Making Web Analytics Actionable in Universities


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A presentation that I gave at a meeting of Scottish Web Folk (web managers from Scottish Universities) on how to use use web analytics to make decisions

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Making Web Analytics Actionable in Universities

  1. 1. Making Web Analytics Actionable Peter O’Neill Freelance Web Analytics Consultant Scottish Web Folk 28 th Nov 2008
  2. 2. Web Analytics <ul><li>What is Web Analytics? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.’ (Web Analytics Association) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What is the point of Web Analytics? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To use data to make better business decisions (Peter O’Neill) </li></ul></ul>Peter O’Neill
  3. 3. My Opinion on Web Analytics <ul><li>If you are not using web analytics data to make decisions, there is no point in investing resources in collecting and reporting on it. </li></ul><ul><li>Better for data/reports to be simple and useful than complicated and just filed away. </li></ul><ul><li>Small steps </li></ul>Peter O’Neill
  4. 4. Issues people are facing <ul><li>Response from surveys </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clear objectives from stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge of using web analytics data to make decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of support of internal stakeholders </li></ul></ul>Peter O’Neill
  5. 5. What I am going to discuss <ul><li>Not ‘How to produce hundreds of reports’ </li></ul><ul><li>Defining KPIs & setting targets </li></ul><ul><li>Dashboards </li></ul><ul><li>Key reports for internal stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Some ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Other external resources for assistance </li></ul>Peter O’Neill
  6. 6. KPIs/Targets <ul><li>Defining KPIs and setting targets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why have KPIs? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why set targets for these KPIs? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Process for defining KPIs and targets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to use KPIs/targets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suggested KPIs </li></ul></ul>Peter O’Neill
  7. 7. KPIs/Targets <ul><li>Suggested KPIs for a University website </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of visits with > 5 page views </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of course descriptions downloaded or viewed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of clicks on links to online applications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>% of successful on site searches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>% of traffic from Direct Entry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>% of Returning Visitors to ‘What’s Going On’ site section </li></ul></ul>Peter O’Neill
  8. 8. KPIs/Targets <ul><li>KPIs need to be related to how your organisation defines success </li></ul><ul><li>Targets allow you to define whether you achieved success or not </li></ul><ul><li>Involve stakeholders in discussion if possible </li></ul><ul><li>If not, create your own – best guess – use that as a starting point </li></ul>Peter O’Neill
  9. 9. Dashboards <ul><li>The purpose of Dashboards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quick overview of performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include only relevant information – the key facts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple to read </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indicator of performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quick to update </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anyone in organisation can use </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dashboards evolve over time </li></ul>Peter O’Neill
  10. 10. Dashboards <ul><li>What I recommend </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start with Site Metrics and/or with KPIs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distribute weekly or monthly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include some basic commentary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer people’s questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>My recommended Dashboard format </li></ul><ul><li>Get people used to looking at web metrics and data – grow from there </li></ul>Peter O’Neill
  11. 11. Key Reports <ul><li>Top search terms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search engines and on-site search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify terms as targets for SEO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measure performance of SEO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Insight into what visitors find interesting </li></ul></ul>Peter O’Neill
  12. 12. Key Reports <ul><li>Site Overlay / Direct View </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use for key pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How are visitors using that page? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does navigation for the page/website need to be improved? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can create manually using Navigation Summary or Clickpath Explorer </li></ul></ul>Peter O’Neill
  13. 13. Key Reports <ul><li>Most popular </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rank the different site sections or departments or courses or staff profiles... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ideal metric is visits but visitors or page views is acceptable substitute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Depends on site structure & naming convention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GA – Content Drilldown report </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nedstat – XX per subdirectory within directory report </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be produced using segmentation (manual process) </li></ul></ul>Peter O’Neill
  14. 14. Some Additional Ideas <ul><li>How to get internal stakeholders more interested? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Find internal champions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on analysis that can save money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create a university case study </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How to increase knowledge? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create your own forum to compare notes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trade time between universities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You are the web analytics experts for universities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do expert reviews of each other’s websites </li></ul></ul></ul>Peter O’Neill
  15. 15. Some Additional Ideas <ul><li>How to make most of limited resources? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use your natural resource – students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talk to the professors for marketing/computer/analytics courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students can do work for experience or as class projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Best dashboard </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Best recommended improvement to website </li></ul></ul></ul>Peter O’Neill
  16. 16. Other External Resources <ul><li>Forums – Web Analytics, Google Analytics </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs – smart people are writing about how they use web analytics </li></ul><ul><li>Books – why learn from your own mistakes when you can learn from the mistakes of others </li></ul><ul><li>Free tools - Google Tools/Firefox plugins </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter – start conversations with people who can offer help </li></ul>Peter O’Neill
  17. 17. Thoughts to Take Away <ul><li>Web Analytics is about using data to make decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Keep things simple and take small steps, both for yourself and for involving internal stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Help by making other’s jobs easier </li></ul><ul><li>If you give people some information/answers, they will start asking more questions </li></ul><ul><li>Examples are the best way to prove value </li></ul><ul><li>Make the best use of the resources available to you </li></ul><ul><li>Remember, you are the web analytics experts for university websites </li></ul>Peter O’Neill