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Figuring out what to measure using Web Analytics

Figuring out what to measure on your website is the first and foremost stage of Web Analytics. The objectives and business metrics are defined in this stage and it forms the foundation for any analysis and optimization happening on your website. ’ll first take the hierarchical approach and then we’ll get to specific examples.

Identify your business objectives

The first thing that you need to answer is the business objective of the website. Without a written, agreed list of objectives we are not going to go too far. In certain organizations, this is very clearly defined. In some other organizations, it’s not that clear. We recommend not stopping at an answer like “Get more business”. That’s too abstract. Ideally, you should get specific business objectives from your manager / boss / yourself.

If your organization has multiple divisions, with division heads you should also meet up with them and ask them what they would be interested in. For example, if you are in the business of providing healthcare BPO and your website is divided based on specific services under healthcare, each division head would be interested in his or her specific numbers. May be they want to know how many visitors came to their part of the website, did they download a brochure, etc.

Mapping the business objectives to specific web analytics statistics

Once you have the business objectives clearly mentioned, you could start mapping these objectives to specific measures. Let us look at a few examples to explain this.
If one of the business objectives is to improve interaction with the customers, we might choose to look at the following metrics or measures:

  • Number of pages viewed
  • Time spent
  • Repeat visits

Now absolute number of page views is not a good measure to go by, but average page views/visit is. Start working on the metrics for each business objective. Do note that one objective might require more than one metric and one metric might be applicable to more than one business objective.

Another example would be an e-commerce website. One of the objectives is to maximize the money spent on Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. We might look at the following metrics for each of the PPC engines.

  • Clicks
  • Money spent
  • Visits (not necessarily same as clicks)
  • Average number of pages viewed
  • Return visits
  • Number of orders
  • Value of orders
  • ROI

Please note that while measuring such campaigns, we would also be comparing them against each other. For example, are we getting better returns from Adwords or from Overture?

Key performance indicators (KPI)

Depending on the complexity of your website, the number of stakeholders and the size of your organization, the number of metrics you would collect would vary. It might run into couple of hundreds. But you should also try to figure out a few parameters that are extremely key to your website. We would refer to them as key performance Indicators (KPI).
Once you have the objectives and the metrics ready, we are ready to start figuring out how to measure.

Discover more about what can be measured by using Web Analytics.

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