Get the Most Out of Your Web Analytics

26 Apr

I spent the whole morning with an account executive analyzing week-over-week analytics for an ongoing project and it got me thinking about why reviewing analytics is such a boon for the health of a project. There are literally dozens of ways that analytics impacts how a team looks at a project, but reviewing them together engages the team as a whole in its success. Here are my top 5 tips to get the most out of your analytics.

Analytics image

1. Learn From Your Design
Obviously this is the whole point of analytics. They should not be used to merely tell a client how many people came to their site and what they clicked on. The whole point is to understand the users behavioral goals so you can go back and revise the site to make it easier to use and more clear. I start by looking at the task flows I identified at the beginning of the project and then extrapolate their success rate. This gives a great sense of continuity to a project and shows a client how all the pieces really tie together.

2. Understand Team Goals
Reviewing analytics as a team and sharing them with clients helps me see what everyone wants out of the project. At the beginning of a new project, everyone sits down and says, “I want to build awareness about our new product,” or “I want to have a high conversion rate for our offer.” However, once the site is living out in the wild and feedback starts coming in, priorities change. This is a good time to see what teams are getting excited about. What features they think should be updated and why. It’s also a nice place to re-orient the team again to focus on the needs of the users because you have data to prove their behavior.

3. Prioritize
As I mentioned, once a site is out in the wild, things change. This is a great place to stop and re-prioritize anything that isn’t 100% set in stone. With your new analytics data in hand, now you and the client can make some educated decisions instead of the assumptions you made during the design process.

4. Make the Client Think Your Smart (and sell them more services)
I know it’s silly, but reviewing analytics with a client makes them think your smart. When you have every detail from click-paths to heat-maps to draw from, it’s kinda magic. Imagine if Mercedes Benz came to you six months after you bought a car and said, “we’ve noticed you had some trouble parallel parking, we can install a parking assistant computer to take care of that for you.” It’s a great experience and shows that you are not just throwing their site over the fence, never to be seen again. There is also the added benefit that additional opportunities surface that can create an ongoing relationship with the client.

Heat Map

5. Become a Strategic Thinker
I fundamentally believe that one cannot become a good designer without doing research about the product they are designing for. If you do not look at analytics after a site has launched, then you are not a strategic thinker. Instead you are a designer who merely adheres to flimsy best practices and intuition without understanding the consequences of their design decisions.


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One Response to “Get the Most Out of Your Web Analytics”

  1. Jey Pandian April 26, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    Well written and said Peter. A UX/UI Designer immersed in analytics data will trump one who isn’t on any given day.

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