The Context of Web Data

Hello Nation!

The difference between reporting and analysis is significant.  Google Analytics provides a plethora of data for all of your reporting needs; however, reporting will not yield actionable insights for your company.  Web analytics is the process of converting web data into positive insights to improve the bottom-line of your company.  If you do this effectively, the management of your company will shower you with gold.

One of the most important issues to consider when presenting analysis to the management is the context of the information.  It is not enough to say the bounce rate of the homepage has decreased 5 percent since last month.  How has the bounce rate changed over the past six months?  Or over the past year?  It is important to see the big picture to provide context for the data.  What actions have been taken to improve the homepage?  Have title tags and meta descriptions been changed to target keywords more specific to the purpose of the homepage?  Have your social media efforts paid dividends?  Examine the keywords that the visitors used to find the homepage.  Compare the bounce rate to the number of visits and goal conversions over time using multiple line graphs.  If you do not provide the proper context for the web data, then you are putting yourself and the company at risk.  You should not provide any reports without full context.  Many of the automatic reports are disadvantageous because of the missing context.

Context for the information is part of building a culture of data-driven decision making.  Many companies still do not use web analytics and resist this type of analysis for a variety of reasons.  Some companies prefer to rely on their “gut feeling” or avoid extra steps in the sales process.  Others have a fear of accountability or do not “believe” in web analytics because they think the source of data is unknown.  A culture of web analytics and data-driven decision making is difficult to build.  It is important to identify those who will benefit the most from web analytics and meet with them to explain the process.  Providing context during this meeting is essential!  The goal is to build confidence in potential results of web analytics.  Remind colleagues that you are not there to find faults in their work, but improve on the business design.

If you have any helpful hints for providing context for web data or building a data-driven culture, then please comment below, and I will entertain questions.

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