Are You Ready For A Web Analytics Grilling?

The CEO’s administrative assistant just called. The CEO wants to see you in an hour to answer some questions about your company's Web analytics.

(Just go with me on this. You can be certain that the CEO of Zappos or Apple or eTrade is intimately familiar with their business’ Web analytics. Inevitably, CEOs of asset management companies are going to take an interest, too. After all, especially over the last 12 months, there's been other fish to fry.)

You accept the “invitation” and gather up last month’s reports. But, someone other than you—in other words, someone other than who’s responsible for Web analytics—has prepped the CEO and she (please, go with me on this) fires off the following questions:

  1. Which sites send the most traffic to us? Which firms? What’s been the trend lately?
  2. What are the top keyword phrases people use when they come to us through search engines?
  3. Are we getting much Bing traffic…what about from Twitter?
  4. How are our new videos doing; are people hanging in there until the end?
  5. Which of the outbound marketing tactics we use send us the “best” traffic? Substantiate your answer, with volume and conversion data.
  6. We’re thinking about introducing a product that provides exposure to XXX, do users of our on-site search ever look for XXX?
  7. Which customer segments are the heaviest users of the site?
  8. What's our most viral content?
  9. What’s our busiest time of the year? Day of the week? Time of day? What kind of a day was yesterday for us? How are we doing today?
  10. What's the benefit when our investment strategists appear on CNBC? More email newsletter sign-ups? RSS feed subscriptions?

The CEO shouldn't have to call in order for you to develop a command of the above and more. At most companies, Marketing “owns” Web analytics. That’s important, don’t give that away and don’t let your nonchalance or boredom (?!) result in somebody outside of Marketing taking it away. (Who got to the CEO, do you suppose?)

Analytics from even a basic analytics package (Google Analytics and Yahoo Web Analytics are both free and powerful) can arm the functional areas of your company (sales, customer service, IT) as well as your Marketing colleagues in product development, advertising and public relations with insights they need. Your business stands to benefit from diligent, daily tracking and sharing of what’s happening. Not a month ago—which is what’s learned from auto-generated .pdf traffic reports that arrive in your email inbox every month—but now.

In the dream world that Rock The Boat Marketing lives in, the CEO makes the call herself. The executive team is on the distribution list of your timely Web site updates and just discussed the analysis in some detail. They agree with your assessment of the opportunities you've identified, will fund the new initiative and are you free for a barbecue this weekend?