Understanding Digital Data Measurement

“What gets measured, gets managed.”

-Peter Drucker

Have you ever looked at a tiled mosaic up close? Each tiny tile represents one small color to the whole picture, and it’s not until you step back that you can see the image in its entirety. In data, each tile represents a unit of data. At close range you’re limited in the information you can gather, and what it appears to represent because you’re focused on the attributes of each individual tile. But when you step back to absorb the entirety of the information, you see the profoundly insightful patterns.

This analogy is exceptionally fitting when talking about analytics and the difference in knowing what the data you are gathering means and identifying how to make that data meaningful to your marketing strategy.

But the number one question to consider before jumping into the data is what are you hoping to learn from the numbers? What are your objectives and business goals? What do you expect to accomplish with your marketing strategies?

Before you respond with “I want more followers,” or “I want to make more sales,” I’m going to tell you to BE MORE SPECIFIC. Come up with something like; “I want to build an audience of online entrepreneurs who use live streaming along with their other social media channels to increase their audience size and build loyal customers.” Then you need to decide what audience and loyal customers mean to you. How do you categorize them? This clear-cut response will help you get more specific about targeting and what data you should gather. Otherwise, you’re collecting data that provides you with numbers that don’t take you anywhere and won’t help you steer your strategy.

I like the TV show, Deadliest Catch. So I compare analytics to a crab boat captain who’s steering his ship trying to find the crab. Now, he could drop his crab pots all over the ocean floor trying to find the crab. But if he sets 100 pots in 50 different areas, that’s a lot of time driving around, pulling pots, hoping to find the crab. If you aren’t using your analytics to drive your targeting and your message, This is precisely what you’re doing online.

But the captain doesn’t scout for crab this way. He relies on the knowledge from years’ past data–where are the crab if the weather is warm, where are they if the weather is cold, or what direction should they be traveling at this time of year. He uses the data he’s gathered in the past to make a pretty good guess of where he should start. And he changes his strategy based on the findings (data he’s gathering). And this is exactly what you should be doing with your analytics.

For instance, if you optimize for clicks or email signups, you’ll track differently than if you optimize for sharing. Depending on what your goal is, the data you gather will be different. The insights you gain should be actionable and give you the clues you need to make changes to help you reach your goals.

Metrics for the sake of metrics isn’t what you need. You should be telling a story, painting a mosaic with your data. In the following lessons and subsequent modules, we’ll be discussing how to gather analytics data and how to use them to drive your strategy and prove your ROI.