We live in the age of information. The world today may face all kinds of shortages, from food to clothing and shelter, but not data. That is one thing you will find in over abundance, no worries about that. We would like to give you a small example, you know, just to prove our point. A retail giant like Walmart deals with a million transactional data every single hour which gets imported to a database which is estimated to contain some 2.5 petabytes of data! Yes, you read that right!
Needless to say that big data is the biggest buzz word and every digital marketing seems to be humming on it with due diligence. But as a marketer, it is not very becoming of you to accumulate mountains of data and then finally perish under its load. All the eavesdropping by your social media listening tools will hardly come down to anything if you cannot derive an action point out of the data that you have just accumulated.
Yes, insight is the food for your marketing campaigns. Without an insight, a marketing plan cannot stand strong. An actionable, imperishable insight is where the aha! moment that happens while scaling through tons of data. And we know how much and how hard you are waiting for that eureka moment to happen to you. But the question is a colossal ‘how’. To find a befitting answer to your long standing question, kindly read on!
What are you looking for?
Start by asking yourself this simple question. As a marketer you should know what you are looking for; what information about your end user is crucial for the health of your online campaign. Knowing what you are looking for is your first step to clarity, in life as well as in digital marketing. Once you do that, you shall be able to master the numbers. Once you have gotten there you will not simply read numbers in the data any more than you read just words when reading books. You will begin to read meanings. So, step one is to define your objective.
Google Analytics or Facebook Insights?
Let’s talk in terms of a romantic connotation over here. Now imagine there are two men pursuing one woman, one stalks her over the internet and figures out everything that there is to know about her and decides to show up at her doorstep with a surprise he knows she can’t turn down. The other one, summons up the courage to directly ask her out and hears the tale from the horse’s mouth (probably under the starlit night sky). Who do you think will have a better chance of winning her heart? Well, the answer is, it depends!
But more importantly what’s the point that we are trying to make? There is more than one way of amassing data about your end user. Will the data lead you to an actionable insight? Depends on how appropriately you choose your tool for the task at hand! Sometimes you can merge the data that you collect from different sources and then try to make heads and tails out of it! So, step two is to define your tools and integrate them wherever possible.
Reporting or analysing?
Contrary to what you have been told so far, the two are not the same. As a digital marketer half the time goes in looking through bundles of reports whereas you should be spending twice the time analysing them. Understanding the difference between the two will take you a few steps closer to your aha! moment in data. Here’s what reporting looks like:
The line goes up and you are overjoyed, the line goes down and you know you are about to wear a frown. But you don’t just stop there now do you? If you do, then that’s reporting, and reports give you ideas not insights. But let’s say you go one step further to understand what resulted in the drop. The more you rack your analytical brains trying to make sense out of a bunch of number to freeze on the reason, the closer you are getting to figure out an actionable insight! Remember that reporting only tells you what happened and what did not. Insights happen when you are successfully able to figure out the ‘why’. So, that makes for step 3!
Have you arrived at a solid actionable plan, yet?
If not, it’s time to put one in place. You can follow a simple procedure to go about it, and it really is as easy as it sounds. Here’s how you can approach chunks of data and make sense out of it! Firstly, you would have to define the problem or the state of analysis, next, measure relevant data and then analyse correlations and patterns by leveraging your visualization and statistical skills. Then you can come up with an insight that will help you meet your targets better and you can keep up the A/B testing and monitoring to keep your tabs on your insight. If all goes according to the plan, then that’s good. If it doesn’t, you will have to tweak the process and see what went wrong.
What most digital marketers do (and here we are letting you on, on a final bit of a secret) they go about making their hypothesis, leaving enough rooms for the fill in the blanks. When the hypothesis is backed by solid analysis, it is bound to yield desirable results. So, let’s quickly recapitulate, shall we? First define what you want from your data sets, then determine what tools you want to use to generate the same, thirdly analyse your reports thoroughly as and when they come. Don’t just leave them at mere reporting and finally dish out an actionable plan from what you have just analysed. Keep up with the trial and error procedure for some time and soon you will find that aha! moment deriving out of massive data and then you can go about running and screaming ‘eureka’ just like Archimedes!