5 Tips when changing analytics tools
One of my last posts for Digital Transparency before I left last month was postulating on whether tag management tools would kill vendor lock in. I suggested that it probably wouldn’t:
Why is this important? Well many companies are running on older web analytics tools and were moving to newer ones with more functionality (although occasionally they were downscaling if they had cut budgets). It has been a major part of virtually every job that I have ever done – where the company has moved tools and hired an analyst – sometimes me – when really the problem wasn’t the tool but the lack of an analyst.
Where am I going with this? This the start of my top 5 tips for moving from one analytics system to another.
1. You will lose data
Sorry. It’s inevitable.
Your new system won’t be able to cope with the old system’s data.
More importantly, you can’t compare data from two different systems either. Sorry.
The data systems are going to do processing in different ways and because of that, you’re going to get two different sets of results if you have two lots of analytics on the pages at the same time. They probably won’t be massively different, but if they are say 3% different then that mucks up with your conversion rates.
Remember Analytics tools are designed to be precise not accurate.
2. You’ll need to retrain staff on the new tool
I’ve spent eight years doing analytics. I’ve used Redeye, Webtrends, NetGenesis, HBX, SiteCatalyst, Google Analytics, Microsoft Analytics (what do you mean you don’t remember Gatineau), Coremetrics, plus countless others that I’ve probably forgotten. In each of my eight years Analytics has been the main part of my job.
However every time I start using a new tool I have to relearn the nuances of the tool and it takes time. I’ve spent the last week on and off learning about profiles, custom reports, measures, etc in Webtrends. I think I’ve got a good handle on it and I can understand how the system works, if not the intricacies of each individual profile that has a different set of reports.
If you’re not an analyst you won’t be able to pick it up that easily. Even if you have no interaction with the interface then the reports are going to be subtly different between each of them (ever wondered why your Google Analytics campaigns seem to have more conversions against them than your SiteCatalyst ones? Maybe your SiteCatalyst ones are set to expire at the end of the visit, whereas your Google Analytics are persistent).
3. Some tools need more Analyst resource than others
If you’re using WebTrends on Premise you’ll need resource who can:
- Code tags on pages
- Manage a server to put logs on
- Resource manage the server to ensure the speed of reporting is high
- Manage the interface to make sure the reports are available
- Create dashboards and train users
- Make recommendations to improve the website/marketing
- Repurpose an enthusiast from elsewhere in the business. They may not have the skillset (initially), but it’s the cheapest option
- Hire a Freelancer for x days a week (although this will be difficult if you don’t have consistent work as freelancers will quickly leave you for the company that does)
- Hire an consultancy for x days a week (I know a good one if you want to email me 😉 ). You won’t get as good bang for your buck, but you won’t have intermittent periods of no support
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