Diminishing Marginal Benefit Of Web Analytics Reporting

Heretofore is my Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility Of Web Analytics Reporting: The larger the distribution list of your web analytics report, the less valuable that report is to any individual.

dimishing marginal value of report distribution

Wherever there is web analytics there are big, watered-down reports being generated and sent to lots of people every monday – it doesn’t have to be this way. Sending out reports to the entire company starts with the best intentions. Everyone wants to know what is going on with the website. Requests are made to include a little bit of everything for everyone: overview of total traffic and conversion rate, ROAS for the marketing team, best selling products for merchandising, cart conversion funnel for the UX team, social likes and tweet counts for the brand team, site response times for web development, customer service stats, and the list goes on. Pretty soon it’s a report that takes hours to create and when it arrives Monday morning it is swiftly ignored by everyone in the company.

One of the basic productivity concepts of David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, is to spread your actions over all the contexts you are acting in. Your daily actions happen in some very clearly separated areas, called contexts: @Home, @Work, @Computer @Store, for example. It doesn’t do you any good to remember to buy toilet paper when you’re at work. So on your to-do list you can tag your action to buy toilet paper with @store, and when you are in that specific context you only need to focus on those applicable actions. The same concept can be applied to web analytics reporting.

The right data needs to be available at the right time to the right person. If any of those three don’t match up, the report is just noise.

venn diagram right data to right person

  1. Only data that is actionable on behalf of the person consuming it is needed. Consider only consuming information that applies to your circle of influence. The point of web analytics data is to incite change. If you do not have access to levers then what good does the data do you if you can’t pull them? Maybe someday you will have access to the levers and the data will wait happily for you until then.
  2. Monday is an arbitrary day to look at your reports unless you only make decisions on what to do next on Mondays. Your job probably requires looking at the data that matters to you at different times, all the time.
  3. The right data is discovered when you have the right person in the room and you’re able to discuss what business objectives they have that can be mapped to trackable site behaviors and what levers they are in charge of.

Looking at the criteria of A, B and C, a weekly mega-report is pointless. Full of nothing helpful to anyone. instead, individualized reports tailored to the user, available and accessible when the user needs them, is the only rational approach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *