Govt.nz: Improving IRD content using analytics

It goes without saying that as a government website we want to enable people to fulfil their needs online, without having to phone, visit or email government. But we can’t control how people access our content, especially through the castle drawbridge that is Google.

What's the problem?

Recently through analytics we found that people who wanted to access tax services online were landing on a page that provided Inland Revenue contact details. So we’ve changed the page to give people easier, more direct access to tax services.

The Google Analytics data showed that people were searching for generic terms such as ‘Inland Revenue’ in Google and choosing the Govt.nz Inland Revenue directory page from results. After landing on this page, they were searching for services such as ‘Child Support’, indicating that the contact details hadn’t met their need. The directory page is the 5th most searched-on page, but only 13th most popular in terms of traffic, showing that it has disproportionately high searches.

Screenshot of old Govt.nz directory page for Inland Revenue.
Old Govt.nz directory page showing Inland Revenue contact information.

To improve the user journey, we’ve put links to the Inland Revenue site at the top of the page. We’ve prioritised the topics that people are searching for most such as Child Support and GST so they’ve got quick access to these, and also provided a link to the Inland Revenue homepage to capture the rest of the services the audience are searching for.

Screenshot of revised Govt.nz directory page for Inland Revenue.
New Govt.nz directory page for Inland Revenue with topic links.

And the data shows...

After the first three weeks the data is looking good — traffic to the page has dropped minimally by 4% from the previous period. But searches have dropped by 55%, and there have been 228 clicks on the Inland Revenue links. This is just three weeks’ worth of data, and we’ve found that traffic to this page spikes when there are tax deadlines. So we’re expecting much bigger numbers.

We can’t control the user journey on the Inland Revenue site. But at least we know that once they’ve crossed the Google drawbridge, we guide them into the castle.

I’ve set up an alert so that we’ll be notified if traffic to this page increases significantly. This means I can make sure the new content caters to any future audience, and if not change it to better meet user needs. It would be great to hear of any agencies who have made similar improvements or would like to check a popular page – please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

2 comments

  1. Comment #1. Frazer:

    Analytics are great, the more quant the better.
    When I had a look at the page I wasn’t really sure why the Ministers information was such a central feature.
    Also, the way the contact numbers are displayed is an odd choice. Is their data to substantiate why the country code needs to be there? Or is it a way to ensure the pages are uniform?

  2. Comment #2. Victoria Wray

    Thanks for the feedback Frazer.
    The layout and content on the agency organisation page was a starting point for us to test and improve from. So no real hard data on why the Ministers are where they are – except they break up text. We’re following international standards for the phone numbers to make it easier for mobile phones to dial directly from the site, but the value of this needs to be tested too.
    We’ve also been testing out adding documents to agency pages – see the Office of Treaty Settlements for an example. Let us know what you think.

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