Part 3: Using web analytics data to identify insights and develop business strategy
When it comes to a web analytics strategy, organizations go through a natural progression. The first step in the process is to develop a method for capturing the data. As the first blog post in this series states, many organizations are finding Google Analytics (GA) to be a helpful and cost-effective web analytics service. Once the data is captured, the next step is to develop a data reporting strategy. The second blog post delves into how one can use GA’s basic reporting functionality to apprise business leaders. The next stage is to use the captured data and reports to identify insights and develop business strategy.
The Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri (PSRS/PEERS) is a prime example of an organization that is using web analytics data to foster continuous process improvements. According to an article by CSS-Tricks, “Analytics data itself is meaningless if you haven’t figured out what problems you’re trying to solve or what questions you’re trying to answer.” It was a question that compelled Chris Davis, web designer at PSRS/PEERS, to seek out analytics data.
In 2013, PSRS/PEERS was planning to redesign their website but lacked data about what types of browsers and operating systems members and retirees were using, said Davis. To fill this information void, Davis integrated GA with the system’s existing website.
“It’s important to know this information prior to launching a website redesign because you don’t want to negatively impact a majority of users by not designing the website in a way that caters to users’ operating system and browsers,” said Davis. The technology usage data played a pivotal role in how the new website was designed.
“When we rolled out the redesign, we had to include a lot of IE-specific CSS rules but now we have been able to remove all of those rules because we are tracking the use of older browsers on our site. IE8 through IE10 now accounts for less than 0.70% of all site visitors, so now we can rely on progressive enhancements instead of IE-specific CSS rules. This makes the site easier to maintain because we’re not trying to work around limitations of older browsers that don’t fully support modern web standards and it improves website performance by reducing the page weight and eliminating unnecessary HTTP requests.”
GA data has also proven to be helpful when the system is trying to solve an operational problem. For instance, many of the system’s members and retirees are locking themselves out of the web member services (WMS) portal due to inaccurate login credentials, said Susan Wood, Director of Communications at PSRS/PEERS. “Because of the number of lockouts, we are having discussions about making the login process easier,” said Wood. “The Google Analytics data validates the frequency that it’s happening and confirms what our information center representatives are saying.”
Lastly, the system’s management staff are using GA data to prove the effectiveness of certain business decisions. As part of the website redesign, PSRS/PEERS implemented Responsive Web Design (RWD) to accommodate mobile and tablet devices. Since implementing RWD, the system increased the percentage of mobile traffic to their site, said Davis. “Mobile traffic to our site now averages about 29 percent of all traffic, and if you isolate weekend traffic, it jumps to around 40 percent of all visits.”
Wood said she uses the GA data when speaking with the board of directors and senior management about the success of certain communication campaigns. The system recently embarked on a campaign to promote the WMS portal and the GA data showed an exponential increase in users and self-service activities, said Wood.
“The analytics data provides tangible evidence that our self-service initiatives are making a positive difference and gives me talking points to justify continuing what we are doing or adding new features.”
It’s clear that web analytics data are very useful when developing business strategies, however there are other data sources at an agency’s disposal. The final blog post in this series will explore how GA data can be combined with other data streams to help agencies predict future outcomes.
Over the last decade, Sagitec has implemented member and employer web portals for 18 different pension agencies in the United States. If you are interested in integrating a web portal into your pension administration solution or you would like your existing web portal to have Responsive Web Design, please contact Diann Clift at (317) 331-5542 or at Diann.Clift@Sagitec.com.
Sagitec's Neospin pension administation solution can scale up or down depending on each client's unique needs and budget. To learn more about how Neospin is being tailored for small, medium, and large agencies, please download the free resource below.
Chris Davis has been with PSRS/PEERS since June 2013. As the systems’ Web Designer/Developer, Chris is responsible for the design and development of the public-facing website as well as the PSRS/PEERS board intranet site. In addition to his duties as a web designer/developer, he is also responsible for shooting and editing member education videos.
Mr. Davis previously worked as a web designer/developer for Central Technology Services, the IT division of Central Bancompany, a Midwest bank holding company. Working with the CTS technical staff and Central Bancompany marketing department personnel, he managed the technical operations of a Web Content Management system (WCMS) that serviced 13 affiliate banks spread across four states. Prior to that, he was the web developer and videographer for SuccessLink Inc., an education-focused not-for-profit. While there, he designed and developed the agency’s first database-driven content management system. He began his career in the web industry in 1998 when he accepted a position as Webmaster for KRCG-TV, a mid-Missouri CBS affiliate. In that role, Chris designed the station’s very first website as well as overseeing the development of the station’s content management system.
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Sagitec Solutions, LLC designs and delivers tailor-made pension, provident fund, unemployment insurance, and healthcare and life sciences software solutions to clients of all sizes. Understanding that a dynamic world requires dynamic technology, Sagitec offers solutions that are highly configurable and extensible by nature. With deep industry experience in software implementation and systems integration, project management, consulting, hosting and software support, Sagitec is a partner clients can trust to deliver mission-critical IT projects.