In the Web Ana­lyt­ics world, one of my favorite expres­sions is “feel good report­ing”. I’m not sure if I made this up, or sim­ply over­heard it – but when I’m pon­tif­i­cat­ing from my soap­box, it’s one of my favorites.

Feel good report­ing” is a direct ref­er­ence to those 20, 30 or 50 page reports that employ­ees or “ana­lysts” gen­er­ate each month and send out to the execs. Execs fea­ture them promi­nently on their desk, bring them to meet­ings, etc. so if ever asked “how are their web ini­tia­tives per­form­ing”, they can point to the report and “feel good” about it – know­ing that they have things under control.

Because the Web Ana­lyt­ics indus­try is so dynamic, I some­times for­get that many com­pa­nies are still stuck in this vicious cycle. They haven’t real­ized the impor­tance or ben­e­fits of key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors and dash­boards. They haven’t expe­ri­enced the immense pro­duc­tiv­ity gains when you need only invest 30 sec­onds a day to ensure your busi­ness is per­form­ing to expec­ta­tion. They haven’t awak­ened to the mas­sive cost effi­cien­cies of auto­mated reporting.

And as I dis­cussed this con­cept with a frus­trated mar­keter, it occurred to me that dash­boards are some­what like vit­a­mins. If you use dash­boards and vit­a­mins every­day, the ben­e­fits are incred­i­bly valu­able. If you use them once a month, it’s almost a com­plete waste of time. Of course, I’m a real­ist and know that peo­ple still take vit­a­mins once a month (or worse, when they start feel­ing sick). But as this mar­keter was explain­ing to me – it only takes one major prob­lem to change your whole per­spec­tive. In his case, a bad page in the check­out process was not caught for sev­eral days and cost his com­pany sig­nif­i­cant rev­enue and profit. Need­less to say, his entire team now looks at stan­dard­ized dash­boards, as well as lever­ag­ing other best prac­tices like alert­ing. I only wish the les­son didn’t have to so harsh all the time.

So please, find 15 min­utes in your cal­en­dar – block it out – and cre­ate a dash­board with your KPIs. Remem­ber, less is more. If you’ve got any more than 5 data points (i.e. rev­enue, rev­enue per visit) in your dash­board, you’re prob­a­bly look­ing at too much already. Just iden­tify those 3–4 met­rics that absolutely indi­cate busi­ness suc­cess or fail­ure, and stick to them. Remem­ber, you can always cre­ate more dash­boards with other tac­ti­cal met­rics if you feel the need to relapse 

As always, if you’d like help with dash­boards or KPIs, please feel free to con­tact the Best Prac­tices Group at Omni­ture. We exist to max­i­mize your success.