July 27, 2006, 12:00 AM

New report spells out best practices for web analytics

Taking action based on web analytics data can dramatically improve business for Internet retailers, but launching web analytics requires a skill set that many e-retailers do not have, Forrester Research says in new report.


Successfully using web analytics applications and taking action on their analyses can dramatically improve business for Internet retailers. Launching a web analytics effort, however, is not easy because it takes time and requires a skill set that many Internet retailers do not have, according to a new report from Forrester Research Inc.

The report-“Five Tips For Web Analytics Success,” by Forrester’s Megan Burns, Harley Manning and Caroline L. Carney-offers recommendations to companies seeking to get increased value from web analytics efforts. The authors’ recommendations are:

  • Connect customer behavior to business results to pinpoint behaviors that have the biggest impact on business results. List the major activities a user can do on the site, compare the conversion rates of users who perform those activities with the conversion rates of users who don’t, rank activities from most predictive to least, then focus on getting visitors to do the ones at the top of the list more often.
  • Routinely share analyses in company meetings-as opposed to just sending out reports or providing a dashboard-to ensure staff see the data and have the opportunity to ask questions to better understand the data.
  • Assign a single staff member to each major metric. Most web analytics users struggle to take action on insights they get from their data. To overcome this hurdle, make one person-not a group or role, but an actual person-accountable for each key metric, like average order value, leads generated or average time on site.
  • Create rapid response plans to help react more quickly to drops in metrics and decide in advance what constitutes a significant decline and how to respond if one occurs.
  • Add staff to accelerate ROI. On average companies take six to 24 months to realize significant benefit from web analytics initiatives. Obstacles include identifying which metrics matter most and acting on web analytics insight. Whether retailers seek to get internal staff up to speed faster or outsource analytics and analytics-based improvements work entirely, they should look to vendor professional services, design agencies and web analytics consultants for help.



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