8 Ways to Turn Data into Actionable Analytics
Every day, the number of data sources that are available is growing at a rapid rate. For some of us, this is undoubtedly a good thing, but it also brings about a lot of challenges for digital marketers to deal with. There’s still a long way to go when it comes to using data and analytics effectively; around 70% of business executives report that sales and analytics in their company are very important, but only 2% say that they have achieved a positive impact across the company.
So, how exactly can you use data and analytics most effectively in order to benefit your business?
Reporting Vs. Analysis:
The digital marketer’s job isn’t to come up with a lot of sophisticated reports that contain a huge amount of data. Data is simply the input, and while it is important, the insights that you provide should be the top priority. Collecting data is simply not enough when it comes to business; you need to figure out what these numbers mean to the business and use these insights to determine which actions should be taken to further improve the most important business metrics.
Being able to collect data is one thing but making it useful to a business requires an entirely different mindset and set of skills. So, what are the best strategies for making the data that you collect more actionable?
Measure the Right Things:
If you don’t measure something, it cannot be optimized. For example, if you’re running an eCommerce store, you might have a range of questions that you can use data insights to get the answers to. These could include the following:
- Where are people leaving your website?
- Do customers use multiple devices before they make a purchase?
- Which channels are driving the most traffic to your website?
- Which channels are driving the most conversions?
- Which landing pages are performing best?
- What are the look-to-buy ratios for product categories?
In order to make the most effective action on your data, it’s important to use segmentation. This involves grouping visitors that have certain attributes in common. This could include:
- Visitors using mobile devices
- Visitors who were referred from the same source
- Visitors who have bought from your store before
- Unique visitors
- Demographics like age, gender, location
Grouping these visitors together allows you to begin digging deeper and finding out more about them. And, choosing the right segments to dedicate more time to learning about will depend on the business question that you are trying to find an answer to. Identifying segments allows you to enhance your understanding of how your customers behave based on a variety of attributes, and then the information you gather can be used to better optimize how you target and interact with these customers.
Use Clear Visualizations:
When it comes to getting your message across, the method that you use to present your data will make a big difference to the outcome. Think about it; presentations that only contained numbers and words are probably harder for you to remember now. On the other hand, clear visualizations promote cognition and tend to be much easier to understand and remember. Whether you are presenting your data to the board or simply using it for yourself to drive your future marketing decisions, consider presenting it in a visual format, such as:
- Flow charts
- Pie charts
- Data stories
In most cases, a solid understanding of the context will lead to making the best decisions for your business with data. Be sure to establish the context for any data that you are analyzing. What do the numbers mean? How important are they? Do they affect the business and if so, how? How has the data been collected?
Without context, data isn’t actually that meaningful – as a result, this can actually make it dangerous for the business. A lack of context leaves the risk of interpreting it in the wrong way very high, which can actually have the opposite effect and lead to the wrong decisions being made.
Build a Strong Optimization Plan:
You can use a Six Sigma concept known as DMAIC to improve your business by directly applying it to the process of building a strong optimization plan. It involves:
- Define the hypothesis, issue or problem, the stakeholders, and the scope of analysis.
- Measure any relevant data and conduct basic analysis
- Analyze patterns and correlations and use statistics and visualizationskills to find context and get insights from the data
- Improve, based on the insights that you have gathered
- Control the change by testing your improvements through KPI monitoring and A/B testing
Integrate Data Sources:
Integrating data sources typically leads to faster and more effective business decisions. Consider integrating traditional databases with big data solutions. As a result, this allows you to mine through and connect all of your sources, which in turn leads to an enhanced understanding of your customers and even better insights.
Hire the Right People:
Finally, while there are plenty of tools out there that are fantastic for both collecting and analyzing data, people who understand the business are always going to be your best asset when it comes to building insights. Hire the right people, or consider investing in smart individuals in your workforce with a lot of potential by providing them with the option to learn more about marketing analytics with an online degree; click here for more information.
You will require talented individuals to not only find useful data but to translate it into stories that can be used to gather insights and useful knowledge that in turn will be able to drive future business decisions.
Each of the strategies above can be put to use in almost any business in order to enable marketers and business executives to fine-tune their plans to turn data into insights and improve business growth, profit, success, and even reputation. You might want to consider starting out by picking a few strategies to experiment with; discover what works best for your business and go from there.