University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Hi folks,

Couple of questions for you regarding your use of Google Analytics

1. Do you allow/grant access to other folks at your institution access to your GA account?

2. If you do, in what capacity? User- level or administrative? Both?

Reason I ask is, we've (meaning another department, not mine) just engaged an outside company to help with a portion of our admission process/site. Deals with mailings as well as a special microsite for it. We've JUST started using GA, and when  I say we, i mean really just me. We completed a redesign this fall and have only just begun to use GA to drive our processes.

This outside company is requesting administrative access to our account. I'm not so worried about that, as i am in other folks gaining access within our school. I know GA is a powerful tool and with the dashboard capability, it can be very handy to give access to folks in departments to be able to see data on their particular portions of the site. I'm concerned about the following.

  1. People misunderstanding/misinterpreting the info within GA. As we know, the various metrics can apply or not apply to a variety of sites, depending upon the circumstances. For instance, a high-bounce rate on a page that contains a form is not necessarily a bad thing, whereas on another page, it may be.
  2. Stock-Watcher-Syndrome-  just coining that phrase for a lack of another to call it. I've several people who are worry-worts and would watch the stats for their sites CONTINUALLY. I can already envision getting calls continually with every little dip in traffic.

Am I being paranoid? Another concern in giving folks access is losing the ability to manage change for the site- i can see anyone having access trying to push my department for change for their particular area of the site once they have access.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

-Dan

Dan Demmons
Director of Web Services
Providence College

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Dan - Valid concerns, but over time people tend to ignore the data. It's another thing they have to check, analyze and take action on, and it tends to get pushed to the bottom of the pile. We had set up access to key departments for their "site" analytics only, but only maybe three use it on a regular basis.

We're in the process of implementing more of a push model where they receive emails with reports that we have customized with specific data that will be the most relevant. We then provide quarterly advice on improvements based on that data, or meet with them on demand to review.

Thanks,

Nick

We are implementing a similar type of model as Nick to where we have dashboards and scheduled reports pushed to our campus partners. The dashboards and scheduled reports contain data from various data sources, but it allows campus partners to have a numbers perspective on their online presence.

We have been down the same road by allowing users into our analytical system; however, users faced paralysis by numbers. The amount of data/metrics available caused them to take little to no action because they couldn't understand what exactly they were looking at in the system.

I agree this may be the better course of action. Unless you have someone who's job description requires them to use this kind of data, I don't think giving them access to the analytics tool is best. Most of our accounts have become inactive. They get excited at first, but then get overwhelmed and stop using it. Emailing custom reports is a better solution in most cases.

I've started sending out quarterly reports to senior administration recently, and although it's a very high level report (visits, visitors, sources, etc. year to year) it does start conversations that lead to more interest around campus and development of better metrics that tie to business goals.

You are not being paranoid. We currently have a lot of departments who manage their own GA accounts (I'm trying to bring most everyone under a single one, but that's another issue) and I get a lot of folks coming in to see me with data problems. Occasionally these problems are created by people improperly applying filters and trashing data... Granting administrator rights can be risky business, remember that any administrator can also add other administrators without understanding the repercussions. Granting access to many others also might generate a lot of extra work for you in answering questions and tracking down data irregularities when the data will not produce any call to action or meaningful insights.

I grant people user access to certain profiles once they've completed a series of GA workshops with me. To others with specific requests to see data I email periodic reports tailored to their role and area. I'll agree with the others that those with access usually lose interest, but in my experience interest crops up again occasionally, especially after a visit from a consultant or a compelling study is released.

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