Despite dramatic improvements in the reporting and measurement capabilities of common Web analytic tools, the actual practice of Web measurement has not shown similar advances. The results of many analytic efforts are disappointing, and the usefulness of Web measurement to an organization is still very dependent on having an outstanding individual practitioner. What is more, the practice of Web measurement revolves around the usage of a disparate grabbag of tools (pathing, page analysis, affinity, segmentation, events) with no particularly clear understanding of when, how or why a tool is the most appropriate choice. After a decade practicing as a Web analytics consultancy and search engine marketing analytics tool provider for Fortune 1000 brands, SEMphonic, has released its proprietary methodology - Functionalism - into the public domain to help the industry address these problems.

In a related announcement, SEMphonic is also offering The Functionalism Engagement, which is a short-term (2-3 month) project geared toward getting Web analytics efforts on the right track. It includes all four of the key steps to fully implementing Functionalism:

  • Classification: a rigorous classification of the pages on the site based on the predefined Functional templates;
  • Measurement Protocol: Mapping the details of each page type KPI set to the actual site implementation;
  • Adaptation: the details for producing each Functional KPI in your particular measurement solution;
  • Communication: the construction of a management report set based on Functional analysis that will bring the measurement concepts to life for your marketing managers and designers.

During the engagement, SEMphonic will work with the Web measurement or marketing team to get them up to speed on the Functionalist concepts. The goal of the engagement is to have a company's Web measurement program be in a position where the team can successfully self-manage ongoing functional tracking and analysis.
Functionalism breaks up a Web site into its constituent pieces and then assigns one or more specific functions to each piece. These functions can be things like navigation (e.g. route visitors to a specific place), motivation (e.g., convince a user to do something) or information (e.g., provide a visitor with some piece of information). Based on the functions of the page, it is assigned a particular page type from a set of common templates distinguished over time in the measurement of different types of sites.

Once a page type is assigned, the success of a page is measured by key performance
indicators (KPIs) specific to the functions it was designed for. Central to Functionalism is the concept that a measure of success for one page can be a measure of failure for a different page. By categorizing and grouping pages by function, calculating and assigning KPIs make the failure or success of a page more straightforward and transparent. It is in this assignment of type-specific, easily measurable KPIs that the power of Functionalism resides.

Perhaps even more important than the ability to usefully measure on a page-unit basis, is the conceptual framework that Functional Measurement places around the design,
implement and measure cycle.

Designers, marketers and analysts can all immediately grasp the basic concepts in Functionalism - pages are built with a purpose in mind and measurement should be focused on that purpose. Because of this, measurement can be integrated in a seamless and regularized fashion into the design process. This simply isn't the way that Web analytics is conducted now.

Finally, by providing a regularized method that can be consistently applied, Functionalism dramatically reduces the need for brilliant individual practitioners. This, after all, is the real purpose behind almost any methodology - and Functionalism provides the essential ingredients to achieve this: conceptual simplicity, near-universal applicability, a direct real-world path to implementation and consistent advantages in actual measurement capability over the majority of ad hoc measurement approaches.

To request a complimentary copy of SEMphonic's Functionalism White Paper or  learn more about a Functionalism Engagement, please email David Libby at dlibby@semphonic.com

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