After managing 2 web analytics implementations, I am beginning to lose patience with the leading web analytics providers in the industry. Over-promising and under-delivering is not uncommon and it seems the many marketing professionals have had similar experiences.
So is it all worth it? The answer is yes and no, as the value web analytics can offer depends on your organisations needs. If for instance your organisation is in need of basic website statistics such as visitor numbers, traffic sources stats and basic conversion data, then an expensive product is not worth the investment. As a free tool, the value of Google Analytics is hard to ignore and it is even giving the larger Web Analytics companies a run for their money. However for large organisations investing significantly within their online channel, then web analytics is an important investment.
Thus before you make the investment in web analytics, I have detailed 5 of my most important tips to make your implementation as smooth as possible.
Keep some money in the kitty
Complex analytics implementations never go to plan. Even if a detailed specification is created prior to implementation it is likely that during the implementation process, unforeseen issues will emerge. Common issues can include;
- tracking inconsistencies post code implementation
- unforeseen difficulties to integrating web analytics within your existing site architecture
- realisation that an important metric/report has been overlooked during the scoping phase
All of the above can stretch the scope of the project and incur additional costs thus ensure that you have put aside some additional cash to cover these costs.
Ask for the expert
To ensure your organisation benefits from industry best practice, request a technical consultant / project manager from the analytics provider who has experience in your sector. Although analytics providers are unable to provide you with competitor intelligence, they can provide insight into how to customise your implementation to provide you state of the art reporting for your sector, to get the most out of the investment in the product.
Negotiating Your Test Period
It is not uncommon for complex implementations to take several months to perfect reporting. In the meantime your organisation is usually shelling out the monthly subscription fee even though you do not have access to any accurate reporting that is of value. Thus it is important to ensure where possible that you negotiate a grace period to give your organisation enough time to get it up and running.
Don’t overlook the value adds
Sophisticated web analytics products have very powerful functionality however not all organisations are blessed with web analytics specialists to drive the value from their systems. As a result there are 2 key value added products that should be considered. The first is the various training modules offered by the organisations themselves. Whilst the second is the use of consultancy services which enables organisations to leverage specialist knowledge from the analytics provider to create more advanced reporting and solve additional business reporting needs.
Do Your Homework
- Request a trial log in to visually see how some of the reports are displayed – there are differences between platforms thus this will provide you with a very good picture of the pros and cons of each analytics interface.
- Build a requirements checklist and have the web analytics provider present an online demonstration of how their system will measure and report on key indicators within the reporting environment. Running through a simple checklist about the systems reporting capabilities is not enough, viewing the systems capabilities will ensure there are no surprises post implementation.
Not all web analytics products were created equal. Before your organisation decides on the most suitable web analytics product, it is very important to ensure that it is fit for purpose. Once implementation is complete, it is both costly and difficult to switch providers thus the investment of your time during the initial tender process is crucial to deliver a position final result. Some of key recommendations I would make are;
I hope these tips are useful for those considering a web trends implementation. If you have experience in implementations and have some additional tips, please add them below.