Earlier this month we shared with you tips for keeping your PPC agency in check. When it comes to analytics, it is just as important to carefully select and keep tabs on your agency partner. Working with the right agency can determine whether your investment in analytics merely produces a stream of meaningless reports or instead uncovers a treasure of actionable insights for your organization.
Most organizations hire an agency for digital analytics because:
- They have a need for analytics expertise.
- They do not have the time or resources to develop an analytics capability by themselves.
Hiring an analytics agency can be a huge undertaking, both in dollars and time, so it’s important that you check-in to make sure that your agency is doing their job.
We know what you are thinking—I hired an agency so that I wouldn’t have to worry about doing the work. They are the experts. I shouldn’t have to tell them what to do.
However, at the end of the day, you are still responsible for what the agency delivers. This doesn’t mean you need to have a hands-on role in every decision your agency makes, but you should ensure that they are consistently working for your best interests and that you are not missing out on opportunities for improvement.
Here are 4 questions to help you evaluate your agency’s performance:
1. Is your Agency up-to-date on the latest analytics tool features and updates?
- If you are using Google Analytics: Have you upgraded to Universal Analytics?
- Are you using a tag management system, such as Google Tag Manager?
- Have you implemented custom dimensions and metrics, Enhanced Ecommerce, or User-ID tracking?
2. Is your Agency following good data management practices?
- Do you have at least one unfiltered, original view of your data?
- Is there a relevant, recognizable taxonomy for how your views, goals and filters are named?
- Is internal traffic (from your organization and your agency) being excluded from your data?
- Are spam referrers and bots being excluded from your data?
3. Is your Agency providing relevant and actionable insights?
- Do they understand your business and what you care about?
- Do you get useful recommendations, or just numbers?
- How long is the turnaround time for reports? Does it give you enough time to act?
- Do reports give you anything meaningful to act upon?
4. Is your Agency organized and transparent?
- Do you have access to your own analytics and tag management accounts?
- Do you have a documented mapping of your analytics implementation?
- Do you have a standardized convention or process for campaign tagging?
- Does the agency use corporate email IDs (not Gmail addresses) for Analytics and AdWords accounts?
If you’re not sure about any of the questions above (what they mean or if your agency is doing these or not), pick up the phone and seek clarification from your agency account manager. In fact, ask them questions until you are confident in their abilities, and more importantly, you are confident that the work they are doing for you will help you achieve your business goals.
A good agency will not shy away from these questions, but rather they will be impressed with your interest and thoroughness.
Good luck! And don’t forget to tell us how it went or share any additional tips you have!