Measurement & Reiterative Testing
Once you have Identified Site Bottlenecks and completed an in-depth analysis of the Solution Delivery, we are in a position to begin collecting data to see how the solutions are impacting the site and, consequently, meeting business performance goals. Follow the following guide to get a better understanding of all the steps needed to effectively collect, analyze and act on all the data you have.
There is a tendency for people to believe that “if the website looks better, then, of course, it must be better”, which is a fallacy that is not based on quantitative evidence. Site changes’ effectiveness must be measured in the ultimate goal: driving the organizations’ KPIs which can only be seen by digging very deeply into the data. Additionally, when it comes to understanding whether more changes need to be made, the data points collected from the site will be a very strong indicator of whether a change yielded positive or negative results.
There are a number of different ways to extract data points for analysis. The simplest and most universal, interface for data is Google Analytics. It has the most comprehensive breakdown of data that is collected and provides several graphs, charts, and visuals that make it very easy to understand the dataset provided. Many website-building companies, such as GoDaddy or WordPress, have their own simple data analytics portals. The caveat is that these data analytics tools are very simple and do not have the versatility that Google Analytics carries. Additionally, the intuition holds that an optimized website for Google should utilize Google Analytics.
ACHIEVING STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE
Statistical significance is an important concept to fully grasp before analyzing data from changes in your website. According to Investopedia,
“statistical significance refers to the claim that a result from data generated by testing or experimentation is not likely to occur randomly or by chance but is instead likely to be attributable to a specific cause.”
Essentially, a website change is statistically significant if the positive/negative change in the KPI is attributed strongly towards the changes that you made versus random chance or uncontrollable events. For example, a statistically insignificant scenario would be where a webpage that highlights new innovations in genome editing sees a drastic increase in page visits just as there is a very public death caused by a genome editing procedure. In this scenario, any positive or negative outcome caused by the changes in the website are muddied by the overwhelming influx of viewers coming in caused by an external variable.
There are 2 ways to ensure that the results you find are statistically significant. The first way, as mentioned in the Step 2: Solution Delivery article is to work with other internal business units to ensure there are not any other major marketing/sales plans timed to be during the same time as your website updates. The second way is to be critically cognizant of real-world news from around your key target markets. If you, for the prior example, read in the news that a genome-editing procedure is happening for the first time, it may not be a good time to roll out website updates.
Let us look a little deeper into what data points are important to measure successful and statistically significant results for website changes. For our analytical purposes, we will only be looking at the Audience Tab of Google Analytics.
A. Overview Tab
The Overview Tab highlights all the data associated with the people that are interacting with your webpage. I think it is important to set the time frames (top right corner) to a comparison of time frames (after website changes vs. before website changes). On this page, you will find the following pieces of information:
B. Demographics Tab
There are 3 key breakdowns that are great insights for marketing teams, but not a lot of information on data that supports website performance. The Demographics tab highlights the age ranges and genders that are engaging with your site.
C. Interests Tab
Similar to the Demographics tab, the Interests tab is more insightful for marketing teams, as it highlights the type of people and their interests that are engaging with the site. For example, Google creates “affinity groups”, such as “Shopper/Value Shoppers”, based on their analysis of a user’s data. In terms of web performance, this may be interesting to look into, as this might provide a better understanding of how to develop the aesthetic and graphics to engage with the correct segments.
D. Geo Tab
Similar to the last 2 tabs, the Geo tab has more data on users, more specifically what language they have as their default, and where your users are searching from across the world. In my opinion, the Geo tab is more relevant than the Demographic & Interest tabs because language and location are key to understanding how to optimize. For example, if a website is written entirely in English, but a strong majority of readers have their default language set as Arabic, then there is a critical need to adapt the language, and thus the format, of the website. Additionally, if there is a significant part of the website’s traffic coming from audiences abroad, like India, then more research needs to be done to ensure that the website is optimized for their networks.
E. Behavior Tab
This tab measures various metrics comparing new users versus returning users. These data points in this tab may be important when considering who is the specific market segment that is engaging with the website. For example, if you own a website where returning customers are key (i.e. eCommerce platform for clothing), and the data shows that there are more “single-session” users than “multiple session” users, then changes must be made. Similarly, this tab also gives insight into the average session duration in more detail, breaking it down into segments. Thus, if you have measured that to read the entire website takes approx. 10 minutes and the average session time is skewed closer to the “less than 30 seconds” categories, then it is clear that your users are not sticking around to maximize your content they consume.
F. Technology Tab
This tab is very important for website developers, as it gives insight into the various applications that users are using to access your site. This tab is especially important for website developers that are not using a 3rd party website maker, such as WordPress or Squarespace, as these platforms tend to have some form of basic mobile site adaptive process. It is key that someone with extensive experience designing and creating sites that are adaptive and dynamic to both desktop and mobile platforms is analyzing this data.
Google Analytics provides an endless supply of data points, and every website, based on the problems they identified and the solutions that have been rolled out, only requires certain data points to understand the changes in website effectiveness.
With a better understanding of statistical significance and data collection methods, website developers can connect with industry experts if more support is needed. Our team here at SOMAmetrics is deeply engaging with clients that are looking for better and more effective website performance, and we are proud to provide that with the highest level of customer satisfaction.