You’ve researched a variety of analytics platforms, done your due diligence, and finally found the platform that matches your business needs. The ink on a new contract is dry and you are ready to roll out your shiny new analytics tool to glean insights that will drive the bottom line.

But wait! While it might be tempting to hit the ground running with your new analytics investment, it’s important for organizations to practice patience and ensure they are foundationally ready to implement the platform as part of their technology stack. Otherwise, things can get messy very quickly.

All too often, marketers put the cart before the horse. They make an investment in technology and start using it immediately…without a strategy, without a roadmap, and without an integrated approach. How does this happen? Here are some of the most common pitfalls brands run into when rolling out analytics (so hopefully you can avoid them!).

1. The “Let’s Just Track Everything” Approach

Sounds foolproof right? Contrary to the initial appeal of this approach, tracking "everything" you could ever possibly want to see can open up a whole barrel of worms for your organization. This is a common trap with more flexible enterprise solutions, such as Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics 360, and is a sure way to result in a large quantity of inapplicable data. There can be quite a few unintended results of data overload such as:

  • It may be hard for business users to navigate the solution to derive the data and insights that are meaningful to their goals.
  • Depending on the number of customizations your analytics platform allows, you may quickly run out of room to add new customizations as your site evolves. When that fancy new lead gen form is added a year from now which is key to track, recycling customizations is not an ideal option.
  • For some solutions, cost is based on server call volume, such as Adobe, Webtrends, or SAS Customer Intelligence 360. Tracking everything can quickly add up to big dollars and make it challenging for your analytics team to prove their ROI.

TIP: In order to avoid this “Track Everything” pitfall, organizations must take the time to align their business goals with key performance indicators (KPIs). This methodology will ensure that what you track is meaningful and actionable to the business. Remember, quantity is not necessarily quality, so take the time to consider what’s most important for your business success.

2. “Launch Day is Near! Let’s Just Add Analytics Post-Launch.”

As the famous Peter Pan legend goes, “Every time someone says ‘I don't believe in fairies,’ somewhere a fairy falls down dead.” The same thing happens to analysts when these words are spoken (maybe not death, but at least a cringe…). This second common pitfall is typically not part of a brand’s initial go-live plan for a new site launch, but a last-ditch effort to hit hard deadlines. When it comes down to the wire and analytics is on the chopping block up against key site functionality, analytics can easily find itself de-scoped.

Analytics is key to not only proving the ROI for the analytics tool itself, but for the entire site that has just been strategically designed, developed, and launched. While hitting a deadline might seem pivotal, being able to answer the question of “how is our new site doing?” is even more important.

TIP: A little proactivity can go a long way. After business goals have been aligned to KPIs, create priorities! When priorities are included within your analytics implementation plan, it can help ensure that high priority items for launch are kept in scope.

3. “Job Well Done! Tracking Is on the Site! Now What?”

Data, even when perfect, does not do any business any good if it just sits in the analytics tool. Underutilized data and analytics platform usage is a common pitfall that can often be a result of reactive efforts. It can be challenging to start changing the tide in your organization to be proactive, but if you have just implemented a new analytics solution, then you are on the right path. Make sure you have a reporting plan in place to begin socializing and distributing the data that you have so painstakingly collected—it is the key to begin realizing the value of your newly implemented solution.

TIP: User management and training is vital! Every organization will have stakeholders that require different views of data and campaign performance. Create an Executive Dashboard to set your baselines and answer key business questions, either within the analytics solution itself or a custom BI solution.

Investing in an analytics platform is necessary to build digital maturity. Just having the platform in place is not enough to achieve return on your analytics investment. In order to realize the full benefit of your analytics tool, marketers need to avoid rushing or overlooking key steps in the implementation process. Remember a little thought and care in planning your analytics program can go a long way. The data and insights you will glean down the road are worth it!

About the Author: Erin McGall

As R2i’s Digital Marketing Analyst and an Adobe Certified Expert, Erin brings experience from both the client-side and agency world. She has worked with multiple analytics products including Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics, and comScore, across various industries from Retail to Real-Estate. Erin is driven by discovering the story within the data, and enjoys finding creative ways to most effectively convey the data’s message in order to drive action and business success. When she’s not in the office, you are likely to find her spending time outdoors or catching an Ohm at a local yoga class.

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