Over the last few years we have all been hearing about big data. In order for us to really understand big data and the benefits, big data needs to be turned into actionable data, with a clear focus on the purpose, insights, actions, and resulting outcomes. To make data actionable, it’s important to know why we want to capture data and how we want to use it to begin with. It’s about usefulness and intelligence built into the way we collect, process, understand, store and make improvements based on the data effectively.

We all hear about the importance of analytics and we know there is data to be collected from everywhere. But do we know the right data to monitor for actionable insight?

Some of the questions I aim to answer with my analytics are

  • how to improve for higher conversions
  • how to make informed marketing strategy decisions
  • how to drive more engagement from content
  • how to get more traction on social media
  • how to improve rankings in search engine marketing

Once you have decided on what outcomes you are looking to improve, you will have a better idea of where to look.

Focus on conversion metrics and less on vanity metrics. Avoid focusing on how many visits you will get from certain tactics. If we were to look at how many of those visitors completed an action, then we can make some informed decisions. The more we can focus on the person and what action they take and not their visit, the better we can start to plan with a purpose. Always keep in mind it’s not about how much data you have; it’s about how you use that data to your advantage.

A Few Examples of Using Data to Your Advantage

  • Track sites that have constantly driven visitors to your website. Aim to become more visible on their sites through continuous content contribution or by making sure that the pages from their domain that pass on traffic to your website will continuously get traffic (by helping them rank better, where you can).
  • Look at your site’s top landing pages, specifically those with low engagement rates. Focus your attention on the most important pages first.
  • Find sites that are similar to the websites sending targeted traffic to you that converts. Focus on building more brand visibility from those sites.
  • There is great potential with site search data, by giving you insight into what your visitors want from your website when they get there and if they can’t find what they’re looking for.

Vanity metrics are the metrics that are easy for us to track, look big on the surface make us feel good, but don’t provide any real insights into the business and its performance.

Be sure to focus your time and energy on actionable analytics.