Hey everyone, it’s me again, your friendly neighbourhood Google Analytics fan-boy! Following on from part one of my Google Analytics Academy series, this month I am bringing you another thrilling installment, this time – Creating a Measurement Plan.
This month’s post will be a bit shorter as there will be no droning on about myself or my past achievements but just fully focused on Google Analytics and creating a measurement plan, so let’s get on with it!
Unit One Continued: Creating A Measurement Plan
In this post I am going to looking at and working out how to create an analytics measurement plan that is specific to your business, touching upon ideas I spoke about last month.
1.) Building A Solid Analytics Infrastructure
Making decisions for your business can be difficult to do. Therefore you need good data as the foundation for making smart decisions. Implementing and then managing this data will require time and effort, people, and technology.
On your analytics team you need people with different skills, these are:
- Someone who understands what the business objectives and strategies are.
- Someone who actually understands what analytics can do.
- You also need someone with technical skills who can implement the analytics tool.
- If you’re a large a business then you might need an analytics team for different business areas, whereas as a small business, the measurement plan will be simpler and could be managed by yourself.
So before we go into great detail about the of the measurement plan, let’s first look at its infrastructure in five stages:
1.) Define Your Measurement Plan
First you must decide what you want to measure, you should start with a measurement plan that identifies your business objectives.
2.) Document Your Technical Infrastructure
Next you need to understand the technical environment by documenting the technical infrastructure. You will asking your team questions such as;
- What are you server technologies?
- Are we active on mobile phones?
- Are we using a responsive design?
- Is the technology were using making it possible to track all the things we need to track?
3.) Creating an Implementation Plan
This means defining code snippets and products features that you’ll need to track the data defined in your measurement plan.
4.) Implement Your Plan
Once your implementation plan has been created, the next phase is to have your web development or mobile team implement the tracking recommendations you have made.
5.) Maintain and Refine
The digital world changes so fast, so therefore you need to make sure that your measurement plan is maintained and refined so that the data you have collected can evolve along with your business. The measurement plan needs to cyclical and continuous.
2.) Designing A Measurement Plan
The whole point of a measurement plan is to see if you’re making good or bad business decisions and how to make changes moving forward. There are five steps to defining your measurement plan and I will go over each of them in detail, but to start with they are:
- Start with your business objectives
- Second, identify the strategies and tactics to support the objectives.
- Third, choose the metrics that will be key performance indicators (KPI’s)
- Fourth, decide how you will segment your data.
- Finally, choose what your targets will be for your key performance indicators.
1.) Step One: Document Your Business Objectives
The first step creating the measurement plan is to define your business objectives and to understand – why do we exist? If you can’t yourself why you have this business then it is incredibly difficult to find the business objectives and if you can’t work why you exist, how will your customers?
2.) Step Two: Identify Strategies and Tactics
- Once you’ve decided upon the business objectives you then need to identify the strategies and tactics to support them. One such example of this could be selling products as an objectives and selling online via a website as a tactic.
- Another example is people on your website information that helps them locate your physical stores if you have one, therefore driving sales.
- But it is not always about sales, you also want to try and encourage loyalty and therefore repeat business. One way of doing this is by engaging with your customers via such platforms as a blog
The five most common types of strategies are:
- Ecommerce: Selling products or services.
- Lead Generation: Collecting leads.
- Content publishing: Encouraging engagement and frequent visits.
- Online Information: Help users get the information they need.
- Branding: drive awareness, loyalty and engagement.
3.) Step Three: Choose Key Performance Indicators
Key performance indicators or KPI’s, are the measurements of your strategies and tactics and are the numbers that your look at to get an understand of how your business is doing on a day to day basis.
Such KPI’s you could choose could be to how much revenue you are generating, how many times the store locator on your website was used or how hits your blog had and if a particular article was shared around.
4.) Step Four: Choosing Segments
Once you have worked out which KPI’s you want to look at, you then need to document which segments of data are important to measure.
For example you could segment by marketing channel: such as search, display, email and social media. You want to know how much value you get from these investments (think back to conversion attribution)
You might also want to look at the customer’s type, new vs repeat customers, to see how much business is driven by each segment.
5.) Step Five: Choose Targets
Finally, it is important to add some context to your data so that you can understand the performance of your business. You need to understand the targets for your KPI’s. Adding targets to the measurement plan helps everyone understand if your business is well or poorly.
That’s your measurement plan all thought out and created, so congratulations for making it this far!
But now we need look at how translate our measurement plan into an implementation plan.
3.) Translating Your Measurement Plan in to an Implementation Plan
You will need to help of your IT team to translate the business needs you identified in your measurement plan into the implementation plan. The IT team will ultimately help you determine what you can actually track.
It is important to plan ahead as a few technologies will require additional planning such as:
- Query String Parameters
- Server redirects
- Flash and AJAX events
- Multiple domains and sub-domains
- Responsive web design
These scenarios require extra attention when designing your implementation plan for tools like Google Analytics. It is very important to have a conversation with your IT team to understand the environment you want to measure. Don’t burden yourself with understanding the technical stuff to much as it will go over a lot of peoples head and that’s what the IT team is for!
Once you know both the business requirement and details, the next step is to create a basic implementation plan. In the plan you will need to document the features of your analysis tool that you’ll use to capture the data you need.
Let’s look at the most common features used in a Google Analytics implementation plan for a website:
- To get any data you need to implement a Google Analytics tracking snippet, which will give you the bulk of the data you need.
- Next to track your KPI’s, you need to use goal tracking and ecommerce module if you’re an ecommerce business.
- You need your data to be clean and accurate so therefore using filters will make sure the data you’re looking at is relevant and useful.
- To track your marketing channels you need to use campaign tracking and AdWords linking.
- Finally you will need to use custom reports and dashboards to simplify the reporting process, it will save a lot of time.
The result of this process is that you get a set of data which lets you understand your business day in and day out.
1.) Maintain and Refine
The final step of the measurement plan is maintain and refine it. It is really important step because business requirements and technical environments can change over time. Without maintaining your measurement plan your data won’t be able to keep pace with your reporting needs.
Creating a good measurement plan requires you to organise people processes, tools and technologies.
So that’s all from me this month, I hope it lightened your way to creating a fantastic measurement plan. Next month I take a look at how Google Analytics Actually works. Have a cracking April!