The Digital Analytics Program (DAP) recently partnered with Digital.gov to help set up an analytics strategy to monitor their website and overall platform performance. DAP provided a start-to-finish approach for assessing, reporting, and taking action using this strategy in a 3-part series:
- Part 1: Assessment
- Part 2: Reporting & Analysis
- Part 3: Taking Action
This review provides some highlighted steps from the series, which you can follow to build an analytics strategy and immediately extract value in your government analytics reporting role.
Of note, we used both the DAP web analytics tool and a web analytics account that is independently-managed by Digital.gov as part of this series. If you don’t have DAP or an independently-managed analytics account, this series might help support a business case for building these tools out further as part of your broader analytics toolkit.
Part 1: Assessment
We connected the dots between an organization’s website strategy and how this cascades through the reporting experience. We illustrated how your strategy serves as the linchpin and foundation of website reporting. If you don’t do the hard, up-front work of defining your strategy, you’ll never be able to set up goals and glean insights from your data.
Key Steps and Highlights
- Define your analytics strategy—mission, goals and KPIs—before you pull reports. There should be a logical connection between each of these items to keep you focused on your mission.
- Assess the different data sources and tracking methods at your disposal for reporting. Understanding whether you have a DAP account, an independently-managed account, both account types, or other metric tools implemented is key in figuring out next steps in tracking the metrics that matter most, and how you’ll be able to define your KPIs.
- Test each metric with a real world example to make sure the metrics support each of your goals. You can track a lot of numbers, but the numbers need to show how you are achieving a goal which aligns to your mission, or they might be secondary metrics. Use this test to inspire your thought process about why your site exists, and how you want and need to define success.
Part 2: Reporting and Analysis
In the second part, we demonstrated how to pull reporting using Digital.gov data in both the DAP account and their independently-managed account. You must know your website mission, goals and KPIs, and know how to find the data to assess the performance of your KPIs in both DAP or an independently managed account.
Key Steps & Highlights
- Examine the differences between DAP and your independently-managed web analytics account. For example, you have the ability to analyze and configure goals in your independently-managed account.
- Assess your metrics toolset. Beyond website data, you might have tools that help you track certain goals better or have more connection to your end goals. Understanding the varied tools at your disposal is key in learning where you might need to pull your data. We assed some of Digital.gov’s current toolset as a starting point.
- Set up reports to calculate conversion rates using both DAP and Digital.gov’s free account. You must know your goals and the specific KPIs that help you understand how your goal performs, to make sense of your data.
- Know the challenges and opportunities of configuring a tag manager. Configuring a tag manager takes time and often requires post-setup testing. You should document and understand what you are tracking and where you might need to improve tracking as your start to configure a tag manager.
- Create and test goals in your accounts. You will want to keep track of goals and monitor any notable shifts in your account.
Part 3: Taking Action
We addressed how to take action using the data and insights from Part 2 of this series. We used our real world example from Digital.gov and continued to illustrate how to begin thinking about taking action, using your insights from the data.
Key Steps & Highlights
- Consider the 4-step framework for taking action on your metrics. This framework provides a quick guide on the process for establishing and taking action on your metrics. Here is a quick example of how we followed this framework to help Digital.gov.
- Use the data to unlock what might be driving conversation rates. For example, Digital.gov looked at the sites driving people to join their communities.
- Have a conversation about interesting findings or gaps in your reporting. We ended with a fireside chat with the Digital.gov team to talk about their experience and takeaways from this engagement. You should keep this dialogue going to identify future improvements in your analytics strategy.
This webinar series provided the foundation for how you need to view your website strategy, how this strategy impacts your reporting and toolset implementation, and how you need to start thinking about using data to identify insights as your next step - to ultimately shift from reporting on page views, to gathering impactful and insightful KPIs that empower you to make strategic decisions about your site and communications strategies.