There is an exciting change happening in the world of web design and it’s impacting the relationships people have with their websites. Clients no longer think about their websites as an online space to “design and dump” information. It used to be the case that organizations would launch a website and leave it unchanged until the next time they completely rebuilt their site. This meant that the website stagnated and their designers ignored any opportunity to improve. Instead, people are now recognizing the iterative nature of websites and planning them as a foundational tool for optimizing audience engagement.
At Agentic, we love this way of thinking. Taking an iterative approach to web design allows for constant improvement and a more responsive relationship with audiences. We have been developing new methods for optimizing campaigns and digital sites so that when we launch a campaign, we carefully monitor its impact and make decisions based on the feedback we collect. In this blog, we’ll talk about the process we use to measure impact.
Understand Your Audience
You can’t improve anything unless you know who you’re speaking to. So understanding the demographics or psychographics of your potential audience is key to measuring whether or not you’re on the right track. Before you start building a site or campaign, ensure that you have a clear idea of who you want to talk to. We work with clients to help distill their audience groups strategically. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking your campaign is for everyone. In reality, it isn’t. And it only makes it harder to reach the right people when you cast your net too wide.
Set up Your Benchmarks
Once you decide who you want to talk to, you can then make some decisions around your benchmarks. For many of our clients, Google Analytics provides a benchmark for measurements like traffic, user sessions, time on site and potentially other goals that have been set. This is a great way to begin thinking about what metrics you currently have that you could try to improve. Campaigns are often designed to produce some kind of conversation or action. Actions or conversations are best measured if they are set as goal in Google Analytics. If you have existing analytics, you can also conduct an audit to see where people are spending time and what type of content they prefer.
Once you have set metric benchmarks and collected analytics data, you can adjust the campaign so that it better meets its original goals. Depending on the nature of the campaign, some goals can be more aggressive goals or “stretch” goals, or sometimes it’s appropriate to maintain the status quo. Setting a measurement plan in place can help you determine whether you have the right activity occurring early on, and what may need tweaking. It’s also important to keep in mind that the management plan provides a high level picture, but it can also change.
Decide on Your Toolset
There are a wide array of tools available to use in measuring change. This can be overwhelming at first, so we take the time to sift through the best options for each campaign. Some of the tools we use are:
- Google Universal Analytics for the basic benchmark data on who is visiting, and the information we can glean from them
- Google Consumer Surveys for user feedback
- Google Tag Manager to manage Universal Analytics tags and Google Consumer Surveys together on the same site, as well as to perform advanced testing on single page campaign sites or more complex in-page measurements
- Optimizely.com for optimization A/B experiments
- Lucky Orange for measuring how people interact with the site
- UserTesting.com for remote user tests
- Unbounce for landing page optimization
This is a wide toolset, and it’s not always necessary to utilize this number of tools for each campaign. That being said, tools like Google Analytics are a must for understanding how people interact with your website or campaign. Combining this with others, like Lucky Orange and Optimizely, make for a powerful boost in your ability to understanding a campaign’s impact.
Run Your Tests
Once your audience, benchmarks, metrics and tools are in place, you can start to run your tests and become informed about how your campaign is working. Typically, we run our tests on either a monthly or a quarterly basis. For some campaigns we run them faster — almost weekly and even daily monitoring of A/B testing. However, this boils down to the strategy and measurement plan we develop collaboratively based on what clients see as the most valuable information for their goals.
In the next blog posting I’ll take a look at tools in closer detail.