Five web analytics projects to be undertaken in 2011

You have just finished the annual review for the previous year. You can now focus on developing your company’s web analytics project.

Here are 5 different projects to be undertaken this year to help you reach your goal:

I – Revamp the dashboards and reports

Many different dashboards and reports are sent to users on a regular basis, some of which may have existed for a long time. One of the risks is that the dashboards may lead to less decisions being made or, worse still, may not even be read. This is the moment to investigate how the reports and dashboards are actually used.


Below you will find a list of some of the results which you may find from your investigation:

  • automatic rules which employees may have configured in their email inbox stores the reports and dashboards in a folder which the recipients no longer consult
  • the recipients do not have the time to read or consult the dashboards and reports
  • the reports were drawn up a few years earlier. They were used at the beginning but have become obsolete ever since
  • new employees arrived in the company after the reports were drawn up and are not aware of the use of these dashboards and some of the analyses are not understood
  • recipients would like to receive the reports at different intervals

If the results of your investigation are similar to the points mentioned above, then you need to really rethink the content that is included as part of the dashboards.

Let’s take the example of the web analytics manager at Expedia, who displayed all of the existing reports on the walls of the office. The manager quickly saw that a lot of the reports were redundant or irrelevant.

II – Organise a revision calendar for KPIs

Selecting KPIs should not be a one-off exercise. It is necessary to review them periodically in order to keep track of how effective they are so that they can be adapted to an ever-changing environment. Creating new KPIs or modifying existing KPIs should be completed in co-operation with the different people who work with them.

Very rarely are KPIs defined correctly first time around. It is not possible to know what impact a KPI will have before it is actually used in practice. Whenever a KPI is set up, in some sort of a way its efficiency and effectiveness is being tested.

As soon as a service does not use a KPI to its full potential as initially forecast, efforts need to be made in identifying the obstacles to be overcome.

The KPIs may also become obsolete over time. Needs change, as do the context and the people working on the project, meaning that it is necessary redefine the KPIs.

The fact that you have to modify a KPI should not be seen as a failure. If the recipients of a KPI want to change the KPI, then it is necessary to listen to what they have to say and to ask them their reasoning for the changes. If such changes can be justified by an improved measurement of the KPI’s goal, then there is no reason not to modify the KPI.

III- Using KPIs from web analytics data as part of department meetings

The KPIs which are defined to evaluate the performance of your site can have positive effects on the company’s progress by increasing the efficiency of department meetings. Department managers working on the website have everything to gain by integrating the results of their services’ KPIs as part of their meetings.

This will then lead to a review of the performance of the service by using the data generated by the KPIs.

The review must highlight each KPI which has not reached its set target. One of the first areas to be looked at may include reasons for any lack of performance. The web analyst may be called upon to help identify such causes.

Department managers need to understand that the key performance indicators are to be used to help improve the performance of their teams and not to penalise them. Any success must be highlighted. Should any targets not have been met, the employees must be given the chance to explain any difficulties they experienced in meeting such targets as well as their additional resource needs.

IV- Create a documentary database with previous examples

Problem-solving is a success which you should be very proud of. The process of continuous improvement is starting to take shape. It is tempting to stop here, to move onto something else, for example resolving another issue.

However, a problem which has just been solved can be used for the future. For example, if the same problem was to happen again or occur on another perimeter, then it would be an advantage to use the same approach that was used the first time the same issue was encountered. This is why it is extremely important to document any previous issues encountered. It is then possible to create a database of previous issues met which will then be used as a memory tool for the analysis team.

Such documentation becomes essential as it allows the analysis team to carry out a search for a response on how to resolve similar cases. This method involves carrying out a search in a common database for solutions to problems which the site has already been confronted with, and which were resolved successfully.

V- Get your Optimisation and Web Analytics teams to work together

The Web Analytics and Optimisation teams of a company tend not to work very often with one another. These are two very different teams which specialise in their specific area of business without necessarily sharing their information with one another. It is therefore important for the company to get these two teams to work together.

In a web analytics approach, the results from different reflections lead to one or more recommendations which are to be applied. However, there is nothing to ensure that these different recommendations will resolve a particular issue. A test procedure is therefore very useful for comparing a particular recommendation with the current version, and to verify the relevance and importance of the recommended solution.

In a test approach, the first question to be asked is what do we want to test? Web analytics provides us with the solutions to be tested. We can clearly see that these two different approaches clearly complement one another.

Getting the Web Analytics and Optimisation test teams to work together avoids having sets of tests which are carried out one after the other, only to discover by accident which test actually works. It also avoids placing recommendations online, recommendations which are extracts of data analyses, without any prior tests being made which involves taking a large risk.

The best way to achieve this is to name an Optimisation and Web Analytics manager who would have the task of ensuring that these two different teams work together.

These 5 projects are only suggestions to be taken on board. Other projects are, of course, possible. Let us know what your projects are by leaving a comment. What have you planned to put in place this year?


Head of Client Success – Generaleads Benoit has a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Bordeaux and 10 years of web analytics experience developed while at AT Internet. In early 2015, Benoit joined the Google AdWords specialist agency GENERALEADS as Head of Client Success. In parallel, he’s working on the start-up GetLandy, the first landing page creation tool designed for traffic managers.

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