The Value of Insight

Web analytics, social auditing, behavioral research, ethnography and search audits are great windows into your users’ minds and motivations. These insights are critical in helping to define user and business goals at the outset of a web design project. How effectively do we use them?

Great web design happens when the experience is built on what we know the business wants from the site AND what the users tell us they want. The process of connecting these pieces of information to overall site strategy is, well, Digital Strategy at its best.

One way to ensure that valuable insights and research are not lost is through careful mapping of these objectives to the site structure and content. Content mapping exercises, user flows and detailed use cases will ensure that we are headed in the right direction.

So how can we ensure that we stay on track? Formal accountability – evaluating how well we achieve user and business goals by establishing and measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – is not a new practice, but lately it has been pushed to the side in the wake of faster turnarounds and smaller budgets. Definitely not a smart sacrifice – KPI’s keep us honest and help us to fine tune our approach based on what we learn, giving the client more bang for their buck.

When the temptation arises to do something cool simply because the technology allows it, I say lets do a reality check by asking “Is this what the user wants to see? How do we know this? How can we confirm that this is effective?”

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3 Responses to The Value of Insight

  1. Helen Kopp says:

    Lindy, I have a question about KPIs. Do you have suggestions for ways to measure ROI for clients who purchase content strategy services? I know that the most common ways to measure effectiveness are site traffic and direct sales, but how can we measure the more qualitative long-term benefits of a successful content strategy (for both us and the client)? Maybe a broad range of metrics that goes beyond just site traffic…

  2. lindroux says:

    Great question, Helen, and one that most content strategists are still grappling with.

    Here are a few of my favorite Quantitative KPI’s:
    Increase unique and return visits
    Decrease bounce rate
    Improve search engine ranking (relevant, focused, easy to read content should do that)
    Direct conversions (whatever it is you want the user to do: like, share, buy, subscribe etc)
    Reduced calls to call center or contact forms to answer questions that should/could be answered online (you can define these ahead of time)
    Frequency of content updates in the 6 months post-launch (a good content strategy should accommodate and plan for keeping the content fresh)

    Also, don’t forget the qualitative measures:
    Task-based user testing (find information on x)
    User satisfaction surveys
    A B testing
    Online brand awareness (use social audits)

    What other KPI’s do you measure?

  3. Helen Kopp says:

    This is so helpful, Lindy. Thank you! Might be getting a bit deep, but I don’t doubt an awesome CS could affect employee retention, too. Since CS considers company culture. Thanks again. šŸ™‚

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