What does Frank Zappa have to do with Web Analytics?

Bear with me, but I think Frank Zappa may have been on to something!

During a recent Healthcare Conference, I was fortunate enough to sit through an inspiring "bootcamp" on analytics.  It was there that they shared a quote from Frank Zappa:

"The most important thing in art is The Frame…without this humble appliance you can’t know where The Art stops and The Real World begins. You have to put a ‘box’ around it because otherwise, what is that stuff on the wall?"

Zappa's comment really resonated with me in thinking about where we are with analytics, both in the healthcare industry and within our own walls, and where we have the potential to be.

Think about it...

Good web analytics come from a good framework
Good recommendations come from good metrics
Good analysis comes from good questions

While web data provides basic information like visits, pageviews, bounce rates, and exit rates you need to frame those pieces of data into supporting your goals and objectives. In order to really make your web site analytics work for you, you have to start asking questions.  Without doing that all you have is "stuff on the wall."

To begin establishing your framework, start to ask some questions:

  • What are your overall objectives for your hospital/department?  Are you hoping to increase patient engagement or increase out-of-state visitors?
  • Who are your visitors?  Do you have one type of audience or are there various segments?  Where do they typically come from?
  • What would a highly engaged visitor look like?  Would you consider someone engaged if they view three or more pages per visit or if they end their visit on an appointment page? What clues can you find for matching web analytics data to real engagement with your goals?

The types of questions you can ask are endless!  It is very important to take the strategic goals and objectives you worked so hard to define and begin to start having conversations around the actions users take on your web site.

Web site analytics should be utilized to identify what success looks like, if goals are being achieved and provide insight into supporting recommendations to help you reach those goals if they are not being met.