I get asked often about the current state of analytics within digital marketing. In a world obsessed with measurement, how close are we to getting the information that we need to make good decisions. Although it seems silly that is really the crux of the question – do we have the information we NEED to make good decisions?
Ultimately, the challenge of analytics today is not getting the information. The information is cheap and readily available. Our problem is getting the right information to make the best decisions. You see, when I can open up an Analytics dashboard and see dozens of metrics in real time, the challenge becomes creating a meaningful narrative out of that data. Data collection is easy. Story telling with data is still really, really hard.
As humans, we aren’t made to be able to process big numbers well. But we are made for stories. We understand things that have narrative arc. As you begin reporting on analytics, the challenge is finding the story. Are people leaving the funnel? Why are they leaving? Where are users coming from? Why are they coming from there? Can you help recreate more of what is working to be even more successful? Each of these questions is answered not simply with a line in a table, but a story of each individual user.
So the state of analytics is one of “Yes, it can be tracked, but so what?”. Until you answer the “so what?”, you’re not really using your analytics in a meaningful way.