Create a website analytics measurement plan in 5 steps

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If your business runs online sales or marketing campaigns, it’s important to know which activities are working and which aren’t. Accurate data is key in making smart decisions, and the power of online analytics comes into play.
Website analytics tools such as Google AdWords often include key metrics — the number of website visitors during a given time period, the average time spent on the website and the number of views for specific webpages. The tools may also provide interesting data: the percentage of website traffic from different sources, the percentage of new versus returning visitors or the visitors’ geographic locations.
In order to view the data that best suit your business needs, you may need to tailor it.
You must develop a website analytics measurement plan to decide what you need to measure and implement the data. Follow these steps to begin building an analytics infrastructure:
Step 1: Determine your business goals
To obtain meaningful data, your analytics measurement plan must integrate with the business’s goals. This step must involve the decision-makers in your company. Ask some important questions: “What are our business needs right now?” “Where are we headed?” “What obstacles are in the way of us getting there?”
Step 2: Define your digital strategy and tactics
Depending on your goals, the website’s purpose(s) may vary. Websites often exist: to sell a product or service, increase brand recognition and engagement, inform or entertain visitors, drive sales leads or publish content that encourages return visits.
Tactics are the steps you take to achieve your goal. This may include a blog to help drive engagement or frequent website visits, a website or mobile app to sell products or a video to help demonstrate a product or tell a story.
Step 3: Identify the data that matter most
What are the key performance indicators that are most meaningful? What numbers help determine the campaign’s success? If you have an e-commerce website, a KPI is the amount of revenue generated. If you have a lead-generating website, you may be interested in the number of forms or inquiries submitted.
Step 4: Decide how to segment your data
Properly segmented data is more relevant to your business and enables you to make wiser decisions.
Segmenting analytics by marketing channel shows which source sends the most website traffic or drives the most conversions. Segmenting by geographic regions shows the visitors’ locations. This information can help determine success if you’re running a campaign specific to a certain region or looking to open a new brick-and-mortar store.
Step 5: Determine your targets
Once you select the KPIs and data segments, identify your target metrics. If online form submissions are important, what’s the value of each submission and how many per month (or quarter) are considered a success?

Properly done, website analytics become a critical part of daily business activities and decisions. A measurement and implementation plan should always be a cyclical process in order to meet changing business needs.

Kelly Borth is the CEO and chief strategy officer of GREENCREST, a 25-year-old brand development, strategic and interactive marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into industry leaders™. Kelly is one of 35 certified brand strategists in North America and works with companies to establish brands and build brand value for their businesses.