the  reporting  dashboard (s) internal and external to the web analytics tool of choice.
4. During Development we worked with the developers to specify custom tagging and tool configuration.  QA during this time  validated that  that we were capturing the right metrics and reporting them appropriately
5. Once Deployed, we collected data, reported it in a consumable format, and importantly,  analyzed that data and made actionable recommendations.
In t his post,  I am going to give you a few internal docs we used.
1. Discovery Questionnaire: See my post on 10 Web Analytics Strategy Questions

What is it?

A document with 10 questions that MUST be answered at the beginning of EVERY Web analytics project.

Who owns it?

Analytics Specialist and Account Executive.

When do we use it?

At the beginning of every web analytics engagement.

2. Business Questions Matrix:

Excel file screen shot

Business Question Matrix

What is it?

A worksheet to use internally or with the client to define what will be measured to answer the business questions the client should be asking. The columns are “Performance Indicator”, “Business Question” and “Measure”.   Performance Indicators are usually Behavior, Outcomes, or Engagement.  The Business question should be articulated as clearly as possible.  For example: “How many people come to the home page and then sign up for an account?”  The is what you will use to answer the question.

Who owns it?

UX Strategy and Analytics

When do we use it?

After we engage as part of the definition process.  Usually, we work in tandem with UX so that we understand the users, goals, and tasks.  These generally correlate to successful conversion points in analtyics speak.

3. Internal Technical Kick Off Document

 

 

What is it?

The document that goes to Development to lock down the technical requirements for getting the site ready for analytics.

This document provides the developers with this information:
The application that should be tagged and tracked
The URL
Parent Site
Site Description
Launch Date

And answers these questions:

Is there a campaign driving to site?If yes, list start and end dates.
Drivers to Site
(TV, online media)

Where will each driver send traffic?

And lays out other important technical information that we know at this time.

Internal Memo – Important Metrics

(note: we consider all “pages”  of application when determining metrics, including involvement with forms, tools, and games within)
Are any special tags needed (for instance, flash movie intro, mid, and end tags?)

Who owns it?

PM and Analytics and Development

When do we use it?

When we are ready to talk tech with the developers.

What are the outcomes?

Agreement on approach and ready to do a technical specification or tagging manifest.

3. Tagging Manifest
Screen Shot Excel Doc

 

What is it?

A document that outlines all the custom tagging required to get the measures needed to answer the business questions.

Who owns it?

Analytics and Development

When do we use it?

When we are ready to design how exactly we want to capture custom data from the application.

As you can imagine, this Tagging Manifest can be a very complicated thing depending on the complexity of the application, the technology and your reporting tool.  Too much to write in today’s post.  If you are interested and want more information, reach out.  I will be happy to share what I have.
Next up:  Client Delivery –   Until next time….

What application should be tagged and tracked?

What is the URL?

Parent Site

Site Description

Launch Date

Is there a campaign driving to site?

If yes, list start and end dates.

Drivers to Site

(TV, online media)

Where will each driver send traffic?

Important Metrics

(note: consider all “pages”  of application when determining metrics, including involvement with forms, tools, and games within)

Are any special tags needed (for instance, flash movie intro, mid, and end tags?)

Reporting Start Date

Reporting Frequency

Reporting Structure

Actions as a Result of Reporting

Additional Details

Post Kickoff

Questions and

Answers

Published by JB

@uxsuccess Lean User Experience; Agile software development @Tellagence, I believe user success = business success. I talk about that here: uxsuccess.com Personal blog - http://staticpoetboy.com

One Comment

  1. […] “This whole analytics thing just peters out over time” Solution :  Engage your customers and keep them interested by delivering data they can act on So there are three customer deliverables that dovetail with the internal docs I discussed months ago. […]

    Reply

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