Analytics considerations for website projects

Blog / by Denea Farrar

Too often, we see brands planning major website changes without considering performance marketing implications until it’s too late. Whether tackling a rebrand and site redesign, new site launch, acquisition, replatforming, or domain migration, this blog series will help you consider the right components of digital marketing at the right time to maximize performance and returns from your new website.

In previous installments of this series, we’ve highlighted the importance of collaborating with performance marketing experts on your website projects, including SEO and Paid Media. In this post, we’ll explain the importance of working with an Analytics expert, and the value you can expect when working with them throughout a web project.

Importance of Analytics for your website

So, you’ve been tasked with building a website for your new brand; you need to do an overhaul of your existing site to accommodate a rebranding; or, you’re facing some other web-related project. Are you thinking about every possible marketing channel you might need to lean on in 5 years from now to ensure continued brand growth? Do you know how to set up your site now to collect the data you’ll need later to support implementation of those future channels? Probably not. But, the good news is, this kind of thinking is second nature for an Analytics expert! 

If you consider Analytics right from the start of any website project you undertake, you’ll save untold hours later when you end up needing to adjust your marketing tactics. Not to mention, the reports chock-full of data an Analytics expert can set up for you that you’ll start receiving upon launch of your new website. Such reports can be used to inform sales and marketing decisions now, and 5+ years from now.

What you can expect from an Analytics expert

Applying the standard project timeline for any website project, we’ll walk you through step-by-step what you can expect when working with an Analytics expert, and give you a sense of their value-added as a member of your web team.

Analytics in the Discovery phase

The Discovery phase is when you and your team are asking yourselves the hard questions about what it is your site needs to achieve, and how it’s going to happen. Bringing in an Analytics person at this early stage means they’ll ask you even harder questions—but, those questions will help get you thinking more about everything needed for success. In a nutshell, an Analytics person can help you set up a framework right from the start to support future changes in your business you haven’t yet anticipated

An Analytics expert has the know-how to look at all the moving parts and pull them together in a cohesive way. At this early stage, they’ll be busy pulling as much information as possible about what your goals and objectives are, and collaborating with everyone on the team to ensure all bases are being considered for user experience (UX). It’s important to note; however, the goal of the Analytics person is not to dictate and take over the work, but rather to inform things and serve as the “source of truth” for anything related to the technology needed to track data.

Analytics in the Strategy phase

At this stage, the Analytics person on your team will be thinking about how best to track data from different channels and sources such as web-based forms, channel attribution, and call tracking, and they’ll be coordinating with your web dev team to ensure tracking is considered and incorporated so things don’t have to be essentially reverse-engineered later to collect the data needed. Your Analytics expert will also be starting to set up goals in Google Analytics, or whatever platform you’re using to support data analytics and reporting. Goals may include things like call conversions, purchases, and registrations.

Analytics in the Design & Development phases

Once the “sandbox” for your new site is set up, your Analytics person will mock up what a report for data collection will look like, and work with you to confirm your preferences on things like frequency of reporting and important factors to track. Once that’s determined, they’ll be working with your web dev folks to ensure the code for reporting is in place on your new site. They’ll also provide a measurement plan, tagging structure, and stage as much as possible within your analytics/tag manager account.

Once functionality like buttons and forms are online in the sandbox (i.e., testing area of your site), Analytics will be checking to ensure data is going to the right place, including conducting a QA of technical requests and submit test conversions.

Analytics in the Deployment phase

Once it’s time to launch your new website, your Analytics expert will be feverishly monitoring, QAing, troubleshooting, and testing conversions, including doing an actual purchase test (which can be voided out immediately after) to ensure everything is “firing” correctly and the data is going where it was set up to go. 

You can count on your Analytics person to be checking to ensure the goals set up early on are being met, like: 

  • Form-fills and CTAs working properly
  • Traffic by channel
  • Revenue-generation, if applicable
  • Bounce rate
  • Any broken behavior such as traffic not flowing from expected sources

Analytics after your site launches

In the days immediately following launch, you can expect your Analytics expert will share reporting on traffic and primary conversions to ensure tracking is working as expected. After that initial report—roughly a couple weeks post-launch—you can expect a more detailed report which would likely include trended data of traffic, conversions, and goals. Around the one-month mark, you can expect reporting with a more in-depth look at factors such as behaviors and attribution.

In addition to reporting, your Analytics person will be doing lots of QAing and making recommendations, as needed for the first month to help keep traffic at the desired levels. The SEO and Paid Media experts on your team will also be consulting with Analytics to ensure the strategies they implemented prior to launch are working. 

By now, we hope you’ve got a good understanding of the importance of adding an SEO expert, a Paid Media expert, and an Analytics expert to your team for any website project you’re undertaking. In the next and final installment of this series, we’ll cover some of the nuances in performance marketing considerations, depending on the type of web project you’re undertaking.

About the author: Denea Farrar is an Analytics consultant at Apiary Digital®. She has 13 years of experience and has supported major brands, including Safeway, Xerox, and Nike.