Agency Practice Web Analytics – Part 2 : Client Deliverables

OK the gauntlet has been thrown down by a colleague for not posting anything for a VERY LONG TIME.  Mea Culpa.  I’m going to go with this excuse:  “Since I joined Tripwire last June,  I’ve been too busy to write a blog post”.      I am going with it.  Suffice to say, things are AWESOME here in UX land.  In six short months we have gone from 1 lone wolf (me) to a department of 5.

Last post I discussed the general problem from the agency side – and talked about internal tools that would help to create a process.   Recently, someone reached out to me and said “WELL – What is the rest of the story?”  This post is about what we give our customers.

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

  • “Our clients don’t know what to measure”
  • “All we are reporting on are “primitive metrics”  and our clients don’t know what to do with them”
  • “We are spending time putting numbers into spreadsheets – and never see any outcomes based on that data”
  • “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.
  1. Research Memo
  2. Dashboard (Scorecards)
  3. Observations
Research MemoResearch Memo Screenshot

What is it?

Exactly what it sounds like.  This is a memo that tells the customer what they are agreeing to in the way of Web Analytics for their site — this could also be done as an SOW, but sometimes when you have a project in place — adding an SOW is tricky.   It is important in this memo to lay out all of the events, milestones, and deliverables.  Include what you will be measuring and why.  This is your chance to let the client know that you understand their business and can tie their goals to things people will do on their site.

Who owns it?

PM

When do we use it?

After we complete the business questions matrix.

What are the outcomes?

Permission to design the reporting dashboard and carry on with implementation.

Dashboard

What is it?

So this dashboard is actually a spreadsheet that surfaces data to the customer in a more consumable package than the reporting tool.   Eric T Peterson a certified Web Analytics genius in my book put together the first KPI Dashboard spreadsheet back in the 80s.    OK,  I lie.  It was more like 1999.    He has a bunch of resources on his site and you might want to get it there if he still makes it available.   He is offering his seminal ” Web Analytics Demystified ” for free.

The point with this deliverable is to make something for your customer that makes sense of the confusing  dashboard they can’t take action on with their web analytics tool….

Who owns it?

Your Web Analytics Guru

When do we use it?

Monthly or quarterly depending on the contract.

What are the outcomes?

Opportunity to do analysis.

Observations and Analysis Reports

What is it?

A report out that surfaces important data and trends with observations and recommendations for optimization.  This my friends is the bread and butter.  Here is where you get to apply your genius in analyzing data to drive continuous improvement for your customer — and work for you.

Avinash Kaushik is a expert in Web Analytics and the author of the top rated blog Occam’s Razor.

He also has an AWESOME book that goes beyond Web Analytics concepts and definitions to provide a step-by-step guide to implementing a successful web analytics strategy  –  http://www.webanalyticshour.com/ Give it to your clients as part of your engagement with them.

Who owns it?

Strategy and Analytics

When do we use it?

Every time we deliver a dashboard or… when we are called upon to do analysis on the data — (ask for a bucket of consulting hours to use for this).

What are the outcomes?

Hopefully some continuous improvement and web site optimization work.

Note :  If you would like to have some file  templates for these deliverables,  I am happy to share them with you.  Please tweet me @uxsuccess or just send me mail at jb@juliebooth.com

Until next time —

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

Ten Web Analytics Strategy Questions

I have received some questions from folks about how to work with stakeholders to get a conversation started about implementing Web Analytics.  Some time ago, consulting for an agency that routinely provides Google Analytics implementation to all their client’s website and web application projects – I came up with a list of ten critical questions that should be answered at the start of any project.

This list is good because it is short, will get you started on crafting a strategy, and you can send it out with your Account Managers to slip in during early discovery meetings — often before they want to invite you to the party. Every time I have asked these questions — even stakeholders who think they are “doing analytics” or “don’t need them” walk away thinking “wow — there are a lot of good questions here that I haven’t considered in this context.”

These questions are divided up in categories that can be associated with a business question worksheet that will drive your web analytics dashboard strategy later.

Business Objectives

1. What are the current business objectives of your web site? (How does your web site contribute to your business?

2. How are you currently measuring the success of your web site (i.e., KPIs, scorecards, etc.)? Are you currently collecting measurements on your site?
If so, what is being collected? May we see samples?

3. What is your team measured on? How do you know when you are successful?

Outcomes

4. What do visitors on your site need to accomplish for the site to contribute to the business?

Later : list and prioritize each OUTCOME and map to overall business objectives.

Acquisition:

5. How do people find your web site now?
If it doesn’t exist, is there an existing plan to promote it and drive traffic to it?

6. What types of media do you currently use in your current web site marketing program (i.e., paid search, organic search, e-mail, online advertising, online lead-gen providers, outdoor (billboards), print, radio, PR, etc.)?

Please describe what media(s) you use and how each is measured Are there any new initiatives that you are launching that we  should consider?

Behavior:

7. What do you know about what visitors do on your site?

Prompt them here by asking questions like : a. What content do visitors look at on your site?,
b.What is your ratio of new to repeat visitors? c. What is your conversion rate? d. How much time do people spend on your site? What else would you like to know?

Engagement:

8. What do you think  it means when visitors are ” engaged” on  your site?

9.  Are visitors successfully participating in activities that are important to your business success?

10.  What do you know about how satisfied visitors are with their web site experience?

Enjoy!