It’s new. It’s exciting. It’s creating a plethora of buzzwords and jargon that have begun circulating throughout boardrooms across the globe.
It’s digital analytics and it’s certainly the new “it” thing that every company—big or small—is trying to do. However, it’s a struggle for many and with good reason. As with any emerging field, there are very few standards and even fewer experts to guide businesses in the right direction in order to produce any actionable results. But companies themselves are also impeding their transition into this new world.
Here are some of the issues we’re up against and how we can change our tactics to make the transition as smooth as possible.
One of the most common issues across industries is that companies often don’t have teams in place specifically for analytics. This is crucial. Your marketing team or IT team can’t, and shouldn’t be, analyzing data on the side. Why is that?
First, the skill sets required for these roles are vastly different. The job title of “analyst” is being thrown around a lot these days. Everyone’s an analyst, which makes it hard to determine who can actually analyze the data in order to help your teams make better decisions.
Second, digital analytics is a full-time job that requires a separate team of critical thinkers devoted to nothing but analyzing the data that is coming in and finding room for improvement. These gaps can then be filled by the appropriate teams.
Another issue I see is the lack of true analytical tools in companies. There are tools available at almost every price point that can help you dig into your data and will also create wonderful, non-Excel visualizations. The free version of Google Analytics can be extremely powerful and Google’s new visualization solution (Data Studio) offers up to five free reports which can be maximized to make stunning data viz, comparable to any high-end tool.
Unfortunately, companies are still leveraging Excel for much of their analyses. Analytical tools can connect directly to your database to ensure data freshness and save time over manual spreadsheet exports. Save time and energy by using these tools, especially ones you may be actively paying for, rather than using Excel because it’s “easier”. Accept change, learn new software and don’t be afraid if your charts look different (some may say ‘better’!) than they do in Excel.
Okay, you have a great team and great tools. Now what? Well, you just need some data. This should be easy enough. Maybe a little too easy…
There is simply too much data out there and we want to track all of it. This is a problem. Before implementing tracking of any kind on your site, it’s extremely important to have a measurement plan. You need to know the answers to these questions:
If you don’t know how to get started, there are plenty of templates you can use to get your measurement plan underway. Avinash Kaushik has a great blog post on creating a measurement model that you can find here.
It’s easy to track every little thing possible but will that really help anyone? What you don’t want is to provide your teams with static reports and dashboards which they’ll just refresh every week or month to make sure nothing breaks and everything “looks” good. Try to use data dynamically to help you answer questions as they come. That is what digital analytics should do.
Not sure where to start with your digital analytics? We can help!