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Four surprising things I learned to stop doing to make intranet measurement better

Emma HanleyEmma Hanley·

My four key takeaways from the ‘7 mistakes organizations make with intranet measurement’ webinar with Chris Tubb.

Depending on where you are in the cycle of intranet development, the thought of intranet measurement might strike fear into your heart or make you try to stifle a yawn. Either way it’s probably not something you associate with surprises. But when I sat down to listen to Chris Tubb talk about the seven mistakes organizations make with intranet measurement, I was in for a treat. Not only did Chris’s no nonsense approach and clear presentation style make it easier for me sit up and take notice, his ability to clearly articulate the frustrations internal communicators and intranet managers experience was a breath of fresh air.

Here are the four surprising things I learned from his presentation:

1. Most intranet measurement tools aren’t built with intranet managers (or internal communicators) in mind

While I knew this was the case having used them and seen them in action it came as a bit of a surprise to hear it delivered flatly. This is a fact that is largely accepted and unchallenged.

Measurement tools are typically pointed at sales and marketing rather than internal communicators and intranet managers. These tools are designed to measure revenue generating activity. They are used to measure whether or not a visitor has followed the desired path or process that results in a sale. Visitors can potentially come from anywhere and there is an identifiable funnel.

Intranet users are different, they are a defined audience (there are only so many employees no matter the company size). This audience is obliged to use the intranet to carry out a bunch of different tasks for a number of stakeholders e.g. to access information issued, to log requests, to ask for help, to see what’s on the lunch menu or what the company policy is on device usage. These users don’t follow a simple path, making measurement more difficult.

2. Don’t be afraid to push to get what you need

Just because intranet measurement is difficult, does not mean there is an excuse not to do it well. Whether you have to borrow time, build a team, create a task force, experiment, test and test again – it has to be done. Internal communicators can’t operate in the dark not knowing if their messages are being read, not knowing the full potential of the channel. It is possible to find an intranet measurement tool that fits requirements, ensuring that it integrates with active directory will ensure that you can get the level of detail need to measure employee engagement with intranet content.

3. Measuring beyond page views and time on page

The purpose of measuring is that it provides quantitative data. Numbers that tell me that my content hit the mark. Numbers that will tell me if I did a good job. But the problem with these numbers is that you have to measure using proxies. I can’t read the mind of the employee accessing the information to find out what they think at that moment so I have to measure what is available to me and use this proxy measurement to find out how I can do things better.

In order to use these proxy measurements, I need to set out SMART goals. When stakeholders want stats on intranet activity, ask to see their strategy. This can help you learn what to measure and what is of value to stakeholders rather than setting an arbitrary goal such as x number of pageviews and y time on page.

For example, I can’t measure how people feel about my request to complete their annual leave requests by the end of May, but I can measure how many filled out the leave request form by a specific date. I can measure if the Human Resources team received a reduced number of calls or had to send less emails clarifying the application process.

4. Killing off the zero-hit content

This is probably my single biggest takeaway. As communicators we tend to focus on the intranet pages that are important to us or look at the most popular content to see what we can learn. We don’t focus on the least popular content, the ones with no views. These don’t even show up in the metrics delivered by some analytics products such as Google Analytics. These invisible, errant pages, sit on our intranet ruining search results and damaging findability and user trust.

For these zero-hitters it is time to take out the sweeping brush and clear away the dross. This can be a scary thing to do, full of what ifs and just incases but as internal communicators and intranet managers we must start managing for abundance not scarcity.  If no one uses it, it has no value. Press delete.
Watch the on demand webinar here  – it might surprise you.

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