Enhancing Google Analytics

Web Analytics, over in only a few years, evolved from a primitive counters to sophisticated software, capable of tracking detailed user behavior. Best of all, barriers to entry are extremely low; Google Analytics is free and relatively simple to install. Web analytics packages face an enormous challenge: collect volumes of information about visitors and activity, while maintaining a tiny footprint and compatibility with all browsers and all sites. If web analytics is so powerful, where does Slate fit in?

The Road From Data To Knowledge

Web analytics doesn’t take those millions of data points and organize them around your business needs and organizational structure. Unfortunately, the promise of web analytics is reached only in this final step, which occurs outside of the analytics package itself. Web analytics is unbeatable for answering specific questions: ‘how many views did the product X page get last week?’ But that’s data, not knowledge.

Slate Analytics prefers a knowledge based approach tailored to business needs and organizational hierarchies – a custom scaffolding ready to be filled with performance data.

A prominent cancer research hospital has a very active site containing many thousands of pages, with new pages of news, events, and announcements being created all the time. Each page contains a content taxonomy that is specific to the hospital: departments, diseases, doctors, and more. Clues about a page’s meaning can be found in its URL, its Title tags, and in the words on the page itself. Slate interrogates each page and solves for a multidimensional taxonomy of content. The process is dynamic and seamless; as pages appear for the first time, each is classified and filed into the system. Slate used the web analytics system to do what it does best: data collection. With performance activity retrieved through the Google Analytics API, a custom designed data mart is filled. The advantage: reports are organized not around the data being collected, but around the hospital’s dimensions, metrics, and end users.

The benefit to the seasoned marketers at the hospital is a reporting framework that builds individual reports for internal distribution to specific departments or even individual doctors. Reports are based on content, integrate financials, include year-over-year comparisons, and feature interactive, intuitive visualizations. Web analytics alone wouldn’t come close.