Building the Framework for Analytics And Optimization Success
Analytics and Optimization
Analytics and optimization go beyond KPIs (key performance indicators) numbers – when we use a framework for analytics and optimization to tell a story, we start learning how to achieve success.
It is about weeding through the numbers to understand WHAT they mean and then effectively analyzing the performance. The numbers will never tell the whole story. They tell you why, so you can ask, SO WHAT – why does this matter? What is causing this?
Once you’ve analyzed the data, optimization is the next step. NOW WHAT-based on what the story has told you, what will you do differently? How will you improve or optimize your efforts?
The purpose of analytics is to go beyond the numbers and offer an explanation based on insights. Reporting or KPIs alone isn’t enough to complete the story. The question is what is causing the numbers and what we should do about it.
To facilitate strong analytics (or if you are on the receiving side of reports) challenge yourself to ask the following:
What – The data
So What – The insight
Now What – The action
What –The Data
The first step is understanding the data or the WHAT. To understand the data, you’ll need to:
Understand the metric and what it means.
Know what drives the metric – what could cause it to go up or down?
Gain context for the numbers you are looking at – are they going up or down? Are they above or below the benchmark?
Determine what the numbers are telling you.
Most analytics tools or insights on websites will explain terms if you hover your cursor over the term. Familiarize yourself with the key terms and what they mean.
So What –The Insight
Once you know what the data is telling you, the next step is to figure out so what – what does this MEAN?
The goal of the So What or insight is to develop an understanding of the numbers or the WHY.
Once you know what the numbers tell you, determine why they are what they are. To develop insights, you’ll often need to look at multiple numbers together to see the full picture of what is happening.
Did anything out of the ordinary happen with the business that month?
What did the digital execution look like on that channel? Did anything change in the execution or investment?
What other metrics are linked to the one you are analyzing? What else should you look at?
What is the data telling you? Why is the number what it is? Is it good or bad? What caused it?
Developing insights is often a challenge, as you need to understand the numbers and be able to figure out what they mean. Strong insights answer the question of “So What?” or “Why”?
Power Tip: Storytelling
Think of the So What as storytelling. What is the story behind the data that explains it? Try to turn your insights into a story you can explain to others.
Now What –The Action
The last step in analytics is Now What. What is the action we should take as a result of the insight? What should we do?
A lot of analysis stops at What, very few go to the level of Now What. However, this is arguably the most important part. Looking at reports but doing nothing isn’t particularly valuable and doesn’t add business value or impact.
The Now What step can also be considered the optimization step. Optimization is about making changes and improvements to your executions to get better results over time. Ask yourself:
Based on the analysis, what steps should we take?
How do we further improve performance?
What should we avoid?
How can we better use our resources?
Even if your results are good, you should always optimize and improve your efforts.
Analytics and Optimization Examples
To help bring this concept to life, let’s explore an example. Since we don’t know the business context of digital execution, we’ve taken some liberties with the insights.
Example: Google Analytics
What: I grew more users (12%)
So What: New users were primarily from social media as we promoted our content more. While users grew, our QUALITY of traffic dropped, with a higher bounce rate and less time on site.
Now What: People are visiting our site to view blog posts but not staying. We should test conversion methods (webinar, suggested content) to get more from our visitors.
This is an excerpt from Krista Neher’s best-selling book, “Digital Marketing That Actually Works.” You can find this and more books at Boot Camp Digital
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