It's been awhile since my last post. Frankly, I've just been really swamped over the last month.
I've been spending a lot of the month of April talking...giving nearly a dozen presentations and interviews, teaching classes and moderating discussions about web analytics among web site managers, content managers and online marketers in a range of verticals...media, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, banking, non-profit, association and government...in both Denmark, and here in the Washington, DC area.
In all of these venues, interest in web analytics has been high. The high interest contrasts with the reality that many don't have the time to adequately use their web analytics tools. In fact, many spend less than 4 hours a month on web analytics.
So, while there is an interest in analytics, work gets in the way; if it comes down to a choice of making sure content is updated and marketing campaigns get launched versus doing analysis...well, site analysis takes a back seat. This is a tough cycle to break out of, if you're a web site manager, and if your organization is used to doing business without real guidance from analytics.
There is a way to help yourself out of this situation...and that is to try an get assistance in the form of hiring an analyst.
To do this, I suggest you develop a business case for analytics.
Few people I speak to have a business case for analytics. Budget is just "there."
I recommend that you develop a business case for analytics, even if money is allocated for your program. If you don't have a business case, there is no organizational business rationale for analytics to exist, and fuels the reason why analytics is not taken seriously enough to dedicate sufficient resources. Having Google Analytics and one resource to crank reports out once a month does not make an analytics program.
We are starting to enter the budget season for organizations on a October 1 to September 30 fiscal year, such as government agencies. This is the time to develop your business case and start making your pitch for scarce budget dollars for the next year.
If you don't know when budget planning takes place in your organization, find out. If you need to get the resources to help your analytics program, you'll need to take the initiative and get your managers buy in to make the case.
What goes in to a business case?
A good place to start would be a summary of how web analytics is currently showing a return on investment that is in line with the organization's business objectives. Once this is established, provide a projection for how additional resources will enable the organization increase its return on investment.
Here are some high level metrics for how web analytics should be providing a return on investment for the web site and in turn to the organization in general:
- Increase revenue
- Reduce costs
- Increase resource productivity
- Fulfill organizational mission
- Fulfill legal/regulatory obligations
- Strengthen visitor loyalty
While web analytics is an easier "sell" in eCommerce driven organizations, high level metrics that would drive the analytics business case for non-commerce sites could look like this:
- Costs saved = lower operating expenses = more productivity
- Visitors served = repeat visitors = mission success
- New constituency exposure = new visitors = mission success
- Effective content = greater outreach = higher budget
- Better navigation = easy to find content = more readership = meeting mission= higher budget
After you've made the case, project the required types of resources and estimated cost...whether it be for staff, consultants, additional software and so forth.
Even if your organization doesn't have a formal business case and budgeting process, preparing a sound business rationale can only help your efforts in validating the need for resources and reasons why analytics needs to become part of the mainstream web operations and strategy process.
To find out more about preparing a web analytics business case, refer to your copy of the Web Analytics Report or The Executive's Guide to Web Site Measurement and Testing.
If you want to talk about how your analytics business case is shaping up, shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org