Funding your Web Analytics / Measurement / Insights Program
When I started this blog - on a snowy Tuesday in January, I started looking at measurement strategy and how it ties in with corporate strategy. In starting here, we set up how measurement fits in the corporate or organizational context. Once this is done, understanding budgeting is next. Today I will look at how measurement programs get funded, deliver value for money and discuss who often pays for the tools and services related to measurement and analytics.
If any of my readers of The Tuesday Standard have embarked on establishing a measurement or analytics program, including purchasing tools and getting help from an outside agency, you will know these tools and supporting consulting time aren’t cheap.
One of my readers asked me how I managed to secure the budget in a government or not-for-profit organization to run such a program. And primarily the funds for an enterprise analytics solution, a voice of customer tool, etc. I believe we were successful by developing the business case based on a(n):
i. Articulated opportunity cost from missing out on measuring and understanding key conversions, and diagnosing issues that arose over time due to site issues.
ii. Demonstrated the value of deeper insights into the visitor journey for both product management, as well as for senior executives to help them tell their story to their stakeholders
iii. Showing IT the enhanced ability we would have to diagnose problems early - before they impacted key conversions, or worse, overall site performance and usability
iv. Provided examples of how the new insights and KPI’s would help the organization meet its corporate objectives for the year and into the future.
Spending around $150k on an enterprise analytics solution license is not insignificant. In my case, I also worked with an integration specialist (that seems to be the only way Google sells its Premium product), and this has worked out well. Cardinal Path has been a good partner for us and enabled us to: a) make decisions that helped us maximize the measurement of our sites and apps while managing costs, and b) helped us answer complex business questions that required custom code to track given how our development team coded the feature.
A piece of advice is that you make sure you look at your roadmap for the coming year and map potential costs and scheduling conflicts against this for custom analytics development. Whether you have the resources in-house or you are working with a vendor – complex features on a website or in an app can take effort to set-up. Knowing this in advance will remove the element of surprise. If you want this level of measurement - this is the cost. It's an easy conversation to have up front - harder to manage when staring at an invoice or addressing piles of overtime hours.
Next week, I will to address measurement in a multi-platform environment in more detail, but I did want to just mention this from the perspective of effort and budget.
Part of my strategy, as mentioned, was to standardize measurement across all platforms. In our case – we have a website, an m. version of the website, and 4 mobile apps (iOS, iPad, Android and Blackberry). This means that as features are rolled out across the various platforms, making sure each team sticks to the identified analytics for the feature is an effort that should not be overlooked.
Depending on your organization, budgeting for analytics or measurement can be partially spread across IT, Research and Marketing to share in the cost. Consider:
IT – if they have a software budget then the cost of the tools can go here as they are considered an asset
Marketing – anything related to coding or tagging resource (consultant) time, could be covered by a Marketing Analytics budget line as they do often relate to campaign activity, etc.
Research – customer journey mapping, customer satisfaction, feedback, etc. are all elements of product management and primary research which can often be shared across departments or borne by a research specific budget.
I hope you have found this post of value and that it has given you information that will help you rationalize the budget for a suitable measurement program for your organization. If looking at return on investment, make sure everyone understands how opportunity cost, risk mitigation, and stronger, data driven decision making are all considered.
I look forward to your feedback on this and the other posts on The Tuesday Standard so far. Thank you for your interest.