Your guide to cracking measurement

Our new free report, based on several years of advising large companies on their digital communications measurement, has advice and best practice on analytics, visitor surveys, strategy, and more, says Jason Sumner.

Measurement is routinely cited as a top priority and challenge in Bowen Craggs's annual ‘Digital Manager’s Agenda’ surveys. In 2015 it tied with customers as the number one concern and in 2014 it was number two. A separate Bowen Craggs survey in 2014 showed that only one in three respondents had identified key performance indicators (KPIs) and routinely reported against them.

Over the years, through the research we conduct and the advice we give corporate digital teams, we’ve established a framework for measuring online communications – one that evaluates how well all of your company’s online channels are serving business goals and audience needs.

Measuring what matters in digital corporate communications gives practical advice on implementing the framework. It also presents the key points from our ongoing Google Analytics benchmark research, best practice in creating visitor surveys and a case study on the ‘Insight Hubs’ at pharmaceutical giant GSK.

Here are a few other highlights to whet your appetite:

  • Survey data on ‘visit reason’ (why people come to your site) is especially useful when broken down by visitor type: For example, our research shows that one of the main reasons investors visit corporate sites is to find out about the company. They do not only visit to find financial information, which demonstrates the importance of website structure, signposting and easy navigation between website sections, something the methodology for the Bowen Craggs Index of Online Excellence has always emphasised.

  • Visitors who do not achieve their goals on corporate websites often leave with a lower opinion of the company: For example, in our visitor surveys 19 per cent of respondents who did not achieve their goals leave with a worse perception of the company, compared with only 7 per cent of all visitors. Although there is considerable variation in goal achievement between companies we advise, the correlation between goal failure and a worsening opinion of the company is universal, and therefore statistically significant.

  • Insight Hubs at GSK: ‘Insight Hubs’ are monthly, two-hour in-person meetings with the central GSK digital communications team and additional ‘content owners’ (about 10 people in total). A wider group of people, each of which are responsible for a section of the corporate website (Investors, Careers, Media, Research, etc) or a piece of content, receive the ‘Insight dashboard email’, which comes out of the meetings. The Insight Hubs sit alongside a wider and longer-term ‘strategic’ review of the website and other online channels.

  • Social media and traffic acquisition: Our Analytics benchmark (which collects the Google Analytics data for 27 major corporate websites) suggests that social media is driving very little traffic to corporate websites overall, but that there are isolated examples of success (one company in the benchmark acquired almost 4 per cent of visits from Facebook). Sponsorship plays a role in this. Facebook and Twitter make it difficult for users to leave their platform - these platforms restrict distribution to a small part of a company’s audience, unless the link is sponsored. Timing and subject matter are also important. One of our clients’ tweets were 100 times more successful in driving traffic than normal when they were tied to an external, live event. However, not every tweet is about driving traffic to the corporate website; it could be about getting retweets, gaining more followers, driving visitors to a blog post.

You'll find much more in the full report.

- Jason Sumner