Archives for July 2012

Dealing with Short-Term Memory: Creating a Culture of Analytics

We all make assumptions from time to time; sometime we state them clearly and sometimes we just assume in our own head. We then operate under those assumptions.  In context of Analytics, one such assumption is that everybody knows what the goals and KPIs are.  We might have defined them on the onset of the program, campaign, beginning of month, quarter, year etc., but once those are defined we start to assume that everybody knows about them and is operating keeping those goals in mind.

Well the truth is that people have short term memory. They do forget and then start to interpret the KPIs, defined based on those goals, in their own way.  As the Analytics head/analyst/manager, it is your job to constantly remind stakeholders of the goals and KPIs.  All it takes in one or two extra slides in your weekly/monthly reports/presentation to remind people about what the goals are and how you are measuring them.

Needs, requirements etc. do change too and when that happens it your job to reassess the goals and KPIs to make sure they are still valid.  If not then you need to bring up the issue in front of all the stakeholders. You need to drive redefining the KPIs.

 

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Standard Definitions of Metrics: Creating a Culture of Analytics

Lack of standard definitions for the metrics causes people to report different numbers for supposedly same metrics, leading to confusion and total lack of trust in data.  No trust in data means that nobody is going to use the data to make strategic decisions and there goes all your efforts to create a culture of Analytics.

Having standard definitions is not as easy as it sounds.  It starts from you and your team having a clear understanding on how to calculate various metrics.   Some seemingly simple metrics can be calculated in various different ways and all of those ways might be right but getting one standard way of calculating those removes any confusion and gets everybody on the same page.

Let’s take an example and see how many ways you can calculate “COST”.  How do you calculate cost?

In case of Search Marketing, I am sure you are taking actual amount paid to Google or Bing. Right?  So that is actual media spend. But what about the cost you pay to your agency for running and optimizing those campaigns?  Where do they factor in? If all you are doing is Media cost then what about Display Advertising?  Is your Agency commission part of your cost? This agency is running and optimizing the campaigns so I am sure you are using that all up cost.  What about your internal email lists? What is the cost of that?   What is the cost of Social Media campaigns?  How do you calculate those? To have one definition of Cost you should calculate it in the same way across all media but most likely you have different way of calculating cost for different media/tactic.

Some more examples:

  1.  Conversion Rate? Is it measured in terms of visits, visitors, new visitors, non-customers or customers?
  2. How do you calculate a bounce? Is it page views based? Is it action based? Is it time based?

If your team is not clear on how to do this then how can you expect others in your organization to understand these metrics and trust the data. Creating a culture of Analytics requires trust in data and that trust requires standard definitions.

 

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