When it comes to digital analytics, its easy to think of the tools first. A lot of marketers and analysts make the mistake of not setting the objectives of their digital analytics programmes, nor understanding the business case for the organization. In the end, their digital analytics implementation fail to connect back to the business objectives. The tools, then, become some fancy-nice-to-have technologies that fail to prove return on investment and make it difficult to justify in their budgets.
This is why a measurement strategy is essential and should always come first, before any measurement tool or platform.
A measurement strategy translates business objectives into metrics and dimensions that can be measured on the website. Simply put, it helps in answering that most dreaded question, “What is the website doing for our business?”
How then, does one go about developing a measurement strategy?
Get your stakeholders together
A company’s website serves many interests for various sections of the business. For instance, what may be an interest for Sales may not be an interest for Marketing or for the Product team.
As such, it is important to bring together stakeholders from around the business at the onset to hear what matters to them and what success would mean. Such a stakeholder engagement would enable you to get alignment on the business priorities and objectives that should be included within the measurement strategy.
Of all the stakeholders in the business, you should ensure that you get the views from an executive level stakeholder. This is important as executives are the ones who set the direction for the business and what it should achieve. Getting executives involved at this early stage will also gain you senior buy in for the project which, in turn, will enable you to get overall support for the project from across the whole organization.
Once you have heard from a good representation of stakeholders, it’s now time to get to the nitty-gritties of the measurement strategy itself.
Define your business objectives
This is where you define the business case for having a website in the first place. Is it to drive sales, revenue or increase brand awareness? A direction on this will usually come from the Executive Leadership. Nevertheless, consultations will be important to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned.
Develop website goals for each business objective
Having established the business objectives for having a website, you now define specific ways on how the website will support each and every business objective.
Suppose your website objective was to generate leads, your website will help in capturing those leads through lead forms, where visitors submit their contact information by signing up or subscribing to your newsletter, or downloading a whitepaper.
You should develop two to three website goals for each business objective. For instance, your website goals for generating leads would be:
- Newsletter sign ups
- Whitepaper downloads
- Contact us completions
Define metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each website goal
Metrics are quantifiable measures from your website to track and assess the performance of your website goals. Some of the metrics include:
- Page Views
- Average Time on Page
- Average Session Duration
- Pages per Session
- Traffic Sources
- Social Referrals
- New Visitor Sessions
- Returning Visitor Sessions
- Device Type
- Conversion Rate
- Average Cost per Visitor
- Average Cost per Conversion
- Average Revenue per Visitor
- Average Order Value
- Cart abandonment rate
- Cart Completion Rate
- Checkout Completion Rate
As you can see, metrics are so many that it can be tough to know where to start from. This is the reason you need to develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs will come from your metrics – these are the important metrics that enable you to measure and see the progress that your goals are making towards your business objectives.
An example for whitepaper downloads would be download completion rate, and for newsletter sign ups would be form completion rate.
How you define which metrics should become your KPIs would depend on the context and objectives of your business. One thing is for sure, a KPI must drive business-critical action. Any KPI that, when it changes does not affect the business or call someone to be accountable, is not worth reporting as a KPI.
Once you are settled on your KPIs, you then set targets for them, so you can able to measure the progress of achieving them.
Define your tagging
Now that you have defined your metrics and KPIs, you will then have to define the various events that you will need to tag or track in your measurement tool in order to be able to collect the data required for these measurements. You do this by converting all these metrics and KPIs into tracking requirements.
Will you need to track registrations, conversions, searches, add to carts, purchases…? All these will be defined based on your metrics and KPIs. At this stage, you may also consult your stakeholders on any other business questions they may have that will also form part of the tracking requirements.
The key here is not to tag everything as you may end up with too much data. Properly defined metrics and KPIs will ensure that you only tag and track the interactions and events that are important to your business and website goals.
Define your tools
Now is the right time to touch the tools. Once you have defined your tagging events and know your tracking requirements, you can then know what tools you will need to be able to implement those requirements. Will you need Google Analytics for sessions, users, conversions, or will you need Microsoft Clarity for user behavior measurements such as scroll depth or heat maps?
At the end of the day, you will find that a combination of tools will be ideal. However, what helps to bring them together is a well-defined measurement strategy.
By now, you can see why a measurement strategy is vital to your digital analytics implementation. It helps to get you aligned with your stakeholders on what success really means. It also helps you to know what to track and what tools you will need.
But it is also helpful in the analysis. When all is done and the data starts coming in, it can be overwhelming to see the numbers and numerous reports. But with a well-defined measurement strategy, you can easily translate the metrics and KPIs into a dashboard because you know the numbers that count!
You can now confidently answer that question, “What is the website doing for our business?”
The Become a Digital & Web Analyst Program equips you with the knowledge of the whole digital analytics process. You learn not only how to use the tools, but also how to conduct measurement planning. Join the program and Become A Digital & Web Analyst.
You can also the join the Optizent Digital Analytics Inner Circle Membership and start learning today.