Key Factor in Successful Website Analysis

Key Factor in Successful Website Analysis:  Accurate Data

In today’s world of internet marketing, there is a great deal of easy-to-access and valuable data available.  However, with all this readily accessible data, there comes a new factor to consider before conducting analysis to inform marketing decisions:  how accurate is your data?  Answering this question is not easy, given the numerous sources and types of quantitative metrics out there, including social media data, CTR, search volume, traffic numbers, keyword statistics, and more.  We’ve outlined some best practices that can help guide you towards successful website analysis.

Tips for Ensuring Accuracy of Website Data and Results

  1. Get to know your data.  One of the most effective ways to ensure your data is accurate is to become as familiar as possible with it. With a solid understanding of your data, you should be able to pinpoint anything that doesn’t fit your educated expectations, which often indicates a data accuracy issue.  For example, one of our clients noticed that in one 24-hour period they had a sudden dip in traffic from Southern California while all their other traffic remained consistent.  This helped to direct them towards an offline data center for one of their mobile application providers.  By getting to know your data you can keep your finger on the pulse of your website.
  2. Confirm data using more than one source whenever possible.  For example, while depending upon Google Analytics for your core data it might be helpful from time to time to study your website traffic from the log files or through the lens of another reporting technology.  Sometimes things can get lost when you always look at your data through one perspective so analyzing your data from another source can be extremely beneficial.  For example, we found that Bing was being unreported through our favorite analytics package.  This became problematic when trying to compare data being reported from Bing.  A quick dive into the log files quickly showed the accuracy of the Bing data.
  3. Keep the data and analysis processes separate. Regretfully, it is not uncommon for anyone to want to use data to support a certain predefined assertion so it is important to try to keep your data analysis as separate as possible from the actual data analysis.  We have some clients that have one team member collect data and then another analyzes the data gathered.  This  can help to keep a fresh perspective on the information being collected.
  4. Analyze the data to begin drawing conclusions, but start small with univariate analysis. Univariate analysis focuses on one portion of data at a time, which makes it a good starting point.  During this initial analysis, if anything doesn’t seem to make sense, you should consider whether there is an issue with your data.  For instance, if you are looking at keyword performance, you should expect that in general, higher rankings should lead to higher CTR.  Another client noticed that their website was reporting no conversions although they knew there had been sales.  A quick review of the data revealed they had mistakenly added an incorrect URL into Google Analytics conversion tracking.    After analyzing one variable you can then expand your review into much more complicated data analysis.
  5. Always document your work.  This can be included in code documentation or in any way that works for you.  The documentation should act as a reminder of your process and thinking, both for you at a later date and for others who may be taking part in the analysis now or later.
  6. Incorporate peer review into your process.  Seek input from your team, experts, and colleagues. There are a lot of great ideas and ever-evolving processes in this area.  Take advantage of this wealth of information in order to keep improving and expanding the effectiveness of your data analysis.

Data analysis plays an essential role in refining online marketing strategies and maximizing results. These tips should help ensure that your data is accurate, and so are your results.

One of the most important variables in website analysis is creating key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help you develop a fingerprint of what success looks like for your online business.  For in-depth information on how Zephoria tackles the issue of data accuracy and analysis in general as well as how we can help you create key performance indicators or KPIs for your website, please contact us.