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Google Analytics Academy: Creating a Measurement Plan

Have you heard about Google’s new Analytics Academy? It offers extensive training in Google Analytics and data analysis and helps you to prepare for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification. The first class in the academy, Digital Analytics Fundamentals, wrapped up on October 30th.  We’ll be covering each unit for those who missed the deadline, and next up is a step-by-step guide for creating your measurement plan with Google Analytics.

Using Digital Analytics to drive changes that result in positive outcomes relies on gathering data that is relevant to your business. Therefore, getting the most out of analytics means crafting your implementation to your measureable needs.  Good, useable data is the foundation for sound business decisions. However, managing and implementing the infrastructure will take time, effort, people, processes and technology. As with any project the larger it is, the more involved it will be.

Google’s session goes through the skills necessary for those individuals on your Analytics team.

Specifically you need the following:

  • Someone who understands the business objectives and the strategies to support those objectives
  • Someone who understands what analytics can do (here’s where someone who went through the Digital Analytics Fundamentals course comes in!)
  • Someone who has the technical skills to implement the analytics tool within their sites

So how, exactly, do we create a measurement plan?

Define Your Measurement Plan

Get the right people together and decide what to measure. This will be different for each organization. And you need to start with a plan that matches your business objectives.

There are 5 steps to defining the measurement plan

1. Document your business objectives : Why do we as a business, exist? So look at your business, what service or products do you provide and why.

2. Identify the strategies  and tactics to support the objectives. Each business will have their own set of strategies but they will be closely related to five common types:

  • Ecommerce: selling products or services
  • Lead generation: collecting potential leads
  • Content Publishers: Encouraging engagement and frequent visitation
  • Online Information or support: help users find what they need
  • Branding: driving awareness, engagement and loyalty

 3.  Choose the metrics that will be the Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

These are measurements of your strategies and tactics and these are the numbers that you will review daily to understand your business performance. Examples might be revenue generation, average order value or how many times an in-store coupon is printed or an online coupon is used.  To measure your user engagement, you might review recency and frequency metrics or the sharing of the content on your blog.

4. Decide how you’ll need to segment your data

  • We might want to segment our data by marketing channel such as search, display, email and social. This is so we can measure our effectiveness through the particular channel.
  • We might segment our customer by type. Say new or repeat customers and what channels may be driving loyalty.
  • We might be concerned at geography of site visitors to see if some locations are performing better than others.
  • The segments you choose can be the same or different across your website objectives. It just depends on what your business is doing and which strategies are being used to reach those business objectives

5.  Choose what your targets will be for your KPIs.

Finally, you will want to add some context to your KPIs and what you are measuring in order to better understand performance. Your business leadership should provide targets for each of your KPIs. This allows you to look at the data and understand how well or poorly your business is doing.

Document Your Technical Infrastructure

The key to implementing the plan is knowing your technical environment. You might ask questions about server technologies, mobile sites, responsive design and are we set up to be able to track what we want to in order to measure appropriately?

Create an Implementation Plan

Next, we need to create a plan that is specific to the analytics tool that will be used. In regards to Google Analytics, that means the code snippets and specific product features that you’ll need in order to track the data you defined in your measurement plan.

Once your business measurement plan is complete, you will have documented what you want to measure. You may not, however, be able to measure everything. So you may have to prioritize.

You will need the help of IT to translate the business needs into an implementation plan. They will be able to help you determine what you can track.

There are some technologies that absolutely require additional planning and help from the IT department. These include

  • Query String Parameters
  • Server Redirects
  • Flash and AJAX events
  • Multiple Domains and Subdomains
  • Responsive Web Design

Now you have business requirements and technical requirements of your environment and you will need to create a basic implementation plan. Here’s where you will document the features of your analysis tool that you’ll use to capture the data that you need.

Implement the plan

Once the plan is designed, next have your web development teams (or in our case in a small business – the marketing department) actually implement the tracking plan you made.

Now you have business requirements and technical requirements of your environment and you will need to create a basic implementation plan. Here’s where you will document the features of your analysis tool that you’ll use to capture the data that you need.

Some of the most common features used in a Google Analytics implementation plan:

  • Install the Standard Google Analytics Tracking Snippet
  • A way to track the KPIs – you can do this with goal tracking and the ecommerce module if you are an ecommerce business
  • Filters – these normalize your data making reports more accurate
  • Use Campaign tracking and AdWords Linking
  • Custom Dashboards and reports

The result of this is reliable, accurate data that helps understand the performance of your business.

Maintain and Refine

As always once you implement something new and because the digital world is constantly changing, your measurement plan must be maintained and updated so that your data can evolve with your business. Google says it best, “The measurement planning process should be cyclical, if not continuous.”

This is a very important step of the process because business requirements and technology are always changing. Also, it’s always good to keep in mind that you want to review your plan because you may learn you aren’t measuring what you thought you would be and you want to change or refine it. Or you may have resource constraints and would need to prioritize and implement in phases.

Was this post helpful? Stay tuned because next up we’ll break down how Google Analytics actually works.


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