Bryan breaks down the daunting task of setting up & managing the analytics & reporting on your website into 3 manageable steps:
1. Start with Planning
A) Discovery: do a proper Discovery, understand the current state, what is needed for tracking, what are any existing website goals, any existing setup that needs sustained.
B) Measurement Plan: next create a measurement framework offline before touching any tools. Plan everything that will be tracked and the naming conventions for how things will be labelled and organized in reporting.
-- thing about all valuable events (actions), all conversion goals
-- can visually map out for extra clarity
-- review with internal stakeholders, ensure naming conventions make sense
C) Select Analytics Toolset
- this will likely be based upon reporting objectives/needs, existing website technology, pre-existing analytics installs, what software it needs to speak with/connect with, and of course budget.
- the most common/popular analytics toolset is Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics. Tag Manager used for implementing site analytics, event tracking, and ad tracking tags. --- basically it’s used to deploy (snippets of code or tracking pixels) without having to touch the code of the website each time.
- Highly recommend adding a dashboard reporting tool to the toolset, the Google offering is Google Data Studio - a dashboard and reporting tool that is easy to use, customize.
2. Setup Analytics & Reporting Dashboards
- now begin tracking setup - often starting first on GTM, in regard to implementing all new tagging and adjusting any existing that was being kept.
- Next configuring Google Analytics, typically:
-- Added new GA views, to allow for customization
-- Added Filters, such as ensure internal traffic is separated
-- Setup all Conversion Goals to track important Outcomes on the website (key downloads, form completions, email clicks)
- Can use Google Analytics dashboards but often find quickly that are too limited, limited number of widgets on a dashboard, limited columns of data, could not add custom data (ex. weather)
-- GA dashboards also came across too technical, less visual, less based on answering questions
3. Ongoing Analytics
One of the most important takeaways of the analytics process we have seen is to not stop after the Setup. To continue with an ongoing monthly rhythm of reporting, analyzing and generating insights.
- continue to evolve reporting, integrate new data that matters
- internal stakeholders will need educated, will get more value down the road once everyone is understanding the metrics at a higher level
- consistency of looking at data to enable continual improvement (ex. did ad campaigns actually meet goals, what to change ex. landing pg). Also helps identify issues sooner and get fixed.
Overall - commit to better tracking/reporting - value and allocate sufficient time to plan, implement and utilize ongoing. Making this ongoing commitment will allow you to see the true value of analytics and impact making business decisions.
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