How often does new func­tion­al­ity get pushed live on your web­site, with no tag­ging in place to mea­sure its per­for­mance?  I saw this when I worked on the client side, and now as a con­sul­tant, I see this hap­pen­ing with my clients.  The busi­ness gets frus­trated because they can’t get any num­bers for their new func­tion­al­ity and the web ana­lyt­ics team gets frus­trated because they weren’t told any­thing new was going live so they weren’t able to tag it.

The good news is that it usu­ally only hap­pens once or twice before the busi­ness starts includ­ing the ana­lyt­ics team.  The even bet­ter news is that with a process in place, this sit­u­a­tion is com­pletely avoidable.

The web ana­lyt­ics team should be involved from the get-go when the busi­ness is defin­ing and design­ing new func­tion­al­ity for the web­site.   Cre­at­ing a clear mea­sure­ment plan up front will save time and energy.  The mea­sure­ment plan should:

1. Doc­u­ment the project objective(s) and the measurement(s) of suc­cess.   Doc­u­ment­ing the project objec­tives will give the ana­lyt­ics team clear under­stand­ing as to what the new func­tion­al­ity should do.  The team will know exactly what to focus post launch analy­sis on.

By doc­u­ment­ing the mea­sure­ments of suc­cess, the ana­lyt­ics team will have a clear under­stand­ing of what nee­dles the busi­ness is try­ing to move.  This will ulti­mately aid in deter­min­ing suc­cess of a project. Ide­ally, the measurement(s) of suc­cess should be quan­tifi­able.  For exam­ple, the new wid­get should increase con­ver­sion by X%.  Or the rebranded site should increase the num­ber of repeat vis­its by X%.

2. Doc­u­ment the busi­ness ques­tions.  It is impor­tant that the busi­ness owner doc­u­ments the ques­tions they want answered about the new func­tion­al­ity.  This allows the ana­lyt­ics team to under­stand what they need to imple­ment from a tag­ging per­spec­tive in order to meet the report­ing needs of the busi­ness.  Exam­ples include:

  1. How many prod­ucts are pur­chased from the new hol­i­day gift guide?  How much rev­enue comes from each of these products?
  2. How many vis­i­tors are read­ing our new blogs?  Which blogs are read the most?
  3. How many peo­ple use the new prod­uct com­par­i­son tool?  How many of these peo­ple buy a product

Tak­ing the time to doc­u­ment the busi­ness ques­tions lim­its and defines the scope for report­ing.  The busi­ness knows the data that they’ll get and the ana­lyt­ics team knows the data they need to deliver.

3. Deter­mine the report­ing method and fre­quency.  As a web ana­lyst, what you don’t want is a bunch of peo­ple com­ing up to your desk sev­eral times a day, ask­ing you how the new site is per­form­ing.    As part of the mea­sure­ment plan, out­line the report deliv­ery expectations:

  1. What will be deliv­ered (i.e. report­ing, analy­sis, and/or optimization)
  2. When will it start (i.e. the go live date)
  3. How often will it be (i.e. daily)
  4. Who will the data be com­mu­ni­cated to (i.e. a list of recip­i­ents) and who will be com­mu­ni­cat­ing the data (i.e. which web analyst)

Tip: To ease report­ing needs, cre­ate an auto­mated report in Excel using Excel­Client or Report Builder.  Ide­ally, this can be cre­ated before the new func­tion­al­ity goes live by using a devel­op­ment report suite.  The report suite can be eas­ily changed to pro­duc­tion once the wid­get is live. Your report­ing is ready on day one.

Work­ing with the busi­ness own­ers to cre­ate a sound, com­pre­hen­sive mea­sure­ment plan, will ensure both the web ana­lyt­ics team and the busi­ness own­ers are fully aligned.  The busi­ness ques­tions doc­u­mented in the mea­sure­ment plan will feed directly into the busi­ness require­ments doc­u­ment.  The busi­ness require­ments doc­u­ment will be used to define the tag­ging solu­tion.  And the post launch report­ing will be pos­si­ble because of the tag­ging solu­tion put in place.  The mea­sure­ment strat­egy is the key first step in the imple­men­ta­tion process and one you don’t want to skip.