How to find meaning in data

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Hi, my name is Catherine Dix, I’ve worked at Webprofits since 2010, I engage and consult regularly with clients, and as my role has grown, I work closely with our team to ensure we are delivering insights and value for our clients.

Today I am going to talk about finding meaning in your data and give you the questions we ask ourselves to get actionable insights.

To start with, there are two things that require tackling with your actual reporting process.

If your digital marketing team or agency are spending their time copying and pasting monthly stats, which show lots of numbers but little insights, then you’re missing an opportunity and with a few tweaks, you could be getting way more out of your data and reporting process.

First step, is to spend time upfront automating your data we use a tool called Supermetrics, but there are lots out there.

Doing this will free up your team every month to actually analyse and dig into the data to find opportunities or areas that require improvement.

By automating your reporting you are giving yourself and your team the time needed to get the insights to plan action and optimise.

The next step to take is to simplify how many metrics you’re reporting on and to stop reporting on those vanity metrics.

There are literally hundreds of metrics you could be looking at, but there’s just not enough time in the day to be across them all.

Find a North Star Metric or 3-4 metrics that will really make an impact to your business growth and focus on and report on those.

All of the other metrics should only be looked into if you find challenges as until then, they won’t give you much insight.

We all want growth, and for each month’s results to be better than the last and significantly better than the year before, just make sure your judgement and interpretation of the data is not getting clouded by vanity metrics and that you just focus on the metrics that matter.

Having taken these two steps to simplify your reporting process, now let’s take a look at how you can get these insights.

Here are some of the questions we ask ourselves when we look at data, and questions you can use to ask your team each month to get actionable insights:

  • What was the single tactic or strategy that had the biggest impact on results?
  • Which channel had the best performance?
  • What was different?
  • What was the biggest learning from something that didn’t work well?
  • What channel has the most opportunity?
  • Are there any notable changes or differences month-on-month or year-on-year? Why?

Data, numbers and reports can be overwhelming, as there is just so much data available, but the key takeaway here is:

  • Automate your reporting and stop looking at vanity metrics so you can concentrate your time and energy on getting insights and asking the right questions.
  • Providing valuable insights and giving meaning to the data, is something we as a company are continually working on and something undoubtedly we as a team can always improve on, but it’s a challenge we really enjoy.

Would love to hear any hacks or tips that you have on how to get the best out of your data.

Catherine Dix

Catherine Dix

Head of Digital Consulting at Webprofits
As the Head of Digital Consulting, Catherine is focused on the quality and excellent delivery of services for all of Webprofits clients.

Catherine is responsible for managing the consulting team and our service capability across Australia, Singapore and the US.

With over 8 years experience in Digital Marketing, Catherine is adept at advising C-suite executives on how to build successful digital strategies for growth.

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