#1 - How to get started with your analytics?
What are analytics?
Analytics are quantitative data collected by software, the best known being Google Analytics, on the number of visitors to your website. This can be the number of visitors per day, the number of page views, which pages are the most visited, etc. Analysing this data can allow you to improve your offer by better understanding your audience, their interests and their behaviors.
What is your objective?
It is essential to define your goals before investing time and money in analysis. The analysis of these statistics should help answer operational questions which can be of different kinds:
This is the most common and well-known use. It is about observing the evolution of traffic according to marketing activities likely to impact it.
This use is less well known, but statistical data can also give information on ergonomic issues or more broadly, on user experience.
Cleaning up broken links, identifying browsers and devices to be supported as a priority, identifying 404 errors, estimating the relevance of installing a CDN ...
Analytics but not only...
Statistical data, by definition quantitative, is never sufficient on its own. To interpret them, a qualitative insight is needed that is at least a global knowledge of digital, the site and its audience. These data should ideally be compared with the results of qualitative surveys of a sample of users or of an audit carried out by an expert.
Data that speaks is data that moves
In other words, a data recorded at a precise moment will not teach us much. It is the evolution of its value over time that will allow us to start making assumptions.
Everything is assumptions!
The first analyses rarely lead to conclusions but to hypotheses to be validated, sometimes, and, often, also to be invalidated.
One step after another
As in any scientific process, we try to control the variables. And when we want to see what is the impact of a variable on the others, we try to change only that variable.
Significance, a concept that hurts
Like all statistical data, analytics must be based on a minimum volume for the results of certain analyses to be meaningful. It is risky to analyse insignificant data! This can lead you to draw the wrong conclusions!
Take into account independent variables
It is also necessary to take into account uncontrolled variables, in particular the seasonal, annual, daily or weekly variation when choosing the time period to be analysed.
Where to start?
It all starts there! The first step is to have a marketing strategy and goals. They are the ones who will make it possible to define the priorities and on which indicators to focus.
Google Analytics or Matomo or ...
Choose the right tool. Google Analytics is generally faster to implement, but it sometimes violates data security or privacy guidelines. In this case, Matomo is an excellent solution but which involves a higher installation and maintenance cost. These two tools are market leaders in "generalist" analytics, but there are multiple tools offering more specific analyses (heatmap, social media, etc.).
Inserting a tracking code into the site code is the first step to start collecting data.
The views will provide access to a particular set of data. We will generally have at least 4 views by default:
- 1. Unfiltered - Absolutely all the traffic to make sure you don't lose anything
- 2. Raw - A small, unwanted portion of traffic is excluded especially the traffic you generate by viewing your own site.
- 3. Staging - As with development, changes in tracking or in reports should be tested in this view before being applied in production.
- 4. Production - The view on which you will come to consult the data for recurrent monitoring.
This last view can be broken down into multiple views for different uses and users such as:
- A view by department
- A sub-site / sub-domain view
- One view for marketing and another for the project team in charge of developing the site
From there, it all depends on the strategy and the objectives!
You have to have a protocol and make it evolve based on the results of the previous step. We strongly recommend an agile approach with cycles of feedback and definition of next steps. It will potentially be relevant to integrate this approach into a more global approach to support digital change and to involve all the stakeholders within the organisation.
Next week, we will publish the second part of the article explaining the different Notions (indicators, audience, segments, acquisition, etc.)!