A New Analytics Platform for Magazine Publishers

The story of how I designed a new analytics reporting platform for digital magazine publishers.

I designed and led the implementation of a new analytics reporting platform for digital magazine publishers.

As a digital publishing company, we differentiate ourselves by providing our customers with valuable analytics data about how their visitors are accessing their content.  When I first became involved in analytics years ago, it was because our product management team had identified a problem. Customers were frustrated with analytics data that was difficult to understand and use.  They had to spend a lot of time accessing different reporting platforms to get a full picture of visitor data for ad sales and decision making. I was tasked with defining what the future of analytics reporting would be for our customers.

It was an enormous challenge and I was lucky to be working with a fantastic team.  I started by gathering as much information as possible from our existing support staff and the reports that had been developed with the existing analytics platform. I worked with support and engineers to design some new and updated reports, collaborate on documentation, and listen to customers. We realized we needed to build something new that could bring together data from browser usage as well as app usage.

I worked with our Head of Product at the time to schedule interviews with 8 users at a cross-section of our current customers to understand their analytics reporting needs. We developed open-ended questions that aimed to understand the underlying problems they were attempting to solve with analytics data. I captured detailed notes from the interviews and captured the insights in a document that I shared with the cross-functional team.

wireframe of the overview tab of a new analytics dashboard

I sketched ideas for an improved analytics reporting system and wireframed ideas. I iterated based on feedback from the team.

We scheduled follow-up calls with users to gather additional insights and get feedback on wireframes. I brainstormed with the engineers on the team and we explored options. I selected Mixpanel as our analytics tracking partner that would give our team the flexibility to develop the reports I had designed. We experimented and developed prototypes of reports using the system.  From a UX and Product Management standpoint, I led the effort to implement the entire tracking and reporting project across both app and web platforms.

This was what the overview of the analytics dashboard looked like when we implemented it back in 2015.

Mixpanel wrote a nice case study about our integration.