This year, challenge yourself to up your digital analytics game, whether you're new to the field or literally wrote the book on it.
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't set any New Year's resolutions for myself. This year, however, I wanted to do something a little different; I also want to propose a challenge to anyone reading this.
In addition to any self-betterment activities you already have planned, I challenge you to up your digital analytics game. It doesn't matter if you've written a book on Google Analytics or don't yet know the difference between a pageview and a visit. I challenge you to set aside a few work hours (and maybe even one or two at home) to dig deeper into the giant box of data to which you have access.
For those who are industry specialists or have written a book on digital analytics, I assume you know what areas you need to explore and where you can make improvements. But for the readers that are newer to digital analytics or don't yet deal with analytics data everyday, here are a few things to start exploring:
1. Understand the Business Objectives & Strategies
The first thing to get ahold of is what your organization (not just your department) is trying to achieve with its website. The complexities of this will be more difficult depending on the size of your organization, but meet with others in different departments and talk about what initiatives they have planned and what they hope to achieve.
By covering this step first, you will have something tangible to think about in the next step. You will also have the potential to become a valuable resource for connecting activities that are currently siloed and disparate.
2. Understand Your Analytics Tool
If you don't deal with data everyday, it's not uncommon for you to get lost in your analytics tool, or worse, have misguided views of your data. You don't need to dive into the technical documentation of the tool, but a general overview of how you can capture and access various pieces of data will go a long way.
Spend some time getting acquainted with how the tool works and how to navigate it effectively. Google Analytics created an Analytics Academy, which is a good place to start, with videos and additional resources for more in depth learning.
While some of the content is directly related to the GA interface or tracking methods, the Analytics Academy doesn't require much time and is still valuable for those using other analytics tools. As you go through this step, think about how you would track the business objectives from step one and compare it to your actual implementation.
3. Ask Questions
This holds the greatest potential for actual business impact. Many marketing departments rely solely on their analytics departments and agency partners to create tracking frameworks, reporting dashboards, etc.
In my experience, this isn't the best scenario for client success. Yes, you will get some improvements and new features over time, but not all partners have a complete picture of what needs to be tracked or how reports are being consumed. If this sounds like your organization, try to initiate more of a two-way street with your analytics teams.
By asking questions, each party will gain a better understanding of the other's challenges and where improvements can be made. As a pleasant side effect, each group will push one another further, elevating both parties.
I truly hope you take up this challenge and increase your digital analytics mind power. I strongly believe that any time you invest in advancing your analytics knowledge will multiply your value to your organization and bring more success to your daily efforts.
Want to learn more?
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Robert Miller is a Senior Analyst at Search Discovery. He is actively involved in industry organizations, such as the Analysis Exchange and the Digital Analytics Association.
With the Analysis Exchange, he helps non-profits capitalize on their website data, and educates aspiring digital analysts about the foundation of digital analytics, from the implementation of a digital analytics tool to performing analysis and making data-driven recommendations for organizations.
Hong Kong, May 5-6, 2015
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