Usability, content, search and analytics on the corporate intranet

Tagging users for intranet analytics

30 November, 2010 – Luke Oatham

In an attempt to get more out of our analytics data, I’m going to experiment with tagging users as they visit the intranet.

It’s best practice to look at more than the whole picture when analysing web traffic data; segmentation provides greater insight into what is happening out there in the real world. A blanket report of page views for the complete intranet will not provide many insights.

Another good motto that I use is “no lonely metrics” (coined from Avinash Kaushik.) In other words, don’t just give me a number. Always compare one metric against another, for example, a number for this month compared to last month or page views compared to time on page.

On an intranet, based in one country, it’s hard to get the same amount of demographic data that you’d normally find on analytics from a web site. On our public site I can find out where visitors are located and how they found our website. But staff on the intranet all start with the same homepage when they open their browser. Unless they land on the intranet from a tagged email or newsletter, we don’t have much idea where they came from, geographically or organisationally. In fact, the most that we seem to be able to offer in terms of visitor statistics is the number of visitors. Because we are all on the same network, few visits to the intranet are from referrals and there is no geographical diversity.

Consequently, most of our intranet analytics reports are based around intranet pages and documents. There is very little detail about the visitors. We know what people are looking at but we don’t know much about the people. Which means that we can’t segment and chop up our reports from the user perspective. Which means that we are not getting a clear picture.

By using cookies to tag visitors based on the content that they view or by offering a self-service page of check-boxes where staff can tag themselves, I hope to be able to integrate this information into our analytics and produce more informative insights where the emphasis moves from pages to people.

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