How To Build an Insightful Data Report

Analysing your data is one thing but presenting it is where you can shine. Unfortunately creating insightful data reports is not as easy so here are some tips on how to rock it.

No matter what digital property you have, you will face the same goals when it comes to presenting your data. It is viable to build up your report to save time and support decisions for those who will read those reports. We have covered the topic from a strategic perspective before, but this time we will focus on a more practical approach.

Betting on a tool is hard as there are so many of them. Most people instantly think that presenting data means a presentation, but it is not like that. Offline presentation tools like desktop PowerPoints and stuff might be a good choice for a strategic meeting or an annual insights coverage, but it is the worst choice for an on-going reporting. It’s not interactive; it only shows data gathered when the presentation is produced, and it’s only available offline (even if you share it).


Your Presentation Tool Must Be Online And Up To Date

The tool you pick must have some key features:

  • It must be available online anytime
  • It must present live data
  • It must be interactive so timeframes and data ranges or even charts can be played with if the reader of the report decides to do so
  • It must have an easy-to-do approach on creating charts, flows, processes to deliver good insights
  • It must be connected to a tracking or metric system so data can flow in easily
  • Nice bonus but it should be great to save some time for the reporter so the report can be created once and the structure can be reproduced with a few clicks

Google Analytics is the widely used free metric platform for SMEs. We strongly recommend using Google Data Studios as well as it delivers the same features highlighted above. It is easy to use; the report-buildup is quick, it refreshes data real-time, it is interactive, it is online and shareable, and you only need to create the report’s structure once and can multiply it anytime for other digital properties. There are other 3rd party services that use Google Analytics as a source, but usually, they are not as customizable or not free like Google Data Studio.

Build Up Your Report

Now you have the tool to present; you need to build up your report from scratch. Ideally, all data you have is flowing in the report and creating charts is just a few clicks. The technical details on how to build up your report are different on every tool you choose, but fundamentally it is the same: you select a data source, then pick metrics, then setup dimensions, and you are good to go with a descriptive chart design. You then multiply the charts and organise the report. The question is what should be the best order. There is a straight line you should follow with that.

Every business is different, but everyone has a digital platform with some goals and objectives. The first part of your report – let’s say the first page – should focus on the big picture. How’s your site performing regarding big numbers? How crowded is your site? Who’s coming in and out? What’s the mobile percentage? What’s the bounce rate? What are the pages / sessions? These are important questions and metrics that can describe the big picture which is the overall site performance.

Your most important KPIs should follow the structure as next. Is your site focused on e-commerce? Put the goal conversions on the first page as it’s the single most important metric you need to take an eye on. Are you a media company? Put the share event tracking on the first page to see how viral is your content. Are you a consulting company? Put new visitors up to the first page to see how many new prospects you have. Determine your goals and objectives which define your most important KPIs and put those figures at the start of the report to get the quick look on your success.

Now everything else can follow as the rest is totally deep-dive and sometimes unrelated. Build up the rest of the report, so it helps you to describe the causes behind the big picture metrics. If you are a media company, focus on content on the second page. It may contain the most important topics on your site. If you are in the e-commerce industry, you should focus on the performance of your funnels here, that can describe the goal conversions you showed on the first page. It is totally up to the business and their KPIs what are the main and miscellaneous figures.

The end of the report should be a collection of interesting facts you have observed, trends that can lead to the future or just deep-dived insights. You can showcase figures on the visitors here or some referring traffic insights. Maybe you have an ad campaign connected to your data source, you should put that here too.

Clarity For Better Understanding

There are tweaks where you can support the better understanding of your reports.

  • Add descriptive titles to your charts. Avoid definitions as titles. Instead of naming the chart just “bounce rate” use “The amount of users leaving the site in the first X seconds”
  • If needed, further explain what we can see on the chart
  • Group your charts into topics: “How deep visitors go to your site” can contain different figures from pages/sessions, frequency figures, engagement metrics and much more
  • Add the learnings if needed directly in the reports, even if it looks simple just by looking at the data itself. Understand that it may look simple for the data expert, but not for the decision maker
  • Design the whole report and use branding – this makes the report closer to the reader

Presenting your data shouldn’t be hard if you are using the right tools to build a report that enables strategic decision-making with your data and insights. At the end of the day, the decision maker will have the last say based on the report.

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Digital Success: Automation & Segmentation Increases Profit [Free Download]

Our first issue of Digital Success was primarily distributed to our clients and our agency partners as a print magazine. The original purpose of the publication is to act as a medium to let our clients know the how marketing analytics continues to shape today’s marketing standards and impart actionable insights they can apply to their business through the process of storytelling.

The welcoming reception to our first issue of Digital Success inspired us to create and continuously improve more and more downloadable content aimed to educate and guide. We’ve now gone full circle, and we’re finally back to our roots with the second issue of Digital Success.

This issue of Digital Success delves deeper into automation, segmentation and personalisation and how these industry’s trends can be utilised to grow your business. Included in this e-magazine are articles from Walter Analytics’ in-house content creators and consultants imparting you our own stories about:

  • Leveraging automation, segmentation and personalisation
  • Interpreting data better
  • Utilising automation processes to increase your sales
  • Client success story
  • Our top tool choice review

Download Digital Success: Automation & Segmentation Increases Profit now!

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Facebook Instant Articles: Why Use It and How To Track It

Go where your readers are – this is the main cause for using Facebook’s Instant Articles.

Everyone should become a media company – this is the mantra said by marketers for years now. No matter you are a brand, a company, ecommerce, you need to broadcast content to your readers. Facebook’s Instant Articles is a solution for broadcasters. But why should you use it and how to measure your performance?

What is Facebook Instant Articles?

Content on caffeine

If you have a blog or any platform where you usually publish content, you can use Facebook’s Instant Articles (FBIA). FBIA works like any other shared article on Facebook, the difference is that it is Instant and comes directly from your blog or any other broadcasting site you have. FBIA appear immediately on the Timeline, if the user clicks on it, there’s no waiting for load-up, it appears instantly on the device used for reading. It is also more interactive, responsive and has its own design and customized appearance.

Go where your readers are

Why you need to use it? It is simple. When you share a content on Facebook, let’s say your blog’s article shared on your Facebook page, users will less likely to click on it if it’s not an FBIA. It is slower, needs time to load-up and diverts the users out from Facebook. FBIA however lets them stay on Facebook, continue to browse on their own Timeline but in the meantime, lets the broadcaster (you) keep the sort-of-original branding of their company.

It is also a better solution to reach more people. Users don’t need to go to your site, they just consume your content straight from Facebook. In the end, it is better to share your content where your audience is.

How do you measure Facebook Instant Articles performance?

Insights that matter most

Facebook Instant Articles are articles shared through your Facebook Page so you can measure their performance directly on the Facebook Page’s Insights. Of course, these insights are just the ones that matter the most.

You measure your FBIA performance with three important metrics:

• Clicks: how many users clicked on the article.
• Time Spent: how much time spent on the reading of the article
• Scroll Depth: the amount of percentages users scrolled down in the article

If you think about it, these are the most important metrics to define your content’s performance. Comments and shares are measured as any Facebook updates’ metric obviously.

For most publishers, these insights however not enough. Also, most of the broadcasters have their own analytics ecosystem in place already. Fortunately, Facebook lets another analytics providers in.

Third-party integration

Most of the analytics platforms work the same: users add a tracking code to a digital property and the analytics platform tracks the activity on the property with the tracking code.

It works the same with Facebook Instant Articles. You can insert your analytics tracking code from most of the analytics platforms to your Facebook Instant Articles. Facebook supports almost any platforms, including Google Analytics, Chartbeat, Adobe, Nielsen, SimpleReach, ComScore and many more. There is also an API that you can use to track the metrics on your own.

Content that matters

Content distribution is a new trend in content marketing. It is simple why: content should be shared where your audience catches it. It is effortless and more efficient. With Facebook Instant Articles this is possible and you don’t need to compromise on performance measurement either.

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The Dark Side of A/B Testing: How to Test Your Site with a Bazooka

Testing a website is the most popular passing time for digital analytics experts. However, testing the right thing is harder than ever.

Website optimisation relies heavily on A/B or multivariate testing with digital analytics tools. However, if it comes down to testing, most of the experts test only minor comparisons on a site. But testing should go forward only if you test highly tangible differences; this is where you can learn something and open new frontiers. So instead of burning through your site with a bunch of matchsticks, use a bazooka instead and start some real flames.

Test What Matters and Test Less

Real productivity comes when you leave your comfort zone

You have read this many times we guess; your life starts after you leave your comfort zone. Well, that is the same with marketing. Technology made us busier and helped to boost our productivity, but it also killed a lot in the details. Meetings, chat, endless notifications, these are the time killers, and we haven’t even mentioned social media. Being busy is nothing, being productive is something. If you get lost quickly in the little details, non-productive testing comes up in the digital analytics space, and you find yourself in the situation where you test two ad copies with minor changes between and drawing conclusions where there is none, only pure randomness.

Test less and test what matters

Now that you have stayed away from little details, you can focus on the real issues. Test what matters only, and test way-way less. By stopped paying attention to things that do not matter in the details, you can focus on testing the important stuff.

Testing, its name is an experiment. And most of the scientific experiments are dead ends for 99% of their time, producing non-accurate results. In 1%, the science team has a eureka moment, usually when they slip away from the original focus of the experiment. This is the same with digital analytics testing when you test small changes on a site; you usually end of testing random outcomes. But when you test with tremendous tangible differences, you might will learn something on your business and customers.

Be Patient with your RPG

Science is a game of patience and marketers are not scientists. There was a study with an investment firm; they concluded that their most successful investors are either dead or non-active. The reason for this is because live and active traders are impatient and burn their positions with their little actions. It’s the same with testing. So, when you set up a testing experiment, you have your goals, you made a tangible difference to the chamber and started the testing.

Don’t even look at the test until you have reached your goal. Don’t change the variables. Don’t change the tested markers. Don’t even open the testing chamber. Be patient. Draw conclusions only when the testing has finished, and you have all your figures.

Remember: testing needs a perfectly clean environment

Most experts fail in their tests because the environment they are testing in is imperfect. The site that they are testing has huge usability issues. The testing material isn’t ready yet. There is nothing to be tested. The traffic is not there so the figures are so small that drawing conclusions would be simply just guessing in the cloud.

Be ready first and sort your stuff out. Only test when you need to develop even further. Further means, you already have a pretty solid ground: a good site, with a high number of visits and only minor usability issues.

All in all, these are the simple steps you need to follow when you do testing:

  • Test with an RPG: test only tangible vast differences
  • Test only when you have scientist mindset: be patient and be ready to fail
  • Test only in clean environment: your lab/site should be stable and established

Learn more about A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing. Visit the Insights Academy Today!

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Is Digital Analytics as a Standalone Expertise Dead?

Digital analytics was a standalone expertise in recent years. Some companies built groups around it with analytics experts; others hired analytics professionals to act as a support for their marketing team. Now it has been changed, and it’s a natural evolution for the industry.

Digital analytics is no longer a single expertise you can build on as an employee and companies are no longer in need of a single digital analytics expert. This is the nature of the evolution for analytics, and it is highly beneficial for everyone. The new setup has high demands for everyone: digital analytics is a must to know, and everyone who has any single authority in marketing has to know some analytics knowledge.

Everyone is an analytics expert

Back to basics

As a marketing expert, you should be aware of the key performance indicators anyway. These are metrics that justifies your marketing choices and demonstrate your success undeniably because they are hard figures. As a marketer living in the digital world, the core metrics have enhanced with various new ones from the digital analytics world. Meaning now, everyone who makes relevant marketing or business choices should know something about digital analytics.

This is the state when digital analytics has grown up finally. It has happened with social media; you can’t sell services now only by updating social channels. You should be expert in content, marketing and digital. Analytics is no longer a special place too.

Working with massive data sets and connecting separate sources: still an expertise

Of course, you won’t be an expert in big data but let’s face it: most companies don’t need massive big data knowledge, they just know how their funnels work regarding metrics. When a business has more sources of data and the number of files they are getting is beyond traditional digital analytics tools: they still need a good specialised expert in digital analytics. But most companies don’t need this knowledge..


Learn the basics or teach your staff

The basics of digital analytics can be taught via online academies or internal training. It is accessible and cost-effective to find out more. Now that this is not a unique place to visit, you can make an impact on learning the basics of digital analytics. This is what you can do:

  1. Follow current digital analytics experts and listen what they say, learn their knowledge
  2. Hire an external training professional to teach you the basics of analytics
  3. Attend online courses or visit online digital analytics academies, the resource for knowledge is vast and mostly free or cost little only
  4. Hire someone who has demonstrated digital analytics knowledge and let the new one teach the others via internal training
  5. Start to cooperate with an external digital analytics expert

There are also added benefits once you mastered the basics of digital analytics:

  1. You will become more responsible regarding your business choices as you now know how to measure against them
  2. You will become more confident working with figures and experts in data
  3. You will get great eureka moments and insights from your audiences as you deep-dive in figures

Remember, if something is accessible for everyone, then it is not a special expertise anymore. The basics of digital analytics are easy to learn and follow, and if you think you can outsmart the best analytics experts, you can still upgrade your knowledge.

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