Killer Analytics: Focus on Goals and Audience

This is the second part of a series about website analytics. Part one focused on the 4 phases of the website analytics process.

The first, and the most crucial, step to analyzing a website’s performance is goal-setting for your website’s main pages. Start by narrowing your audiences and goals - it can be time consuming at first, but this process eases identifying the content and future analysis of the page.

Questions to take into consideration include: Who is your audience and how is your page content meeting their needs? How does your page goal relate to your unit’s mission/vision and what you want the user to do?

Audience considerations

The following steps can help you think about what your audience needs:

  • separate your audience into primary and secondary groups
  • avoid  random and catchall phrases - be specific, make it easier to create your content.
  • identify your user’s goal(s) for the page - does the user’s goal(s) differ from yours?
  • understand your user’s device preference -  Is your audience more likely to be on a desktop, tablet, or mobile phone?
  • identify the user's typical attention span: How much time do you have to grab their attention before they click on the next page or site?

Goals considerations

Ideally, you want to name a goal that you can measure and report on, that is related to your unit’s mission and vision, and that will help improve the usefulness of your site. Consider using the 5 W’s as a guide,

  • Who - Who is the page trying to reach?
  • What - What metric do you want to see?
  • Where - Where should the user go next on your website?
  • When - When should your audience come to the page in their journey?
  • Why - Why do you want your audience to go to this page?

Example: To increase our applicant pool (why), after going to the homepage (when), I want 50% (what) of prospective students (who) to explore the application process by clicking on the request more information button (where).

Other Considerations

Past website performance and comparable benchmarks can provide a comparison point.

  • Do you have any metrics for how your pages are currently performing?
  • Are there other sites, either within your college, unit or campus, that you can compare?
  • What are the industry benchmarks for sites similar to yours?

Now that you have identified your audience needs and your site goals, watch for our next Killer Analytics post with details about creating a tracking plan.