Every intranet manager wants to maximize their intranet’s performance, but it’s not always obvious which performance metrics best reflect how an intranet is performing.
If this topic interests you, you have probably deployed a new intranet and want to begin measuring its success, or you have a legacy intranet and want to track its performance. Or maybe you're in the process of researching a new intranet and you want to get ahead of the game. If you fall into the third category... kudos!
To being measuring performance, you first need to understand the metrics will most accurately tell you how well your intranet is performing.
In this article, we’ll explore the definition of intranet analytics, what they can tell you, and we'll take a look at some examples of how you can measure the performance of your intranet. We will also share some best practices so you can start maximizing your intranet’s performance today.
What is intranet analytics?
Intranet analytics is the measuring, monitoring, collection, analysis, and reporting of activity on your intranet, for the purpose of helping intranet managers/administrators better understand their intranet site.
Similar to how Google Analytics can measure your website’s performance, intranet analytics allow intranet managers to set key performance indicators or benchmarks to determine if elements of the intranet, like corporate announcements or CEO updates, are successful.
Most modern intranet solutions come with built-in intranet analytics that begin recording data from the moment your intranet is launched.
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Why should you measure the effectiveness of your intranet?
Deploying a successful intranet can be a lot of effort—so much so that it’s easy to forget that the real gold is in monitoring and measuring it. After all, without the real data to support your intranet, how will you know it’s working?
Having the correct data helps you make strategic decisions, implement quick changes, and uncover extraordinary insights.
Measuring intranet effectiveness also makes it easy to determine and measure success in your hybrid workplace. It also makes it so much easier to improve internal communication and calculate a return on investment (ROI), which will also impress your leadership.
How to measure intranet effectiveness
To achieve high employee engagement levels, you first need to understand what motivates employees and what problems they face in the workplace. While there are many ways to obtain this information—through an employee engagement survey, for example—one of the most overlooked ways is through an intranet.
By examining specific intranet metrics, you can quickly and easily identify how employees are engaging with content and how easily they are finding the people and resources they need to be successful and productive.
Key intranet metrics
When measuring intranet performance, many people get stuck on what metrics are worth looking at, and which metrics reveal the most insightful information. Below is a list of all the key intranet metrics you should be measuring, why they’re important, and how to measure them.
Reach refers to the number of users that are using your intranet for a specified period of time. This could refer to employees visiting your intranet, or viewing a specific document on your intranet. Reach could be measured per day, month, or year. Reach is important to track because it tells you the percentage of employees that are actually visiting your intranet. It is especially important when you first launch your intranet, as it will provide a great baseline to start with.
There are a few different ways you can determine the reach of your intranet:
- If you have multiple office locations, look closely at the visit percentages, or the visit numbers per location. Do some locations need more training or encouragement?
- Look at the visits and engagement rates per business division or department. Are some teams adopting the intranet faster than others? If so, why?
- Look at the number of unique views for important content like employee announcements, critical documents, or CEO messages. Are your employees reading what you want them to read?
Top users are employees who use your intranet considerably more than others. This could include designated super users (chosen advocates who act as your intranet ambassadors) or employees who organically use your intranet on a frequent basis. Knowing who your engaged users are is useful when trying to understand engagement at a deeper level. This group can provide tangible feedback into what they like, what they don’t like, and what they may like to see changed. It’s worth leveraging these users to help train new users who may have questions or concerns.
Identifying your top users is usually quite simple. They often top the list of employees who frequently comment, create, and edit content. The Users report within ThoughtFarmer Analytics can easily tell you which users are the most active on your intranet.
Depending on how your intranet is used, you may find that Visits and Views are the best determinants of active users. Alternatively, content Creates and Edits may be the best indications of active users for your intranet.
Usage refers to specific intranet metrics such as views, visits, bounce rate, average time on site, etc. This section refers to your general usage metrics. It’s sort of like the Google Analytics of intranet metrics. This can potentially provide a lot of insight into your users and your content – plus, for intranet analytics enthusiasts, it can be fun!
To track usage metrics, look at things like top users, top commenters, top searches, top viewers, and top editors. You will also want to search for top keywords to understand what content your employees may be searching for. Once you have identified these groups, segment them in a way that makes sense to your organization; for example, by role, team, or location.
Your content’s popularity isn’t just determined by visits, but also by engagement, which includes such insights as shares, likes, and comments. Tracking these numbers can show the impact of a specific content piece. Tracking engagement of a post helps you learn which content has had the biggest impact and helps you plan future content pieces.
To measure this, look closely at critical pieces of content (staff announcements, important pages, or shout-outs) and measure things like views, likes, comments, follows, subscribes, and even shares. Tacking content engagement is a powerful way to measure visitor interactions other than page views.
Intranets are intended to improve productivity and solve communication-related challenges, so why not measure it?
Productivity refers to how much time employees save.This could be a marked reduction in email or time to complete a task or find information/documents. Calculating productivity can also help determine potential savings and an ROI.
Employee surveys are a great way to discover improvements in productivity. Listen closely to staff for improvements and suggestions, and then make necessary adjustments so your intranet is even more helpful. If possible, you should also measure your email traffic, and examine whether or not it reduces after the launch of your intranet.
Community and team metrics refer to groups, the number of groups, and/or the number of contributions from these groups. Your groups and teams are a significant part of an intranet and there are many metrics within the group worth measuring. Tracking this will provide healthy insights into how various groups and teams engage with your intranet. This is especially useful if you have remote offices as it can help determine which communities are more engaged than others.
Many of the intranet metrics listed above (reach, usage, and top users) relate to community metrics. The next step is segmenting them, and examining how these specific groups are doing. Are some teams outperforming others? If so, what might the reason be?
A well-implemented intranet should result in cost savings. You might be wondering where to start with this, but there are many ways to measure the potential cost savings. This could be things like a reduction in travel, or employee turnover. Or, it could simply be the elimination of other collaboration tools or applications that you no longer need.
Start by identifying any tasks and processes that you have moved to your intranet. Did this result in cost savings for other tools or software you may have previously used? Also, try calculating the amount of time your employees are saving by quickly locating content and expertise on your intranet.
Sometimes it’s important to see the forest through the trees, and if you are looking too closely at small metrics, you might miss out on the intranet metrics that reveal the bigger picture. The best metrics measure business outcomes, so it is worth measuring tangible KPIs like employee engagement.
Your organizational metrics are individual to your organization. Define some key KPIs and identify the metrics needed to reach that target. From there, you can summarize your KPIs and targets into a dashboard to easily see if targets are reached. Include notes on key insights, actions, and steps being taken, as well as KPI definitions. Your intranet must measure what’s important to your organization – but don’t expect this to stay the same. Like your business, your intranet needs will grow and evolve. In the beginning, your focus might be about engagement and adoption. A few years later it might be around content and the quality of posts.
Intranet analytics best practices
Most intranet solutions come with an intranet statistics package that will allow you to create a dashboard. To successfully monitor and measure your intranet’s performance you will need an intranet statistics package that easily allows you to create a reporting dashboard.
With ThoughtFarmer Analytics, as soon as your users begin engaging with the platform it will start recording metrics. You can measure views vs users, as well as how many employees have read a particular post. You can also segment by location and department.
For over 15 years ThoughtFarmer’s intranet software has helped organizations around the world measure the success of their intranet and employee engagement. Here is some of the best practices we have learned along the way:
Measure your mobile app usage
If your intranet has a mobile app, you will want to track intranet usage to see how the mobile app is being adopted, or to compare intranet traffic from the web with traffic from the mobile app.
ThoughtFarmer Analytics can show visits, actions, actions per visit, average time on page, average time on website, bounces, and bounce rate specific to the mobile app. This report provides overall usage of the mobile app from all your users. It is the first report to look at if you just want some high level stats. The report also breaks down traffic by app version, so you can see if your users are keeping up with the latest release.
For example, after launching a mobile app campaign, you might want to know:
- How many people decided to download and try the app?
- Did that interest decrease over time?
- Is it time to send another reminder?
A healthy intranet will have a lot of published content; but over time, it can be hard to find this information, especially if it was created a while ago. Fortunately content organization has come a long way, and it is now possible to surface almost anything or anybody thanks to robust search engines.
Knowing what people are searching for will give you an idea of what content keywords are most important to your users. This gives you the opportunity to make important content easier for your users to find by tweaking the subject or title based on common searches.
For example, if you analyzed the monthly keywords over the course of a year, or over the course of the lifetime of your intranet, you may notice trends in keyword searches that correlate with specific times. For example, terms like "expenses" may come up around the fiscal year end, and terms like "vacation" may come up near summer and winter holidays. Depending on your organization other time-related keyword trends can become apparent. This gives you the opportunity to dynamically update the homepage, or other key areas of the intranet, to make this content easier to find when users are looking for it.
The following image shows ThoughtFarmer Analytics search keyword data for a specific day.
Set up some goals
Within ThoughtFarmer Analytics you can actually set specific goals that help identify and track business objectives. Goals can be created through the admin panel by defining goal name, goal type, and goal pattern. Goal name describes your business objective (e.g. sign up, view product demo). Goal type and pattern together define how the goals can be converted (matching a URL, downloads a specific file, clicks on an external link). Some common goal examples include: newsletter subscriptions, content download counts, product demo requests, and the number of profiles created or edited.
Goals can be tracked based on specific actions by users in ThoughtFarmer. When users complete these actions they are tracked as a "conversion". Goals in ThoughtFarmer Analytics are anonymous and so should be used to track frequency of goal completion, rather than which specific users have completed a certain goal.ThoughtFarmer Analytics comes with visitor triggers that can be configured when creating a goal.
Measure your media reach
With more of us working from home than ever before, it’s essential to measure any media added to your intranet. The Media in ThoughtFarmer report allows you to see how your users are interacting with video and audio content, and can help you make the best use of media on your intranet. You can see which videos are the most popular, how many times a video has been watched and whether users watch it to the end. You can also see what locations users are watching videos from, the actions users take before and after watching a video, and how interaction with the video changes over time.
Segment data by department
Segmenting data by individual groups or departments is essential to understanding what users in a specific group or department are viewing on your intranet.
Segmentation is the process of dividing your intranet users into broad groupings based on shared characteristics (e.g. by department, location, or role). It allows you to understand what’s happening on your intranet and to identify key pockets of usage.
Ideally, segments can map back to groups in your intranet, so the membership of the segments can be automatically managed. If you are just starting out, we recommend keeping the number of segments small (5 to 7) and you can tweak from there.
When looking at segmented key performance indicators (KPIs), it’s critical to look at the outliers, both positive and negative. For example, if marketing has a much higher reach than normal, try to find out why. Similarly, if a department is showing a much lower reach, try sharing success stories from other departments to inspire them on how to get the most from the intranet.
By segmenting your intranet data, you can better tailor your intranet content to each department’s needs, to further increase the rate of engagement and communication across your organization.
Understanding your intranet analytics may at first feel like learning a foreign language, or something that you’ll never get your head around, but once you understand the basics, it’s pretty easy to navigate.
Continuously monitoring your intranet metrics will not only give you a good chance at meeting your intranet goals, but will also help you achieve higher employee engagement levels, and help you measure business outcomes.
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