How do you present your Analytics?

November 15, 2010

As I recently quipped on Facebook, I love Google Analytics. I love playing with and analyzing the vast array of data that it provides (after all, how else would we know that the number of visits via dialup has increased over the past year?). But I dislike preparing the report that goes to staff.

First, there’s the data that I find interesting and useful as online communications specialist. Then there’s data that my teammates, as communications professionals, find interesting and useful. And then the statistics that program staff find interesting and useful. As well as the broad trends and figures that senior leadership and the board want to see.

Not all of these are the same facts and figures. Executive Transitions likes to know how many page hits a new job posting has received, while our communications assistant looks at spikes in traffic corresponding with the promotional efforts she’s made for our training series. My boss and I are concerned with bounce rates, increase in traffic, and visitor engagement.

Sometimes there aren’t any noticeable trends or fluctuations since the previous report.

So, then, how best to present enough information to answer most questions, but not overload everyone with more information than they care to ever know?

We are still working out the right mix. Right now I try to present a broad overview of top-level data (top pages, top entry pages, and number of visitors and pageviews), pointing out any new trends or unusual fluctuations in context, then an overview of program areas and any new user behaviors with an accompanying hypothesis.

More details, like e-newsletter performance, search engine optimization updates, and deeper analysis and context follow on more detailed pages.

But it’s still difficult, and I haven’t found the right balance yet. I find it easier to write up a quick paragraph of “we’re doing well, except for in these areas, and this is how we’re working on that” and to verbally respond to one-off questions from staff than to create a comprehensive report that’s engaging across departments.

How do you approach your web analytic reports?

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