Web Analytics Tool is installed…..Now What?

December 31, 2008

Now that we have Coremetrics installed on the site and have run a few reports to make sure the reports were showing up the way that I wanted and worked on a low hanging fruit (checkout process), now I had to come up regular reporting to see how the site was doing on a regular basis to see how the site was doing on continuous basis. Over the years, I used different variations of weekly and monthly KPI reports. In this post, I am going to have an example of a couple of different weekly KPI reports that I have used and a monthly KPI report that I have used. In the weekly KPI report example, the KPI’s will media based and in the monthly KPI report, the KPI’s will be retail based so you can see the different KPI’s that I have used in both industries. You will notice a similar format to what Eric Peterson has in his BIG Red Book of KPIs. I have used part of his suggested format, but changed the format around for each company that I worked. Since I first got into web analytics, I have had several challenges with the KPI reports. The first challenge is getting people to care about the KPI’s as much as I do. Well, getting people to care at all about the KPIs especially if they are not familiar with web analytics. The second challenge is really a continuation of the first challenge and that is getting people to even look at the KPI reports. If you get them to care about the numbers, then they will look at the reports. The question is how do you get people to care about the numbers so they will look at the numbers? I care about the numbers and that should be enough, right? Well…..unfortunately it is usually not enough. You need to get the other people to care about the KPI’s. The question then becomes, how do you do that?

I have not always been as successful in accomplishing this as I would like. When I built one of my first KPI reports (weekly and monthly), I listed every KPI that I thought was important and other people should care about. Here is a an Example of the Weekly KPI Report of one of the first KPI reports that I put together. There are two tabs to this KPI report. Scroll down to view the second tab. This was a lot of information for most people to take in. I have found out the best way for most of the business owners to read the KPI reports are to have the top 5 to 10 KPIs. The question now becomes how you pick the top 5 to 10 KPIs. You will want to sit down and talk to the business owners. The business owners will more than likely not know what some of the KPIs are, even if you explain what they mean. I would recommend asking the business owners what are the common questions they receive on a weekly and/or monthly basis. Then from that list you should pick the top 5 to 10 KPIs that will help the business owners answer their questions. Once you have chosen the KPIs, you may need to explain how the KPIs help answer the business owner’s questions. Typically KPIs are ratios or percentages, but they do not always have to be. As you will see in my Updated Weekly KPI Report. This report came about by asking all of my business owners the questions that they receive the most on a weekly basis. Not all of my business owners completely liked the updated KPI report as they preferred the original report, though those are the business owners who really like numbers. So I came up with a compromise and I created a new version of the KPI report that combines both the old and new KPI report and has three tabs; here is an Example of the Proposed Weekly KPI Report. Scroll down to view all three tabs.

I use the same data sheet to power this version of the KPI report, so it is not any additional work to create this report. I put the smaller KPI report as the first tab and the longer KPI report as the second tab. This way everyone will see the smaller KPI report and if the business owner wants more information, they can go to the second tab. For the Monthly KPI report, I would do something very similar to the weekly KPI report but I would add a graph or two for the top one to two KPI’s. In the Example Monthly KPI Report, I do not have any graphs though I have added them to my monthly KPI reports in the past. I think most of the KPIs you will know.

In the monthly KPI report, I have a KPI called Look to Book. This KPI is typically used on the hotel industry, but it can very easily be applied to the retail industry as well. The Look to Book ratio is how many times a product was viewed vs. how many times the product was purchased. You would like the ratio to be as close to 100 as possible. You can view the ratio for the entire site and by product category, so you can how each category is performing against the entire site. You will notice the length of these KPI reports. They are typically longer than 5 to 10 KPIs, which is really too much information. I love numbers and I expect other people to love the numbers as much as I do and the reality is most people do not. The weekly KPIs are the ones that should help you move your business. If it is a like to know and not have to know then it might better off in the monthly report or just left off altogether and reported on an ad hoc basis. Now that you have a format for the weekly and monthly KPI reports, make sure that you add some context to the reports and put some analysis together. Since the goal of the KPI reports are to answer business questions, do some analysis on how the business objectives are being meeting and what can be make sure the business objectives are being met.

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