Analytics are important. They help us understand how successful (or not) our marketing efforts are online, and they can even help us target our actions towards avenues that will be most beneficial in the future. Unfortunately, too often we collect analytics in a rote, habitual way, without going deeper into what our numbers mean. We look at conversion rates going up and are pleased without considering why. When we do this, any gains aren’t sustainable–and we won’t be able to quickly fix any problems that crop up.
Analytics should be about learning something about our customers, not collecting data. It’s all about the story. When we look at the numbers the same way over and over, we tend to apply the data in a way that supports an old story rather than letting it change with circumstances. So how can we ensure that we are hearing the right story from our analytics? There are three simple tactics that can help you ensure your analytics are telling the right story and get to the truth.
- Consider the story before the numbers. Statistics mean nothing in isolation. Just because you are getting a lift in conversion doesn’t mean you always know why. Consider what you’ve learned, and always look at the greater picture to find out more than you knew before. Unless you are learning something new about your customer with every analytic, you are likely missing some key truths. Make developing the story of your customers the goal of analytics not just upwardly trending numbers.
- Regularly devote enough time towards analytics. It’s easy to get focused on marketing efforts and relegate analytics to a less important role. Unfortunately, when we don’t check our analytics daily, we can easily miss something important. Incorporate analytics into your schedule every day, or even designate a person to be fully analytics-focused. No matter how you prioritize the analytics, however, the key is to devote enough time towards them that you can explore the narrative beyond the basic numbers.
- Remember that analysis is a process, not a habit. If you haven’t learned anything new from your analytics in a while, you may be stuck in an analytics rut, which you need to take action to get out of right away. Analyzing your analytics should be a process by which you learn from the data, not a habitual explanation of the numbers. It’s easy to simply look at consistent numbers and say that nothing has changed, but you may be missing out on a key story bubbling under the surface. Instead, change up your analysis and search for a deeper meaning that can help you get to the story behind your numbers.
These three small changes in your attitude towards analytics will go far in helping ensure that you are getting the full value from the data you collect–and that the story your analytics tell is the right one. If you are struggling to find the greater story in your own analytics, it can help to get a fresh, independent set of eyes on the data. Consulting with a specialist may help you find the real story. No matter how you do it, however, make sure that your analytics are telling the right story.