Going back to many years ago, web analytics initially started from log file analysis to support IT and programmers to help them debug issues on the server. This blog post focuses on the work that involves collaboration between analytics and engineers to improve customer experience and outcome.
I have worked with many talented web engineers. It is always nice to be working with a developer who is sharp and with full of interest for digital analytics. These developers work so hard to help us marketing analysts get proper tracking into the site.
Here are some scenarios I would like to highlight where digital analytics will work very closely with engineers and integrate trackings to support marketing drive better web experience for your site visitors. (Note: I only highlighted the things that came up in my mind at the time of this writing, and skipped the technical details.)
On Site Search
It is common to find enterprise companies to invest in on-site search (or internal search) technology. An example is Google Search Appliance. For a complex implementation, usually engineers would work with a person in charge of internal infrastructure (servers)
Digital marketing analyst should get involved in this process, because even if the appliance has some nice data around what people are searching on the site, web analytics application should have standard metrics relating to the search results, and eventually assess behavior data and impact to the outcome (bounces, orders, revenue, and many other interactions generated from on-site search).
Depending on the search results and the outcome, web analytics analyst should work closely with the IT in optimizing the appliance, so relevant search results are given to your site visitors. Potentially what you do in this optimization can impact the outcome as well.
Launching a new site, replaced shopping cart, replaced old products with new, ending a promo, etc. These launches over time may cause legacy URL to not work anymore. For whatever reason, there are chances that your site visitors are landing on error page or page showing that the content is not available. Typically the server will send back a 404 error message. That is why it is usually error pages are referred to as 404 error messages.
The majority of Web Analytics applications have the capabilities to track such visits to error pages. Web Analytics analyst should know what is the % of error page served. Hopefully, you are aiming for 0%. Understand where visitors are coming from to arrive at the error page, and with what URL.
All this information will help your engineer to set up a proper redirect, or even get communication started with marketers to serve and activate relevant content to replace that error.
This is a great article on 7 Ways Of Handling 404 Error Messages. Checkout what some companies have done to address 404 error messages.
Major corporations investing heavily on online/offline campaigns are likely to be setting up redirects to direct site visitors to relevant landing pages. Redirects would most likely be set up by your engineers, and web analytics would be working with the marketing and engineers to set up appropriate campaign tags to assess marketing efforts.
It is not only important to assess the campaigns or redirects, but to understand if there were any impacts when redirects were taken down or if redirects’ usage has changed (re-using old redirects for a new campaign, etc.). Having a transparent communication process in place for managing redirects would be crucial to a success in digital analytics practices.
Other Area of Technical Web Analytics
There are many other web analytics data that will help web engineers understand what Marketing Technology stack the site visitors are on.
It might be a good idea to sit down with engineers before any major releases take place, and review if any upcoming programming or changes in infrastructure could impact site visitors and their website experience.
Sharing Results with the Programmers and IT
Engineers deserve to know the results, too. When marketing analyst creates a report for managers and key business groups, it would be great to share the results with the technical people as well.
I had the privilege to work with smart engineers in the past, and sharp technical folks ask brilliant questions which in many occasions should have come out of marketing managers.
Having a conversation about optimizations and exchanging ideas with technical folks can benefit analytics analyst in many ways. For example, having their resource to tweak on-site search and increase revenue can definitely make our contribution to business shine.
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