Questions to Ask When Assessing Web Analytics

By | March 8, 2015

At some point in the career of a web analyst, you will be asked to investigate, assess, and possibly judge the current state of how a company “does” web analytics. What are some of the areas you should ask about? Here are some thoughts and a few questions to ask to help inform your analysis (and grease your mental gears):

Questions for Analytics Evaluation

  • Business strategy. Why does the organization do web analytics? What’s the goal of having a web analytics team? Who defines the strategy? What is the strategy?
  • Analytics organization and team structure. Who is the chief owner of web analytics? What does the analytics team look like? How has the team structure been formalized in the organization? Is the web analytics team effectively staffed and have enough control over resources to do the job?
  • Process. What analytics processes have been defined? How does a site or site feature progress from not being measured to being effectively measured?
  • Data collection. What methods for data collection are being used? How much data is being collected, and for how long is it stored, and at what level (i.e. detail, aggregate)?
  • Reporting. What data is reported? What do the reports look like? Who creates them? How are they distributed, and in what format? To whom? When? How?
    Analysis. What’s the difference in this company between reporting and analysis? How is analysis communicated to stakeholders? When? How?
  • KPI’s. What Key Performance Indicators are you measuring? How are they relevant to the business? What actions have people taken from KPI analysis that improved business performance?
  • Segmentation. What audience and customer segments exist? What audience and customer dimensions and attributes are segmented? Why are they meaningful to the business? What has the business learned and what action has been taken from the current segmentation analysis strategy?
  • Technology. What analytics technologies are being used? What does the schema for web analytics look like? What homegrown technologies are used? What external technologies have you bought or deployed for analytics?
  • Integration. How is web analytics data integrated with other internal and external data? Is it integrated with other systems, how?
  • Site Optimization. Does the company test landing pages, and/or use AB or Multivariate testing software? If so, whose software, and what business gains have been realized?
  • Advertising/Advertisers. How is analytics used to inform or enable advertisers and advertising?
  • Privacy. What safeguards does the company take in protecting analytics data?
  • Qualitative Data. Is qualitative data contextualized with web analytics data? Do you capture voice-of-customer data? Use Net Promoter Scores? Have a research department? Does web analytics collaborate with research?

Those are just a few questions to ask. Many others can be asked. What would you want to know, and what would you ask? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Now for some random thoughts

News from Orem. API / Fusion / Video Tracking… cool. I’m pretty psyched that Omniture announced a web services API. That’s fantastic, and confirms how truly important integration is now and will be in the future for analytics data (as I’ve been saying for years… Google will be next).

Omniture has announced a new methodology, Fusion, and improved capabilities for tracking video. All sounds very exciting. But, I’m wondering what revolutionary new methodology Fusion really is?

Regarding the video capabilities, I haven’t seen a real demo yet, but I wasn’t immediately impressed with what I saw on my friend’s blog. Instead of quartile tracking, it seems like you track the playhead (the part of the video playing) across audience aggregates in increments of one-twelfth, and you get some bubbly visualization (what would that look like with 10,000 videos on your site?), and better access to forums.

But for a playhead visualization, I was much more impressed with what I saw from Visible Measures and their engagement curve. And what the heck are those folks at Divinity Metrics up to for measuring video?

News from Novato. One of my favorite gangs of web analytics folks reside in Northern California. They just released a rather impressive “Omniture Implementation Toolkit.”

I was able to procure a copy, and I’m totally impressed. It’s full of hard-learned and hard-earned real world practitioner knowledge. If you are trying to implement Omniture, it is well worth the money.

Now I’m not sure if this document competes with or acts as a companion to Fusion. All I can say is that I know the folks at Semphonic are smart, savvy, and very experienced, and there are thousands of Omniture customers out there who could benefit from this document.

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