Historically, there has been a dearth of information about the types of Web metrics used by organizations in the public sector and the Web Analytics Association Public Sector Special Interest Group sought to fill this gap.
I’d have to say that in some respects, it wasn’t too surprising to find that US government agencies focused on content downloads as a success event, or that non-profits were quite marketing oriented.
But I found it interesting that less than 20 percent of the government agencies and non-profits surveyed use return on investment (ROI) analysis to evaluate the importance of success events.
While there are many different ways to measure Web site success, organizations generally do not think of success events in terms of return on investment. You could argue that if there was more of a management commitment to the importance of the Web, then there might be more “top down” influence for accountability regarding how money is spent on web initiatives. Without this commitment, those who manage Web analytics may have little direction or incentive to develop return on investment models or metrics.
However, I’d suggest that even if there is no management impetus to develop ROI models, this is something that web analysts should be doing. For example, calculating approximate costs for new content or application development and estimating the value for a completed success event provides a starting point for figuring out ROI and developing business cases that lead to additional funding.
Government budgets are getting tighter and there is more demand for accountability. I think the time is right for web analytics to make a greater impact…especially in the US Federal Government.
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