Adoption of Web Analytics in Your Company

January 31, 2010

In the last seven years that I have spent in web analytics one of the biggest challenges that I have had is getting adoption of web analytics in the company. This can be very challenging for a variety of reasons. Some of the people in the company might not know about, know how to use, or understand web analytics. Some people in the company might not think web analytics can help them. These are just a couple of the reasons why adoption of web analytics in a company might be challenging. This was not any different for the first company that I worked for when I first entered into web analytics. They are a multi-channel retailer and were primarily a catalog company. They are a small company and became very well known through the catalogue. They launched the website as an after-thought. In the beginning, they really did not have any type of tracking on the site. Of course this was way before Google Analytics came around. The only tracking they had were which products were purchased on the web site. I think they might have had something that told them how many visits the site received and the entry and exit pages. Though no one looked at it and all of the decisions about the site were made based on how many products were purchased through the catalogue. When I came on board, I was the second full time employee dedicated to the web site. My main responsibilities were marketing of the site and web analytics. After we picked a web analytics solution, one of the next things that I worked on was to get adoption of web analytics in our company.

In the last seven years, I have had varying degrees of success and challenges in getting adoption of web analytics. The biggest challenge that I had at the first company was getting buy-in from the merchandisers. Being a small company, we only one set of merchandisers for the whole company and they decided which products would be sold in the catalogue and web site. They were catalogue merchandisers and did not think much about the web site, much less about web analytics.

In my years of trying to gain adoption, I have tried seven different ways to get adoption of web analytics in my companies. I would start slow with one or two and then try one or two more.

1. Automate some basic reporting – This one might seem obvious, but is often overlooked. When I say automate some basic reporting, I am not talking just about a KPI report. I would create and automate reports for different departments. This is a good way for each of the departments to know what metrics are available. This step is not to convince users to use web analytics, but just to let them know that the data is available and to give the users and idea of some of the information that they can receive.

2. Run a more detailed report with analysis – After a little while of receiving some basic information and letting the users know what data is available, I would then create a more detailed report (a few more metrics) and provide some insight for each of the reports. At this point, other departments will start to see what other information is available and how they can use the information to make decisions.

3. Monthly meetings with departments and recommendations – The next thing I would do is set up a monthly meeting with different departments at one time. This meeting will cover the basic reports and the more detailed reports, as well as recommendations based on the information. In this meeting, I would also include some comparisons against the different departments which could create some friendly competition for the departments to see which one can improve their numbers the most.

4. Partner with one department – One of the other things that you can do is partner with one of the other departments in your company. I would partner with one of the departments that have taken more of an interest in the information that you have been providing. I would work with this department on providing a little more analysis; including segmentation from traffic sources and which segment drive more conversions. Once one department starts using more of the data, the other departments will want to know more.

5. Training a handful of people in other departments – One way to get more adoption of web analytics can be referred to as “train the trainer”. In this case, train one person from each department, who shows the most interest in the data and who you consider a “power user”. You can train these people through the whole tool, how to quickly run different reports and how to make decisions from the information. This person will then train other people in their department on how to use the tool. Though there might be some questions that the person you trained might not be able to answer, this is a great way to get more people to use the tool.

6. Hold a monthly training class – As the person who you trained in the different departments might not be able to answer all of the questions, a monthly training class is a good way to help fill in the gaps and to show a few more tips on how to use the data. It is also a good refresher for the users in the company. As much as I like to think that everyone logs into the tool as much as I do, that unfortunately is not the case. This is a good way to keep the tool and the data in front of a lot of people and to get a lot of people to log into the tool at least once a month.

7. Create training videos specific to your company – Creating training videos is a great supplement to the monthly training class. It is also a good resource for new employees who need to use the tool. Though Google Analytics, Yahoo, Omniture, Web Trends, and other tools have training videos, they are great for basic information. Also, their training videos are not specific to your company or your company’s needs and the training videos that you create can be a little more specific. I have tried to use two different tools to create the training videos. I am sure there are more than two, but both of these are free and offer some basic video features. The two tools are: BB Flashback Express and Jing by TechSmith. The flashback express tool offers a few more features with its free version, but I would recommend trying both and see which one works the best for you.

There are more than these seven ways to get more adoption of web analytics in your company, these are just the seven that I have tried and have found some success in using.

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One Response to “Adoption of Web Analytics in Your Company”

  1. Ben Gaines Says:

    Richard,

    Among other great points that you make here, I LOVE the idea of creating company-specific training videos. I’m not sure how many are doing this, but I suspect it isn’t a widespread practice. Great tip!

    Ben Gaines
    Omniture, an Adobe company


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