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.

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