Posted by KeithMacDonald
February 15, 2012
In a previous blog post I took a look at the two most common uses of digital analytics: product and marketing optimization. These two are probably most accessible to business since they’re easy to tie back to “dollars in the door”.
Improvement in product performance means more revenue (or more cost savings, in the case of information-based products like customer self-service and FAQs), and more revenue means that digital analytics directly positively impacts the bottom line. Improvement in marketing performance equally demonstrates a direct link between digital analytics and positive impact on the bottom line (higher marketing return on investment, lower cost per acquisition, etc.)
If that’s all you’re doing with digital analytics however, you’re missing out on a wealth of opportunity to improve overall user experience. I accuse user experience optimization of being the most overlooked since it’s tricky to demonstrate a direct link between happier customers and positive impact on the bottom line (although the folks at ForeSee Results, iPerceptions, CrowdScience and other qualitative measurement developers present a compelling argument).
A key missed opportunity for applying digital analytics is building a business case for change to digital properties. All too often companies forge ahead with big plans (e.g. a complete website redesign), often supported by large budgets, without using analytics to assess the value of what they’ve already got and focus their development dollars.
The result can be disastrous: alienating more than half of a core audience, slashing revenues and creating a situation from which the company may never truly recover.
FastCompany Design posted a great assessment of how Google used qualitative research to plan an overhaul of their Android mobile platform and focus development goals (avoiding “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”). Qualitative research becomes especially powerful when combined with quantitative research: the “why” fills out the picture of the “what” and “how much” or “how often”.
In order to measure user experience with digital analytics, there are a number of areas of focus that, when combined together, begin to paint a picture of how happy users are with their experience:
These are just a few indicators, all measurable with traditional web analytics tools, that can highlight key touch points which have a big impact on user experience.
Most businesses with digital presence have figured out the need for web analytics and have a handle on the basics of product and marketing measurement. Some have started optimization programs, but few have gotten as far as user experience measurement. If you’re looking to improve return on your digital analytics investment, user experience measurement is a great place to start.
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