analytics-framework

Hello, I Am Analytics. And That's Not

  |  April 22, 2013   |  Comments

It's time for some clarity about what we really mean when we talk about analytics.

The other day it was rainier and colder than it should be in mid-April and I pointed my remote at Netflix and found a media relic from the Pre-Cambrian age of television. It happened to be season one of "Saturday Night Live." It was like stepping back in time - to a place where John Belushi was alive and Chevy Chase was really, really cool.

For those who've never seen these video relics, here is the reference: Mr. Chase was so very cool and confident then that he said to the television audience: "Good evening. I'm Chevy Chase. And you're not." He's been eating dinner on that line for about 40 years now.

Closer to our present, it's important to note that, in an environment characterized by competing visions of digital marketing, some of the lines have become blurred. And because of this, clear expectations about analytics have become somewhat elusive for some marketers.

It's time for some clarity about what we really mean when we talk about analytics.

So: I Am Analytics. And That's Not.

I am analytics. I am data collection and reports. I am trend lines. I am historical. I am based either on standard reports or configured reports. I need to be planned in advance and properly tagged and collected. My data is displayed in dashboards. If you are planning on using me to make decisions about the value of your content, you need to perform the following:

  • Understand how to work your way through my interface.
  • Accept "reporting" as my output.
  • Be prepared to interpret the data you see.
  • Remember I am a tracking tool only.
  • Provide data and leave the process of change to real people.

I am analytics. And here is what I am not:

  • I am not an automatic insight engine - I need people to do that, using data I provide.
  • I cannot tell what your business is attempting to accomplish. You need to know this on your own.
  • I cannot change your content. Only you can change your content (after you decide which content worked better based on my reporting).
  • I am not about "asking questions on the fly." That's not analytics. That's "business intelligence."
  • I do not provide answers to business questions all by myself. I can only supply data on user activity. A real person in the physical world may need to interpret my data and create natural language analysis (and presentations) such that my data makes sense for the business.
  • I am not a process. Process is an important part of the marketer's optimization exercise, but I do not embody a process.
  • I am not related to artificial intelligence. AI may one day mature and become marketable as a business service - pulling together massive amounts of data, interpreting, making decisions, creating changes in content without much human involvement. But it's not here yet. And it isn't "analytics" as we know it today.

Allow me to interrupt.

A pattern has emerged.

Analytics is reporting. Reporting gets the business about halfway toward optimization and is indispensable. It's currently based on a fairly wide range of tools in the marketplace. But expert humans are needed to make use of the data provided by analytics.

We keep coming back to people: us. We keep coming back to ourselves; and what we need to do for our businesses. Analytics tools are powerful. But putting hype aside, they are really just data collection and display engines. People have to bridge the gap between what analytics is; and what it is not.

Analytics image on home page via Shutterstock.

Tags:

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, August 29 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Edwards

Andrew is a digital marketing executive with 20 years' experience servicing the enterprise customer. Currently he is Managing Partner at Efectyv Digital, a digital marketing consulting company, and Managing Partner at Technology Leaders, a web analytics consulting firm he founded in 2002. He combines extensive technical knowledge with a broad strategic understanding of digital marketing and especially digital measurement, plus hands-on creative in the form of the written word, user-experience and traditional design.

His practice is dedicated to building customers' digital marketing success and helping them save money during the process.

He is a writer, a public speaker and a visual artist as well.

He writes a regular column about analytics for ClickZ, the 2013 Online Publisher of the Year. He wrote the groundbreaking "Dawn of Convergence Analytics" report which was featured at the SES show in New York, and the second report in the series will be featured at the same show in San Francisco.

In addition to speaking at SES, he has presented at eMetrics; and his session was voted one of the top ten presentations at the DMA show in Las Vegas. He is speaking again at the DMA in Chicago in the fall of 2013.

In 2004 Andrew co-founded the Digital Analytics Association and is currently a Director Emeritus. He has designed analytics training curricula for business teams and has led seminars on digital marketing subjects.

He was also an adjunct professor at The Pratt Institute where he taught Advanced Computer Graphics for three years. Andrew is also an award-winning, nationally exhibited painter.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Marketing Technology Analyst
      Marketing Technology Analyst (Alfred Music) - Van NuysMarketing Technology Analyst DEFINITION Under the general/direct supervision of the head of...
    • Chinese Speaking Copywriter
      Chinese Speaking Copywriter (Agora Financial) - BaltimoreDo you speak Chinese? Are you interested in economics and finance or want to learn more...
    • Video/Digital Media Designer
      Video/Digital Media Designer (Confidential) - Delray BeachFull service corporate video production studio looking to hire a creative, and highly...