How do you turn data into insights?
We all know that we should be data driven, heck, it is a buzzword these days!
Yet so many of us are ‘data rich, insight poor’.
But when you are looking into the abyss of what can look like data vomit, how do you turn these data points into insights for your company’s growth?
This post is a starting point before you dive into the deep dark woods of analytics. You know the phrase “If all you have is a hammer then everything you see is a nail.” Abraham Maslow. So you need to focus.
In this data insight post we’ll cover how to set your goals.
Establish Goals and Tracking
For starters you need to have, at a minimum, your objectives and goals set up. You can’t manage what you can’t measure, so what is it that you want to achieve? What are your companies long and short term goals? Think about your goals from a macro and micro level.
Why? Because setting clear goals and objectives help your company to reach its goals. Say for example you had a site converting at 4%. Say for every 100 people, 4 parted with their cash, what did the other 96 people do? Knowing what these micro moments are helps you to understand your audiences behaviour. By tracking their behaviour, it gives you insights into what triggers and activates your visitors. Example Goals Could Be:
- Visit duration goals
- Pages/visits goals
- Event goals
- URL destination goals
- Track leads
- Track file downloads
- Highest driving social media channel
- Open and click through rates for email
- ROI on PPC campaigns
You need to make sure that your business and marketing programmes are designed to be measurable. Make every effort to track everything that is critical. For example campaigns that are tagged correctly, make sure that your analytics are setup on your marketing machines for things like your email, ppc campaigns, paid social right through to your apps and/ or websites. Bottom line: every business with a digital presence should have analytics set-up for maximum data insights. Once you have all of these set up, you will have lots of juicy metrics looking back at you! We’ve created a bloody awesome goals template to help you get started. You’re welcome. You Need Solid Facts, not Fluff! A useful exercise from the Lean Analytics book by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz is to map out your business on 1 page aka a ‘1 pager’
Know the difference between your numbers
- Lagging metrics are historical, things that have already happened, such as sales last month.
- Leading metrics are forward looking, the metrics that help predict tomorrow, such as number of marketing qualified leads, or free trials of your product in your pipeline.
- Correlated are two variables that are related but may be dependent on something else, for example, the number of people drowning and ice cream sales. You wouldn’t look at a correlated graph and conclude that we should ban ice cream sales to save lives.
Causal is an independent variable that directly impacts a dependent one, for example, summertime. It is summer that is the causal effect in our case example here for sales of ice creams and number of drownings.
Now, if you find a leading, causal metric, you have found something that can drive growth and know what causes it, now you can grow your company at will. None of this is possible though if you do not have a solid set of objectives, a fully tracked analytics suite, and looking at the data points that matter. Se those objectives marketers!
Post it Not Reporting You should have your big business data available for the entire team to dig into, ideally on some form of shared drive like Google Drive.
But to avoid the data vomit we talked about at the start of this article, can you put the company’s top level metrics on a post it note?
Post it note reporting
Task for you: Write down your companies top-level metrics on what we like to call, ‘post it note reporting’ Why? To keep you focused on the metrics that really matter for your business. You should look at this high level pulse point of data and use it to make changes to your business and remember If a metric does not change the way you behave it is a bad metric. Not all reports are created equal Not all metrics are equal to the same person, so my final tip is to make a list of who are you reporting to? What do they care about? Yes you will have a high level business report for the state of the business, but what do the rest want on their post it note? What metrics matter to them? For example: Your VP of marketing may want.
- Unique Visitors
- Number of Free Trials
- Return on Investment
- Churn Rate of Paying customers
Your CFO may want
- Cost per Visitor
- Cost per Acquisition
- Monthly Recurring Revenue
If you want to report like a boss you can download our Reporting Template Here.
If you want to dive into the nitty-gritty process of building fantastic dashboards, we have a module in our online Google Analytics course. Head over here to get the full details, but short version, learn our process (with a handy word doc template) and see how to use Data Studio to make it look all shiny and glossy.