Customization of data collection code is of paramount importance to web analysts because it constitutes the fundamental building blocks required for advanced visitor segmentation above and beyond what software provides out of the box.
Unfortunately, customization doesn’t come free.
There is an opportunity cost of developer or publisher time and sometimes third-party vendor involvement is required. Due to this tradeoff, businesses and web analysts are often faced to make tough compromises when faced with the task of implementing web analytics code, or enhancing it to support better insights.
Here are some tips to help you introduce processes to get your delicious analytics pie and eat it too!
1. Assemble a List of Reporting Requirements From Your Business Partners
Engage your businesses’ stakeholders early in the process to define what reporting will look like, and go one step beyond to establish visitor "skeletons" for future segmentation rules.
2. Develop a Web Analytics Roadmap
Define the building blocks of your implementation that will support gradual improvement of reporting insights over time. By prioritizing deliverables against reporting requirements, you can defend the need for must-have analytics code and compromise "nice to have" functionality.
3. Get to Know Your Web Development Team and Project Managers
Bundling code changes with maintenance releases or new projects is a sure-fire way to reduce the overall cost of introducing or modifying web analytics code. Work with your CTO to develop an engagement model to keep your insights practice informed of upcoming projects, especially for high-visibility capabilities that will likely benefit from customized reporting.
4. Empower Your Quality Assurance Teams
Offer training on how to debut web analytics implementation and identify issues. I’m always amazed by how detail-oriented quality assurance analysts can be when given adequate instruction, not just for analytics debugging but even for maintaining SEO integrity. (Optional)
5. Don’t Trust, Verify Immediately
After code goes live, make sure your data is flowing as expected, and regression-test your pre-existing reports. Nothing’s worse than losing a year’s worth of reporting history to a one-page enhancement.
6. Share Your Success
Include the pride of your new reporting enhancements with everyone involved including your web development team, project management office, quality assurance team, and business partners. Sharing your success should increase the odds you’ll get support in the future as well as elevate the importance of the process to everyone else in the organization.
7. Act on Insights and Plan Ahead for Future Optimizations and Reporting Enhancements
Once new code goes live the entire team has a rush of creative thought that can provide invaluable insight to your reporting capabilities. Harness that energy to make the data shine and come up with recommendations and test criteria to drive business value.
8. Embed This Process in Your Business by Seeking Executive Sign-off
Seek out one or two executives that can be your long-term sponsor in building and maintaining your insights process.
Having challenges improving your insights due to poor process? Let us know what your biggest challenges are below!