The Guts of an Enterprise-Level Web Analytics Audit

Sometimes when I write these articles, I feel almost like we are giving too much away. Will other agencies and SEMs mimic our SEO team structure? Have competitors added steps to their SEO project estimators?

If so, more power to them! The more we grow as an industry and are able to share basic best practices, the better light our future clients and prospects will see us bathed in – especially in comparison to traditional cut-throat practices.

This week will be no different, as Rocco Albano, our Web Analytics Lead, provides some bullet points below that break down some of the main deliverables promised in one type of Analytics offering at Avenue A | Razorfish.

As many of you know, one of the biggest problems faced by large companies is the improper configuration of Web Analytics packages such as Omniture or WebTrends, for example. This has led some larger agencies to form analytics teams, where previously such work may have fallen under an SEO package or even as part of paid search advertising management.

No matter how the team is structured or where the line item appears in a statement of work, this kind of analytics quality assurance is here to stay.

One Sample Service: The Site Side Analytics Audit

The Site Side Analytics Audit provides a deep overview of the current analytics solution, verifying the accuracy and relevancy of the tracking data. In this type of engagement, the client can expect the following to occur, among other steps that are not shared in this article. If you really want to know more, or wish to contribute your own crucial steps, engage us in conversation at the SEW forums thread dedicated to Outsourced, and we can share experiences.

  • The audit will examine the following items across the various (Omniture/Webtrends/Visual Sciences, etc...) profiles/accounts:
    • Session tracking method verification and suggested method (first party versus third party cookie).
    • Review of reporting template configuration for ease of use and report types/modules configuration.
    • Visitor, visit, and page view data accuracy verification (are internal employee and vendors properly filtered out of results?).
    • Review of proper tagging and tracking of rich media such as Flash and streaming video.
    • Organic and paid search segmentation verification.
    • “and many more...”
  • Deliverables include:
    • A detailed summary of findings and an outline listing configuration and segmentation issues that require remediation.
  • The time required to complete such an engagement will vary based on the size of the site/analytics campaigns.

Another Option: Monthly Reporting and Management

The analytics team, once having established proper configuration of the client’s system, can shift into a monthly management and reporting mode. This offers clients the ability to outsource a task; in our instance, to the same agency that handles its paid and organic search marketing efforts. With less filters between data, the immediate actionable analysis derived is hard to beat.

The reporting option provides clients with monthly analyses of statistical data, including recommendations of actionable steps that will positively impact their SEO/SEM campaign(s) and conversions. For example, the metrics tracked and referred to may include SEO reports such as keyword rankings, measuring client rankings against a baseline report.The nice thing about the reporting option is that much like any other offering in the Internet marketing space, everything is highly customizable, based on key performance indicators that are most beneficial to the client in evaluating overall performances, or even based on seasonal goals, if required.

Marketing 101: Research is Key to Effective Marketing

As I, and thousands of others, have preached over the years, research is the key to better marketing, and SEM provides the best possible datasets for such research. In the early days of direct marketing and throughout its history, practitioners have strived to be able to collect and analyze the data delivered to our screens on a daily or even more frequent basis.

For anyone interested, I found a great read (condensed and mostly objective) on the subject of the U.S. History of Direct Marketing from the Centre for Development of Distance and Permanent Education SGH (Word document download). The next chapters in direct marketing are being written by analysts and strategists with more actionable data than could have ever been imagined in the not-so-distant past. Again, please feel free to discuss this article or associated thoughts at the SEW Forums thread Just One Agency Point of View.

About the author

Chris has been a digital marketer since 2000, starting in-house in the insurance space and subsequently assuming growing leadership roles across large agencies and SEM firms. He recently founded Web Traffic Advisors, LLC, in upstate New York. Chris consults with and coaches business and agency teams ranging from senior executives to technical, brand, content, and legal groups; helping to improve validation, efficiency, internal acumen, and implementation. Chris has diverse experience across major e-commerce platforms, pharma, retail, and other industries.

Since 2004 he has been a highly rated speaker and moderator at conferences and partner events all over the world, covering search engine marketing, social media, analytics, and evolving tactics including the promotion of better SEO integration across marketing channels. He has served on the Global Board of Directors of SEMPO since 2006, and co-hosts the weekly podcast SEO Rockstars from Webmasterradio.fm. Chris blogs for various industry publications, but most of his writing involves analysis and recommendations for clients, while promoting integrated online marketing and branding to a qualified target audience.