Getting Your Analytics Strategy Up and Running: Easy Steps for Generating Powerful Insights

May 20, 2023

Enthusiastic analytics practitioners may find themselves drawn to the extensive array of features provided by Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. These features include events, channel groupings, custom dimensions, content groups, and recipes, along with the advanced capabilities offered by Google Analytics 360. Additionally, they may be eager to explore tools like Data Studio and Google BigQuery, as well as tackle more complex tasks such as custom form tracking and calculated metrics.

Gaining a broader perspective: Shifting from technical details to analytics strategy

As avid enthusiasts of analytics, it's easy to become engrossed in the multitude of features offered by Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. From custom dimensions and content groups to tools like Data Studio and Google BigQuery, the possibilities can be overwhelming. However, it's crucial to pause and redirect our attention from the technical aspects to the strategic side of analytics. In this article, we will explore the significance of developing an overall approach before delving into the technical intricacies. Given the subjective and context-dependent nature of marketing, it is essential to guide the decision-making process with a balanced approach that considers both data and insights. By taking a step back and charting a clear course before embarking, you can ensure that you and your team are aligned and moving in the right direction.

Moving beyond analytics objectives: The significance of grasping measurement strategy

To gain a comprehensive understanding of your website or application's performance, it is crucial to establish a clearly defined measurement strategy. This entails delving deeper into the collected data, identifying essential components, and determining the appropriate tracking methods to meet specific objectives. In this article, we will delve into the complexities of communication and planning within larger or more specialized organizations, aiming to ensure that your web analytics methods are not only effective and efficient but also customized to align with your organization's distinct requirements.

Developing an Effective Analytics Strategy for Your Organization

Before formulating your analytics strategy, it is crucial to identify the type of organization you belong to, such as a publisher, self-service site, or retailer. Drawing inspiration from industry research, competitor analysis, and case studies can help generate ideas that align with your organization's unique needs.

However, it is common for organizations to face challenges when different departments, including executives, marketers, analysts, and developers/web teams, have varying perspectives and objectives. Analysts may focus on data patterns, marketers may highlight trends and initiatives, and executives may prioritize metrics related to revenue impact. This often leads to developers being overwhelmed with requests to track numerous website interactions.

To facilitate a productive and efficient meeting, it is advisable to have representatives from each department present. Prepare well-defined questions in advance and ensure you have the necessary data to address them. By asking pertinent questions, you can uncover actionable insights. Here is a sample agenda to guide your meeting.

1. What are the primary objectives of our company this quarter?

2. How does our website support these objectives?

3. What are our assumptions about our website visitors?

4. Which promotional campaigns have effectively reached our target audience?

5. Each participant selects one critical activity or action on the website (Bonus: Verify the accuracy of the selections in the next quarter!)

6. What website data is required to make informed decisions?

With this groundwork in place, you can commence the meeting. There is no need to involve the entire team in discussions about technical details like session timeouts, tracking codes, Google Tag Manager containers, or event naming conventions. By focusing on the key questions and objectives, each team will have a clearer understanding of the data they require and will approach its analysis more strategically.

During the meeting, one of the action items should be to evaluate outcomes using Google Analytics. This powerful platform provides default data and customizable settings to interpret and respond to user behavior. We will present several ideas to kickstart the process of creating a comprehensive Measurement Strategy.

What's the Initial Step?

When formulating an analytics strategy, the initial phase involves deciding on the approach to adopt and assigning accountability for its implementation. Engage in discussions with your team to explore the different options available and choose the most suitable one for your business.

Monitoring Your Finances

Are you making investments and seeing the desired outcomes? This straightforward approach suggests initiating your plan by collaborating with the Advertising and Marketing departments to ensure their full comprehension of what strategies are yielding results and what strategies are falling short. Utilize data to illustrate the significance of different channels and challenge any preconceived notions.

The utilization of social media can vary greatly depending on the industry, company, and product. Even if you are not allocating financial resources to social media, it still requires substantial non-monetary resources such as time and effort. Ensure that the resources invested in social media will yield a favorable return and that the decision is data-driven. For instance, "We are dedicating our time and effort to social media to enhance our brand, even if it does not directly generate leads and sales."

Who can derive the greatest advantages?

When strategizing a website migration or redesign, it is crucial to take into account elements like content, usability, and technical requirements. To enhance content strategies, analyze the performance of different content types, experiment with messaging variations using diverse tools, and monitor the advertising audiences that yield the highest conversion rates.

Who should be responsible for taking ownership?

Although it may not be the most prioritized aspect, it is crucial to acknowledge that implementing an Analytics system demands considerable time and effort. It is essential to designate an individual within the organization who will take ownership of managing the data, assessing its effectiveness, ensuring precise tracking, and identifying opportunities for enhancement. Entrusting this responsibility to an already overwhelmed employee will only result in frustration and dissatisfaction.

Exploring Ideas for Measurement Strategies

Let's use the example of a Business-to-Business (B2B) company to illustrate the process of developing a measurement plan. By asking key questions and providing sample answers, we can gain a clearer understanding of how to measure success in this context.

In the case of a B2B company, it is crucial to define the business goals for the current quarter, which may involve successfully closing offline transactions and securing new clients. The website's primary functions may include generating leads through trial initiations or contact information submissions, as well as providing comprehensive company information and addressing customer inquiries.

To gain insights into the website's visitors, we can make assumptions about their roles as researchers, influencers, or decision-makers, as well as their budgetary authority. It is also important to identify the channels that bring these visitors to the site, such as social media campaigns or paid advertising.

By considering these factors, we can develop data-driven solutions to improve decision-making. This may involve sharing reports generated from Google Analytics, enhancing the data collected through Google Analytics, or refining internal processes to ensure accurate and measurable data.

By brainstorming measurement strategies and addressing these questions, we can establish a solid foundation for tracking success in a B2B setting.

Aligning Data with Strategic Goals

In the strategy meeting, we uncovered that analyzing the Acquisition section in our existing reports provides valuable insights into our website traffic sources and their impact on overall activity. With the abundance of data available through Google Analytics, we have various methods at our disposal to enhance and refine our analysis.

Exploring Deeper into Our Audience for Enhanced Insights

Now, let's redirect our attention toward gaining a deeper understanding of our users. We want to explore their characteristics and find ways to effectively evaluate them. We've already identified some potential visitors to our sample website, but now we'll gather additional information about these users and their likely actions.

One effective approach is to assign team members the task of exploring available options, getting acquainted with the service, and evaluating its features and benefits. The final decision-makers could include individuals from accounting, IT, department heads, or even the CEO.

To initiate the process, we'll concentrate on key factors to develop more comprehensive user personas. These factors encompass demographics, technology preferences, location, and social behaviors.

To enhance our user analysis example, we should consider the following metrics:

1. Industry Experts

   - Analyze the frequency of organic traffic compared to similar companies

   - Scrutinize the segment of returning users

   - Assess the metric of pages per session

   - Consider the number of pageviews for the "About Us" page

   - Monitor resource downloads (requires event tracking)

   - Measure engagement conversions, such as newsletter sign-ups (requires event tracking and goal setup)

2. Individuals Involved in Decision-Making Processes

   - Measure goal attainment within a single session (requires goal-setting)

   - Analyze direct traffic to the homepage (can be notified via email or chat)

   - Track form submissions (requires event tracking)

   - Integrate Google Analytics with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems

3. Regular Users

   - Utilize multi-session analyses to evaluate campaigns, especially for non-spontaneous purchases or registrations

   - Create a custom channel that includes industry-specific websites

   - Establish a custom channel that includes affiliates and partners

   - Import cost data for paid searches from sources other than Google

   - Maximize the utilization of campaign parameters, including content, and potentially implement additional custom parameters.

Seizing the Opportunity

Having a set of comprehensive questions related to your business, website, and data is crucial for developing an effective strategy. These questions will enable you to provide insightful answers regarding user behavior and website performance within the appropriate context.

Initiating your analytics journey with a single question can serve as a catalyst for a purpose-driven approach that aligns with the objectives of your industry or organization.

As the landscape of analytics evolves, it is evident that GA4 (Google Analytics 4) is the future. The transition from Universal Analytics to GA4 and ensuring the security of your Universal Analytics data can be overwhelming. This is where Universal Analytics Vault comes in – we simplify and streamline the process of safeguarding your Universal Analytics data.