Lack of Data

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Lack of Data

The site's been tagged for all possible analytics tracking. Overall the site appears to be a success with high traffic volumes. As an analyst you're asked to pull reports, look at ...

The site’s been tagged for all possible analytics tracking. Overall the site appears to be a success with high traffic volumes. As an analyst you’re asked to pull reports, look at the trends, and answer one all-important question: why?

Why is the traffic as high as it is? Why are some sections getting more traffic than others? Why did traffic on that one page spike so high last week?

Now if there are no external campaigns being pushed and all the traffic to the site is organic, the answer to these questions lies somewhere within the data. You just have to look for it. For example perhaps the top referring domain for that page with the traffic spike happens to be – aha! Someone posted a link on twitter and that drove some traffic. A quick look at the numbers should tell you what % the Twitter traffic was compared to overall traffic to the page. If it’s 25% or more you can bet that twitter post had something to do with the spike.

Now however let’s say your client is engaging in external campaigns. However you have run into a number of problems along this front:

  1. The client fails to share with you their media plan, and therefore you have no idea what campaigns are coming down the pike.
  2. When the client does ask for the impact of a campaign the proper tracking may not have been implemented and therefore you just don’t have the data to back up any assertions.

The only thing that you can do at this point is try and get tracking implemented for future reports (although once you miss the window of opportunity when a campaign first launches, you may never regain it and really understand the full impact the campaign had on traffic).

The other thing you must do is impress upon your client how critical it is that you are made aware of the media plan ahead of the launch so you have the context to do insightful analysis, and so you can work with the campaign team to make sure all the proper tracking is set up in the campaign before the launch.

If the client fails to realize the importance of this collaboration, make sure you spell out in your reports exactly why you cannot clearly answer “why” to many of the questions surrounding the data because, to put it simply …. you lack the relevant data.

Gabriele has been doing "Web Stuff" since the mid-1990s, and Web Analytics since 2005. She began with Omniture SiteCatalyst (now known as Adobe Analytics) and is now also well versed in Google Analytics. She has been building a team of professional analysts who have expertise in all the major analytics platforms, including Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics, IBM Coremetrics and WebTrends.