By Brooke Larson, Strategic Account Manager at Numeric Analytics
At Numeric we love SDRs. We can quickly assess the state of your business by the state of this simple piece of documentation – if it needs tuning or a complete overhaul. If I lost you at “documentation” stay tuned… this deliverable can be the marketer’s best friend. It is the bridge between your analytics implementation and the tangible value you deliver as marketing professionals.
First, let’s clarify what an SDR should contain. Solution Design Reference, or SDR, is a term that refers to Site Catalyst (Adobe Analytics) design specifications, but it is equally applicable to any analytics solution. At its core, it maps your key metrics to the variables in your analytics solution. This becomes the blueprint for deployment of a solution. The analogy is much like building a house – the SDR is the blueprint for the construction and should be referenced when making decisions as you build, remodel, etc.
Why should a marketer care about the SDR?
First and foremost the SDR is the technical translation of your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The top 3-5 aspects that are most important to understanding your business and more importantly that can be used to make actionable decisions to impact your business trajectory. For example, you are the VP of Customer Service, one of your key goals is to minimize the number of phone calls into the call center and maximize the engagement with online help tools. It is through the SDR that these goals are translated into not only tags to ensure you have visibility to the data that you need – but the key ratios and metrics that allow you to trend and see progress over time.
An SDR should be easy to read
Numeric consultants have re-worked the SDR to be even more marketing-user friendly, so that it is grouped by easy to understand categories, such as “Internal Search Tracking”, “Video Tracking”. This way, you only need to know what you are trying to measure to find the variables in your SDR. There is also a column that is color-coded Red or Green to indicate whether this metric is Tracking. Green indicates that “Yes” this metric is Tracking so your Adobe Analytics reporting will have the key ratios and data you need to make decisions.
The goal of our revision of this standard document was to allow both a marketer and a developer to derive value out of the document. The developer has code samples and instructions on how and where to set analytics code. This is very useful since not all developers have experience with setting analytics code. And the marketer now can read the same document and have a conversation with the developer about their goals and how this should translate into metrics.
The SDR is not a static document
Your metrics and key performance indicators will change. So should your SDR. Once your SDR is created, it needs to be updated to capture all site changes going forward. We have found that most teams need training on the governance of the SDR to ensure that it stays up to date. It is critical to maintain this document and easy to do if it is a part of your internal process around site updates. This is how you retain strong trust and confidence in your data – by ensuring that your reports are indeed capturing what you think they are.
We recommend periodically revisiting your KPIs and discuss if they are still the most important aspects of your business. In this fast-moving online world, we find that an annual review almost always reveals changes to corporate goals and KPIs. Keeping this alignment isn’t time consuming but it is game changing for data driven companies.