The Benefits of Analytics for the Public Sector

With unprecedented change unfolding around us daily, more people than ever are turning to public sector organizations for everything from services to information. This puts increasing pressure on government professionals to gather and use data efficiently for insights about the public’s needs. One area of particular importance in this moment of limited face-to-face contact is digital analytics. 

With citizens relying more on digital platforms and portals to access government services, making those platforms work smoothly by understanding how the public finds and engages with them is paramount. At the Federal level, the United States Digital Service under the leadership of former Googler Matt Cutts has been on a mission since 2014 to improve digital services using data. However, government agencies still face some traditional barriers to making use of analytics in this way. Based on our experience working with a wide range of public and private sector organizations, Empirical Path has prepared a list of some of the critical ways that the public sector can benefit from enhanced analytics and measurement.

Optimizing Digital Experiences

Given the sprawling nature of much government digital infrastructure, it can be difficult to quickly understand and visualize users’ interactions in order to optimize site performance, especially when behavior patterns change in a crisis. By implementing product analytics — tracking focused on site and app usability, such as form completions, video views, page scrolls, files downloaded, etc. — you can better understand where stakeholders are finding value and struggling. Coupled with A/B testing with free tools like Google Optimize, the ability to visualize and improve content consumption and user experience can aid accessibility, boost feedback scores, earn buy-in from stakeholders, and secure budget for further improvements. 

Control Costs & Increase Efficiency

Revisions to public sector sites can be infrequent or hampered by tight budgets and layers of regulation. A full site-wide overhaul is a costly luxury that many government agencies can’t afford, so any digital development dollars need to be spent wisely by optimizing the portion of your digital experiences (see above) with the greatest impact. But you have much more flexibility in how you promote your online resources, especially via digital channels like search, social and email marketing. Analytics can help identify key areas for targeted fixes on both fronts. Many tools have attribution features that can give credit across multiple touchpoints that your audience interacts with to accomplish their goals. To ensure your attribution calculations have accurate inputs for both channels and conversions, an analytics audit can help to flag where analytics is not tracking optimally. This will support accurate analysis of your most effective communications tactics and shifting budget to deliver the right outreach in the right place to your audience. 

Automated Reporting

Government digital teams tend to be small, with a limited number of dedicated professionals wearing many hats in order to produce results at the local, state and federal levels. In such an environment, the leg work necessary to implement measurement, pull reports, and develop insights is considerable. One way to reduce that burden without compromising the integrity and quality of the results is to automate part of the process. Automated reporting allows your team to spend more time developing insights and less time building, refining, and running reports. An analytics consultant can help your team to define the key indicators of performance that need to be measured, track them across all of your platforms, and create self-generating reports that summarize that data without the need for extensive hands-on work. This frees up members of your team to create insights rather than the rote work of pulling data and preparing reports.

Moving Forward

Analytics provide a guide to building and maintaining the best possible digital experience across your platform. They provide insight into what users want, where they come from, how they behave, and where they’re struggling. However, it’s impossible to glean any of that insight from your site analytics until you know that you’re measuring what really matters. Making sure that you have a comprehensive view of your digital efforts, and that you are able to reliably generate actionable insights can be a daunting process for any organization, especially one with many stakeholders and limited time. Fortunately, Empirical Path is happy to assist you. We provide expert guidance in measurement and analytics honed by our work with leading private sector clients as well as a wide array of government agencies and public sector organizations including The Department of Veterans Affairs, The Department of Health and Human Services, the US Air Force, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp, UCLA, UNC, Central New Mexico Community College, the City of Brookline, BART, Atlanta Downtown Improvement District and Visit Albuquerque. Contact us today to speak with one of our measurement experts.

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