Action from Analytics

Normally I spend ages pondering what I should add to this blog and what I should research or why you might be interested in the inane ramblings of some dude in Helsinki who thinks he knows one or two things about Analytics.

Well today I didn’t. I just thought I’ll write what comes to mind. On the top of my mind right now is cultural change in business and communication. (Woa, what an interesting bloke I am! I probably should get out more.)

Many clients and prospects have the same issue since before I wrote my book and it’s still the biggest problem today. They aren’t getting things done that lead to more money. Analytics still isn’t in many cases paying for itself and at the root of the problem is that people don’t understand how to take action on the data they have.

Action comes from good communication

If you say “There were 100,000 visits but 40% of them bounced. We need to improve the ratio of people that are engaged with our content, improve the number of pages viewed per minute, increase or conversion rate and reduce our process abandonment or we’re seriously going to reduce our Net Promoter Score” one of two things will happen.

  1. Best case scenario, people will scratch their chins and murmur things like… Ok, nice, I agree, erm, anyone fancy a pint? or
  2. Worst case scenario, You’ll be completely ignored because no-one understands what you just said

The alternative is to speak in the language your listener understands.

The same sentence could be “You know if each visitor to our website was worth a euro we lost potentially €40,000 today. I know how we could make half of that back.”

That would lead to this;

  1. Best case scenario…. Ha if you can do that I’ll give you half!
  2. Worst case scenario…. Yeah right wise guy, how do you think you’ll do that?

Either way it forced a response that gives you more opportunity to explain your ideas and the carrot is there. The €40,000 per day is something that rouses curiosity. Of course it’s not the only thing that drives action from analytics, there is the whole cultural aspect and good communication is just one thing. But that would take more than the 25 minutes I spent writing this to explain. Pint anyone? :)

Steve is a well known analytics specialist, author and speaker. A pioneer since 2002, he established one of the first European web analytics consultancies (Aboavista), later acquired by Satama (now Trainers’ House) in 2006. In 2008 he wrote his first book Cult Of Analytics published on May 14th 2009. He currently serves as CEO at Quru and has presented and keynoted web analytics topics across Europe. These include The Internet Marketing Conference (Stockholm), The Search Engine strategies (Stockholm), IIH (Copenhagen), the IAB Finland (Helsinki), Media Plaza (Amsterdam), Design For Conversion (Amsterdam) The eMetrics Summit (London, Munich, Stockholm), Divia (Helsinki) in addition to sitting on dozens of panels.

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8 comments on “Action from Analytics
  1. Emer Kirrane says:

    Couldn’t agree more. There is nothing worse than someone deciding they have to “educate a civilian” in a meeting. If the client doesn’t know what the metric definitions are, don’t burden them, just speak their language and communicate the results effectively.

  2. Kamal says:

    Totally agree Steve. All recommendations need to be put into business speak instead of geek/analytics speak :)
    Let me know whenever you pass by Abu Dhabi to catch up!

  3. In the spirit of this most excellent post, I have absolutely nothing genius in mind to say but instead of not commenting I am just going to start writing.
    This is why I love being in web analytics so much. My facility with numbers and metrics is worth nothing without an accompaniment of dexterity in communicating effectively to my audience. And yes, I definitely fancy a pint. :)

  4. Speaking in words that your client understands is always important, whatever situation you’re in. Though it can occasionally be good to wow them with complex technical terms when you’re selling.

  5. Spooky… I am giving the exact same presentation tomorrow at Webtrends Engage in London! We Web Analysts have forced our language, our way of describing what was going on on the site instead of learning to speak the true language of the business.

  6. @exxx
    Agreed, I saw another great analogy you forwarded on via twitter the other day that demonstrates the point;

    “last click attribution is like crediting your first girlfriend with marrying your wife”.

    It’s memorable and will get anyone interested in what you’re talking about and how you’ll relate the subjects.

    @kamal
    I don’t get to Abu Dhabi much (once in the past year) but I’ll be sure to look you up if I do.

    @Michael
    Thx for the comment and if I am near Madisson anytime soon I’d be delighted to sample a local brew.

    @Spend
    Agree, though wowing them with words they understand is better in my view.

    @Jacques
    Great minds think alike! :)

  7. That’s funny because this morning I had exactly same discussion when talking about what should we put in Senior management online dashboard – that there was no point in showing conversion rate, bounce rate, drop out rate but the things that matter most for these guys: Value, cost (per sale, request, support…), satisfaction.
    First, if they see a metric followed by a $ or EUR sign (or whatever is your currentcy) – that’s very likely they will look at it and understand it.
    Secondly, it answers essential questions they are interested in:
    – How much money do we make?
    – How efficiently do we spend money?
    – Are our customers / users happy?

    It may sounds like a no-brainer but how many of us still create dashboards with lotsa tables, pie charts and percentages?
    Come on, raise your hands! 😉
    I admit it is easier said than done but that what we all should do.

    @Jacques: very good presentation at WT Engage – you really delivered!

  8. Michael says:

    I LOVE the example in the article.

    Anyone got any more that can be used to “translate” to senior management?

    A great article would be a top 20 ways to “translate” Analytics terms to management :)

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