Have a Great Summer!

There are no OCG meetings in July and August, but that doesn’t mean we need to stop communicating! If you have a job you’d like to promote, email Sam Cagle, sam.cagle70@gmail.com. If you have a training or event you’d like posted on the website, email Niquette Kelcher, niquettek@gmail.com.

We’ll see you again in the Fall!


Join the Social Media Listserv

SocialMediaListservAnna Bukowski, new media coordinator for Governor Inslee, compiles and sends a weekly digest of social media news. (Click the image on the right to see an example.) If you’d like to get this delivered straight to your inbox,  join the listserv. You’ll have full access to the archives once you join.

Anna also oversees the  Social Media for State Government Professionals group, which meets monthly to network and discuss social media trends. If you work in a state agency, board or commission and are interested in joining, email Anna to be added to the email list (anna.bukowski@gov.wa.gov).

Google Analytics: Tips for Communicators

Quick note: The next OCG meeting is Wednesday, January 8. Happy new year!

Whether you’re new to Google Analytics or simply trying to step up your game, the tool has a lot to offer.  Niquette Kelcher, content strategy manager for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, met with OCG members in December to discuss how communication professionals can get started with analytics and how Google’s tool can help.

Know the goals
It’s tempting to just dig into the data, but without a strategy going in, you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed by numbers.  As communication experts, you’re probably poised to answer questions about business goals, but don’t be shy — interview other employees in your organization if you need more info. Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. What are the business goals?
  2. How is the website supposed to support/achieve these business goals?
  3. What data can you capture to show how the website is/isn’t meeting these goals?
Let’s take a look at a high-profile example, the Affordable Healthcare Act. One of the business goals is to increase the number of Americans with affordable healthcare. The new website, Healthcare.gov, aims to inform Americans of their options and to sign up 7 million people by March 2014. However, when the site launched in October 2013, it repeatedly crashed because it couldn’t handle the high traffic. Regrouping, the Healthcare.gov repair team said the website must serve 50,000 concurrent users and 800,000 people a day. The page response time, a dismal 8 seconds at launch, needed to be less than 1 second. These website goals are all measurable, data that Google Analytics could capture and measure over time. (Note: It’s unclear what Healthcare.gov was using at launch, if anything, but today the site uses a monitoring software program from New Relic Inc. On December 1, the team said they had met these goals, among many other goals.)
Install Google Analytics
…if you haven’t already. Get instructions here.
Establish a baseline
After installing, let the data collect for an amount of time (determined by your business cycle). You want to establish a baseline as early as possible. Just a few of the questions to ask include:
  • Who is your audience?
  • What is traffic like now? Look at visits, unique visits, pages/visit, bounce rate, etc.
  • How are users progressing through the site? What are they accomplishing? Is that what they should be doing? Does it accomplish a business goal?

Measure the business goals
Explore the Google Analytics features and determine which ones you will use to measure the business goals.  Scroll down on this page and read about the available features.

Make improvements
Check out these resources to get you on the right foot:

Stay apprised of changes
Google Analytics is always changing. This means features come and features go. Keep up-to-date on changes via the official Google Analytics blog.

Questions about this topic?