Why Less is More with Web Analytics
A less is more approach is the best way to handle your business’s web analytics needs. Focus on the data that truly matters to your business instead of tracking everything in fear of one day needing it. Let’s jump into the advantages of an MVP (minimum viable product) analytics application over the all-too-common capture everything approach.
Advantage of MVP analytics
Many businesses and webmasters approach web analytics by capturing as much data as possible. “Track everything in case we need it” is something said by far too many product owners and digital marketers.
Here’s the top advantages of keeping things simple and using an MVP approach you’re your website and digital marketing analytics:
- Improved page load performance
- Reduced costs
- Better insights
- More privacy for users
Page load speed benefits
Analytics containers, tags, and pixels might not impact page load performance much individually, but collectively they can be a huge burden. Only tracking what you need ensures that any hit to performance is justified by quality data. For example, if tracking conversions means your page loads 2 milliseconds slower, it’s good tradeoff for the business. However, if a heat mapping software caused a similar 2 millisecond delay in page load, it might be worth exploring how valuable the data is to your organization.
Storing and analyzing data is fairly cheap in the grand scheme of things, but it’s not free. This is especially true when costs are directly tied to usage, like many APIs and some analytics platforms like Adobe Analytics.
When you’re only tracking, measuring and analyzing data that’s important to driving outcomes (i.e., sales or signups) you’re able to cut through the noise and gain better insights. More data doesn’t always mean better data. Furthermore, processing and analyzing data that doesn’t lead to meaningful, actionable insights is a waste of precious resources.
More privacy for users
By only tracking, measuring and reporting on metrics that matter you can also provide more privacy to your website users. Unless there is a reason to collect personally identifiable information (or PII) such as ecommerce sales, it’s often best to avoid collecting it. Minimizing data collected about users is required for certain industries like healthcare organizations and HIPPA compliance. Compliance with The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is something that virtually all companies should take into consideration as well (especially if they serve customers in the EU).
How do you take an MVP approach to analytics?
The first step to taking an MVP approach to your web analytics is determining the purpose and goals of your website. Are you trying to share information, sell products get newsletter signups? Answering simply questions like these are important before setting up website analytics.
Once you have a clear vision of your website’s purpose and goals it’s best to consider the metrics and data segments important for accomplishing your mission. For example, an ecommerce sale can’t happen without a visit. And knowing where your visitors are coming from is critical to attributing credit for conversions. Developing at least a rough idea of your digital analytics strategy and/or measurement plan before implementation is always helpful.
It’s recommended to focus on these three major categories:
Some individual metrics from Google Analytics 4 to consider focusing on:
- Unique users
- Engaged sessions
- Views per User
- Average engagement time
The role of analytics is to “equip businesses, their employees and leaders to make better decisions and improve decision outcomes” according to Gartner. If you’re analytics isn’t helping you make better decision and improve outcomes, it might be worth considering a new approach. From my experience a minimalist or MVP approach to your website analytics is the way to go.