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Processes and Productivity

Deciphering your intranet analytics: what is your data really telling you?

Data helps us implement quick changes and uncover insights. However, just like sports data analytics don't always tell the whole story. Here are a few reasons your intranet analytics might be misleading you.

7 minute read
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Whether it prompts us to make changes to our product, website, or email campaigns, data plays an enormous role in almost everything we do in the workplace. But when we don’t question our data, or view it objectively, it can negatively impact us; like in the case of the 2020 MLB World Series

In what turned out to be the final game of the World Series, Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell was pitching the game of his life, completely shutting down the Los Angeles Dodgers through five innings. So when he was pulled in the top of the 6th inning, many of us, including the play-by-play announcers, were confused. What possible reason could a manager have for pulling a pitcher on top of their game? The answer? Data. 

The game of baseball is notorious for relying on data. From launch angle, to pitch count, to batting averages, it’s all part of the game. Those outfielders aren’t just standing just anywhere on the field, they are standing in a specific spot based on where the opposing batter is most likely to hit the ball. If it sounds like a chess match, it’s because it kind of is. 

In the case of the Tampa Bay Rays, analytics showed that Snell often struggled from the 6th inning on. The data didn’t however account for his low pitch count, the microclimate of a World Series elimination game, or the fact that he was almost unhittable that night. While Blake Snell’s player data throughout the season may have provided insight and advantages in just about every other scenario, in the case of game 6 of the 2020 World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays decision to pull the pitcher cost them the game, and the series. 

We use a lot of data too here at ThoughtFarmer, especially when it comes to providing our customers analytics on the performance of their intranet sites. Having the right intranet data helps our customers implement quick changes and uncover extraordinary insights. However, just like baseball data, intranet analytics don’t always tell the whole story. Sometimes we need to just take a step back and question if we are looking at the right intranet data, or if we are looking at it how it was intended to be viewed. Here are a few reasons your intranet analytics might be misleading you: 

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You are looking too closely at your intranet data 

When we look at analytics too closely, or with blinders on, we can miss what’s actually happening. For example, the ‘time on page’ metric can be confusing and misleading if not analyzed correctly. If you have a page on your intranet that aims to provide users with everything they may need in a single isolated visit, then a short time on page isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 

This same metric can also give a ‘false positive’ if it records a scenario of a user visiting a page, becoming distracted by a phone call, and then not navigating off the page for 30 minutes. Even if the tab is minimized, it will still count it as time on site. 

Bounce rate can also be a misleading metric because of the negative connotations often associated with it. However a bounce rate isn’t always something to be alarmed by. Similar to the time on page metric, a higher bounce rate might indicate that your intranet users found everything they needed and didn’t require any further time on the site. That isn’t a failure, that is a success. 

On a side note, we don’t consider time on page or bounce rate particularly useful metrics when determining the success of your intranet. For more information on the metrics you should track, please check out our blog: 8 key intranet metrics you should be tracking.

You are comparing your intranet metrics to the wrong baseline

Customers will often ask us what metrics they can expect to see from their intranet. And while we are happy to provide a baseline, it truly is dependent on the uniqueness of each organization. “Good” is subjective, and what looks good for one organization, might not work for everyone. For example, if your workplace is entirely remote, you will likely see heavy traffic to your intranet site, as users will depend on it to access documents, policies, and teammate contact info. 

A more realistic evaluation is a month over month comparison. This can easily be achieved by setting up specific comparison reports within ThoughtFarmer Analytics, and tracking these comparisons over time. 

It’s also worth setting up specific goals in your intranet metrics. Within ThoughtFarmer you can define goals by goal name, type, or pattern. This could include goals that measure the number of profiles created, content downloads, or forms created. 

You have ad blocking software

It’s also possible that ad-blocking software is impacting your intranet analytics. Browser extensions like AdBlockers or DoNotTrackMe will affect that performance of intranet analytics. 

Ad blocking software works by targeting pop-ups, banners, and tracking mechanisms. They have been growing in popularity for a while, primarily as a result of privacy concerns. Many users also rely on ad blockers for better performance and usability on ad-laden sites. 

A final word on intranet analytics

Analytics should play a role–but it should be a supporting role. If you are going to use intranet data to make assumptions and potential actions, you need to ensure your data doesn’t come at the expense of common sense and objectivity. 

Whether it’s your intranet or sporting event, analytics are just one part of the equation. Understanding it is a whole other ballgame. 

For more information on intranet goal setting and KPI measurement, please contact our Professional Services team