How to Develop a Website Measurement Plan

*Updated 12/20/23

Are your digital efforts accomplishing everything you intend for your business and brand? If you are not sure, it is probably time for a measurement plan for your website and supporting digital solutions. This article highlights an introduction to a strategic website measurement plan as well as a five-step process to help get it right. 

 Business analytics discussion with digital graphs and data icons overlaying an office scene.

What is a Website Measurement Plan? 

A measurement plan is a thorough assessment and strategy within digital solutions that establish the specific ways business goals will be measured. It begins with a top-line business objective that gets broken down into measurable goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), metrics, and ways to analyze those metrics to inform impactful business strategy.

Why Does This Matter?

According to an annual survey of chief marketing officers, companies spend around 12% of their overall budget, every year, on marketing. Certainly, all of those companies will eventually ask, “Were our marketing dollars spent wisely?”

Clear website business objectives should run parallel to, and be recognized as core contributors toward, overall business objectives. Lessons learned from a strategic website measurement plan should intelligently inform future marketing efforts and priorities, both online and offline.

For business websites, excellent data analysis improves search engine optimization (SEO), content, paid traffic, email, conversions, and every other aspect of digital marketing performance. User and conversion trends should help prioritize new website content development. Smart, user-centered content development and thought leadership build SEO success.

Digging into the Data

Website measurement plan data graph

Measurement Strategy Tools for Analyzing Website Traffic

Utilize Google Analytics 4 and any other website analytics measurement resources available to your business to help decide what you need to measure. If we want to mine datasets to discover insights that fuel business performance, we need to identify the key data and implement the right tracking to capture it.

Looker Studio is a free tool from Google that can help uncover specifics about who is doing what on your website and why. You may want to run a leak-finder report within Looker Studio to show the top pages of your site where users are dropping out.

Tableau is a business intelligence platform that effectively aggregates data sources and help brands to isolate KPIs and visualize real-time performance and trends. Data sources can range from locally stored (Excel, .txt, PDFs, JSON), network databases (MySQL, Oracle), or cloud stored data (Salesforce, Azure, Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift).

Microsoft Power BI is another sophisticated business intelligence platform that is used by many leading brands to aggregate and visualize impactful data that can consistently inform intelligent strategy.

Persona Development and Segmentation

Personas are not a marketing fad. Understanding the people with whom business is done has been a fundamental practice of every successful business from the beginning of time.

Marketing personas are fictional representations of your brand’s ideal customers and significant relationships that are based on research and data. They serve as a leading asset for aligning marketing strategies with business objectives. Trends for engagement and conversion with personas that are most important to business revenue, or provide the greatest opportunity for business growth, may be different from overall trends. That is why segmenting data that is specific to business personas is so critically important.

Personas provide businesses an opportunity to sharpen their focus on their specific audiences. As personas are considered for your business, identify the primary ways that reach, engagement, and conversions occur. For each, what should be measured?

Analyzing website audiences and demographics:

  • Website traffic
  • Social media likes, comments, and shares
  • Video views
  • Contact form completions
  • Event registrations
  • Subscriptions (newsletter)
  • Content information submissions for gated content
  • Transactions
  • Revenue

Five Step Website Measurement Plan

5 Step Website Measurement Plan

1. Why do you have a website?
Unwavering confidence in the answer to this fundamental question is a great place to start. Identify what is important. Once that is clearly determined, you are on your way toward a successful website measurement plan.

Examples of “why do you have a website?” answers:

  • Sell Products Online
  • Create a Relationship with Customers
  • Provide a Platform for Software or Services
  • Sell Placements for Ad Revenue

2. Create goals
Goals drive the achievement of clearly established business objectives. Do you want to increase brand awareness within new demographics? Do you want to increase new users to the website by 20% next quarter? Do you want to increase ecommerce revenue by 10% next holiday season?

Goals should be all of three things:  1. actionable, 2. measurable, and 3. understandable.

3. Select KPIs
Your KPIs should be digital outcomes that help you gauge the success of your goals. Pick KPIs that unquestionably influence the performance of your business.

Examples:

Goal: Increase lead volume via online form completions

  • KPI – form abandonment rate
  • KPI – cost per lead

Goal: Drive online revenue via paid subscriptions

  • KPI – % of new users
  • KPI – Application Starts

4. Set benchmarks
Benchmarks (or targets) are a numeric value that enable measurement of goal success. Use historical data to choose initial benchmarks.

Goal:  Increase lead volume via online form completions

  • KPI – form abandonment rate (benchmark – 10% form abandonment)
  • KPI – cost per lead (benchmark – 5% cost per lead)

Goal:  Drive online revenue via paid subscriptions

  • KPI – % of new users (10% new subscribers)
  • KPI – application starts (15% application starts)

5. Create segments
Define segments that help you uncover additional insights and causation.

Goal:  Increase lead volume via online form completions 

  • Segment – acquisition channel (paid, organic, direct, email)

Goal: Drive online revenue via paid subscriptions 

  • Segment – device categories (desktop, mobile, and tablet)

Make Adjustments from Analysis 

Now it is time to maximize your measurement strategy to make informed data-driven decisions that will propel your business forward.

Is measurement strategy an area where you and your business could use some help? 

  • Analytics Technical Audit
  • Google Analytics Set Up
  • Tag Management Set Up
  • Measurement Strategies
  • Dashboards
  • Third-Party Service Tracking and Reporting

Ongoing Analytics Reporting and Analysis

When a heathy business identifies opportunities to work smarter, the next step is to make that a consistent practice. A solid measurement strategy includes a clearly defined cadence for ongoing reporting and analysis.

Developing a Reporting Schedule

There are four essential considerations to be made within a reporting schedule. They are audience, message, mode, and timing. Who needs what report when, and how will they receive it?

There may be a designated cadence as frequent as daily or weekly for dashboards or reports specific to individual work groups. Optimally, there is a quarterly to annual review of all business analytics across a coordinated, multidiscipline leadership group. 

Creating Effective Reports for Actionable Insights

Assessing the reports should a consistent practice within an ongoing measurement strategy for your business. Are the visualizations of available data representing the most critical KPIs? Are trends clear and actionable? Are teams using the reports to execute confident strategies and campaigns to grow business success?

If the answers to the questions above are not a resounding “yes,” the it may be time to take another look at ever-evolving business intelligence tools.

A/B Testing and Experimentation

Many data professionals consider A/B testing, or split testing, the most important data practice for businesses. Well executed A/B testing within digital solutions provides clear visitor preferences. Smart brands frequently deploy A/B testing to ensure they are optimizing content and solutions for successful user experiences.  

Measurement Strategies for A/B Testing Methods

A common way to A/B test is to split email campaign recipients in half and direct each group to separate landing pages. It is best to measure just one variable at a time. You may want to test the call-to-action language, or button color, on the landing pages. Don’t try to measure both of those variables at the same time. Concrete results are returned when there is a singular variable.

Pay-per-click ads offer another popular way for businesses to A/B test. Two versions of an offer or promotion can be placed within the same ad platform over the same time period and produce very dependable performance data.

Most of the leading digital experience platforms (DXPs) that are used to edit business website content also offer the opportunity to serve two versions of a webpage. On your website’s most important and high-traffic pages, conversion performance for a specific subscription button or call-to-action can be quickly tested using this DXP feature.

Tips for setting up your own A/B tests:

  • Define clear objectives
  • Test one thing at a time
  • Prioritize what to test

There are, indeed, data strategists that conduct multivariate testing as well. Achieving statistical significance, however, within multivariate testing requires more time, traffic, and sophistication compared to simple A/B testing.

Stop the guessing game and ensure concrete metrics drive decisions for your brand’s digital presence.

Data Privacy, Security and Regulatory Compliance

Many brand-loyal customers appreciate, even expect, personalized content and offers within a business’s digital channels that are relevant to their specific interests. There are, however, now more laws and regulations specific to consumer data than ever before. In 2016, the European Union prominently adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Since then, many other governments have defined expectations that are intended to protect their citizens’ privacy. In the US, states like California (CCPR), Virginia, and Colorado were among the first to pass laws specific to consumer data. Many other states have now done the same.

Privacy laws and regulations continue to evolve worldwide at an escalated pace. The experience of a global digital agency like Americaneagle.com can provide businesses the confidence that appropriate privacy considerations and practices are consistently prioritized.

Measurement Strategy FAQs

When brands consider measurement strategies, the following are some of their frequently asked questions.

How is Website Traffic Measured?

In today’s digital-first economy, measuring the effectiveness of a business website is critically important. The following metrics are some commonly-tracked examples. 

  • Session (or visit) is a unit of measurement that represents an individual user interacting with a website for a period of time. By default, a Google Analytics session times out after 30 minutes of inactivity and there is no limit to how long a session can last.
  • User (new/returning) is a unit of measurement that represents each individual that interacts with a website.
  • Pageview is a unit of measurement that represents each instance of a webpage being displayed within a browser.
  • Acquisition source: is a unit of measurement that represents the source that leads visitors to a website. Common acquisition sources include direct, organic search, social, email, referral, and paid search.
  • Conversion is a unit of measurement that represents successful completions of pre-defined goals.

Why is a Measurement Strategy Important?

Measurement Strategy provides a systematic approach for healthy businesses to collect and analyze data. Successful brands rely on their measurement strategy to help them make informed decisions, optimize performance, and calculate return on investment (ROI) for marketing efforts.

How Do I Choose the Right KPIs and Goals for Measurement Strategy?

KPIs should be closely aligned with your business goals, be measurable, and provide insights into performance. Select KPIs that can directly influence decision-making and reflect success towards your objectives.

How Do I Measure Online Marketing Strategy Effectiveness?

There are many variables to calculating return on investment (ROI) of marketing measurement plan. In general, ROI calculation will align with contributing elements used for other marketing efforts. There should be recognition of customer journey funnel stages within each success measurement.

Customer journey funnel stages:

  • Top: Growing reach, users, pageviews.
  • Middle: Growing engagement, leads, conversions.
  • Bottom: Growing loyalty, purchase volume, lifetime customer value.
Illustration of a customer journey funnel stages diagram by americaneagle.com, showing reach, engagement, and loyalty.

 

What's Next? 

The data and analytics professionals at Americaneagle.com have helped some of the world’s most recognized brands to successfully set up, or reimagine, a website measurement plan. We are here for you too! Our analytics consulting services team has extensive experience working with clients to identify and set up the right measurement strategies to support business success. Contact us today to speak with a data and analytics expert. 


About Author

Rex Paisley Americaneagle.com Blog Author
Rex Paisley is a Senior Marketing Specialist with Americaneagle.com. With contributions consistently centered around website and digital marketing solutions, he is a career creative professional who has authored, designed, and developed marketing assets across a wide range of industries. A competitive spirit, he enjoys unpacking the success factors behind the many business wins with clients of Americaneagle.com.


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