Designing your Analytics Strategy

When setting up your website/app or whatever great stuff you are working on, applying analytics is often done at the end and without too much concern. However it pays off spending some time before you implement your tagging solution to design what is best for you.

Create a document that dictates URL structure

Any website worth visiting has a structure behind it. The good ones normally follow a clear structure and hierarchy. In order to build a structured site all parties need to follow the same URL structure. Make sure there is one, because it will make the analytics job much easier.

Enable local markets you may have

Ensure you are able to get reporting by all the markets you have. You need to ensure you have the proper reporting in the analytics interface. Also ensure that you are passing on any market specific parameter that your analytics tool can report on, such as a URL component.

Make sure you get total reporting right

As well as you want local market reporting, you will surely also want the roll-up full view. You should set the reporting up so you are able to have a holistic view of all local sites. I.e. all dimensions/entities rolled up into one. For example, if you have two markets separated by a folder structure:
1,000 visits 2,000 visits
In the rolled up view you will want to see the combined:
3,000 visits

Custom events, custom variables

Whenever you have custom events or custom variables, that's fine. That are occasions when you need them. However you need to make sure that they too follow your local and rolled up reporting. Spend some extra time in defining the naming conventions for each of the component in a custom variable or a custom event. You want to make sure that when this starts to get used, the standard is a good one from the beginning.  

Naming conventions

Once you start working with your new analytics account you are going to need to have naming conventions and standards. Make sure to set these for profiles, custom reports, segment names and dashboards. A general rule is to name the component after what it contains or does.

Naming conventions for external campaigns

If you want to drive traffic to your site, make sure to set up an own structure for how to do this. Define how to use each of the parameters. A rough example below:  

Align eCommerce with the rest of your analytics strategy

When designing your analytics strategy eCommerce can dictate a lot of it because of various factors, such as: Make sure the eCommerce reporting falls in line with the rest of your reporting, for instance reporting into your local profiles and reporting in categories. This will facilitate your analysis as you want all data collected to follow the same analytics strategy.   Most of all, before you finish the setup, make sure to document all of the above and more. You will thank yourself and me in due time. :)