It’s 8-8.30am Monday morning and like every Monday morning you need to extract some clear insights for your manager and share your update before the end of the day.
As Online marketers we have all experienced coming back after the weekend with our fingers crossed the optimisations and the campaigns deployed last week were successful and we will be able to share some positive news with the team/clients.
As you turn on your computer, open your analytics platform and start adding the filters, clicking the right date range, the picture is starting to be a lot clearer… the campaign is not really performing as expected.
Now at this point in time, you have few options (don’t worry we have all thought about these):
- Brushing the performance under the carpet and trying to find some good news story
- Claiming some external factors are impacting the performance
- Wearing the issue as some kind of badge of honour
- Or, for some, claiming to suddenly not feel well
What if by adapting to how you see a change, as either positive or negative, could impact your ability to change the future?
I am going to share with you my top tips and what you need to do, know and look for if you want to start extracting some meaningful insights. Which may help ensure Monday will not be the exhausting reporting task it might’ve been.
A positive trend or negative trend is not the what you need to look at
Everybody is able to see if something is going up or down, what is actually fascinating is understanding the reason behind the trend – the why and how. Understanding those critical questions could mean that you are able to stop a negative trend spreading further or continue to expand on a positive trend.
Personally, I actually prefer to analyse negative trends. If I am able to understand the reason for the downward trend I am then able to act and make informed optimisations. By all means, seeing a positive trend is equally as important and could mean that by expanding further we could grasp the low hanging fruit and consolidate the opportunities further.
Making a positive impact on the performance is important but being able to drive insights enables me to also learn and understand the situation/behaviour/pattern better which is what we all love to share.
Understanding the tracking is critical
In order to be confident with the results you need to make sure the tracking is accurate and working. Sudden drastic changes in patterns could be coming from a tag or tracking no longer being configured correctly. So before thinking something terrible is happening, start by checking your tracking and tags are in place. This can save you a lot of time trying to find the issues everywhere else.
Know what to look for and where to find the information
There is no secret, in order to be able to know where to look and what to search for, you need to know your objectives, the key metrics you want to report on and understand the reporting tools you are using. For those who are using Google Analytics, perhaps start by passing the Google Analytics exam. This will enable you to understand how to look and extract information. Analytics platforms are evolving constantly so we are all in the same boat.
Track what was done last week
Something as simple as keeping track of all the changes and optimisations done could help you pinpoint exactly where things went wrong and if the trend has been the result of any changes. If you know that some changes made have negatively impacted performance, be prepared to revert back and continue to monitor performance.
Check if any changes were deployed
Not everything could be due to the changes you have made within the marketing team. Be aware of the changes that could have been deployed around you which could be affecting the performance.
Be curious and ask yourself the right questions
If you don’t ask yourself any questions, it is very likely that the tools and platforms won’t give you any answers. This is probably the biggest mistake we make when using analytics tools. Whilst salesmen are great at telling us that the tool will revolutionise how you work, you need to ask yourself some fundamental questions in order to be able to seek the right information. Each question/answer will lead to another clue, each clue will lead to the next question and so on. The result is not what we are looking for with insights. We are looking at the reason/s why the result is what it is.
Be prepared to look at other options
Sometimes there is just not anything you can extract, so be prepared to investigate further. In my experience your manager/client will be a lot happier for you to investigate and spend more time if it’s deemed important, than trying to brush the analysis and sharing some approximate insights. Extracting insights takes time and it is important to note that some of the clues left behind might not result in any valid meaningful observations. So take the time to do your work well and if you need more time keep the communications open and share your concerns.
Backup your insights with data and source of the information
Once you’re done with extracting the single killer sentence, make sure you back up your insights with data. How you find the data, where is it, how can you access it if someone wants to verify or look for themselves.
Be transparent and accountable
We as marketers and consultants are requested to provide our view/recommendations. Nobody is perfect, however make sure you are accountable for any mistakes made. At Traffika, transparency and accountability is at the core of everything we do and can sometimes come at a price, however you will find that trust is perhaps the best value you can share with your manager/clients.
Use these points, develop your own strategy and you should be able to stop reporting and start delivering meaningful insights that will deliver great outcomes.
I understand that the ability to drive insights could also be linked to experience but remember we’ve all started somewhere. Keep testing, deploying but more importantly keep reporting and extracting the information that will enable you to learn and develop your understanding.