Adobe Analytics for Government

Challenge

A Federal Government agency had implemented Adobe SiteCatalyst powered by Omniture on its website to track usage of information and features, but the reports had not lived up to the expectations of the staff. The organization lacked Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and a web analytics strategy. Its Adobe Analytics implementation and configuration had not evolved with the site itself, so that, for instance, its email campaigns were not tracked.

Approach

Empirical Path first audited SiteCatalyst to identify data gathering and configuration issues and prioritize needed fixes. We interviewed management about issues with reporting, automatically scanned the site to ensure tracking code was on each page, and simulated visits to confirm key visitor segments and behaviors were tracked. We found that key audience segments, site searches, contact forms, subscription forms and document downloads were not tracked.

Next, Empirical Path created KPIs unique to each key segment of the audience – businesses, taxpayers, policy-makers — to measure engagement, sources, and conversions. First we interviewed analytics internal customers to understand marketing goals, approaches, resources, and decision-making. We brainstormed KPIs based on these findings, in addition to ideas from government, customer service, and publishing clients, then prioritized based on a client-specific weighting of relevance to goals, technical feasibility, and action-ability. Finally, with client stakeholders, we finalized a list of four to six KPIs, the range we recommended to balance breadth and focus.

Based on the Audit and KPIs, Empirical Path drove implementation of the most valuable Audit recommendations to allow analytics users to take advantage of new refinements and metrics. For each fix or enhancement, we detailed code and instructions for the client’s development resources to implement, then validated code implementation, data transmission to SiteCatalyst, and data availability in Omniture reports.

For email, social media, and other campaigns, Empirical Path enabled detailed tracking. With client marketers we devised naming conventions for campaigns so that each channel and placement was differentiated, such as emails to practitioners vs. press contacts. We created a shared spreadsheet to convert labels for campaigns and channels into unique identifiers to be added to landing page URLs. Then we trained the communications department to create and upload the resulting campaign codes and labels via SAINT so that metrics for each label were reported in SiteCatalyst.

Finally, Empirical Path created an auto-updated dashboard using ReportBuilder to calculate and display KPIs for each audience segment and the site overall. We calculated variances versus prior periods and formatted the spreadsheet to highlight the most positive and worrisome month-to-month changes. We also wrote plain-English findings and interpretation based on each KPI to explain drivers and other context behind key KPI movements.

Results

Now this agency automatically updates a report each month of KPIs for each type of site visitor. Content and strategy decisions are tailored to each audience segment and based on engagement and conversion rates instead of broad, top-level metrics.  SiteCatalyst is now trusted to answer ad-hoc questions about content, features, and traffic sources as well as to report on KPIs. Each traffic source that the agency controls – email and social media in particular – is evaluated in depth to determine the highest performing placements, dates, and landing pages.

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