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The secret to a more fulfilling relationship with your web analyst.

Do you get the feeling your web analyst is missing the point? Rather than paying ridiculous amounts of money to an agency (for a report you’ll never read) help them navigate those deep dives into data with these tips and gain the insights you want.

Do you feel like your web analyst is doing a really good job of telling you stuff you already know? It can be painful to know they’ve spent days trawling through data only to present you with an epic spreadsheet of bulk numbers.

Well it is possible for you to get your web analyst to uncover meaningful insights, not just numbers – you just have to manage them a little…

At digital balance, we aim to provide enlightening experiences for our clients when presenting an analysis of their web data – and you should expect the same from your analyst (or agency) too. We aim to grasp the hidden nature of data through focusing on insights, and to reveal opportunities by relating everything back to an organisation’s goals. If you get the sense that your analyst is missing the point, then read on.

Here’s my top tips to help your analyst uncover insights, not just numbers:

How to help your analyst uncover insights

1. Be clear around your organisation’s goals.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but so often key goals aren’t clearly communicated or there’s an assumption that everyone’s on the same page.  While analysts can be really clear on the KPIs for a website, they’re often not as clear on how they tie back to the bigger picture.

By giving your analyst a general idea of the direction the ship is set to sail when they go on a deep-dive into data they will be empowered to recognise what is useful and what are red herrings.

2. Ask ‘why?’

Analysts can struggle to relate data to the big picture. We call it ‘analysis-paralysis’- the paralysis caused by dealing with data at a certain level and viewing it in all its granularity.

Challenging your analyst and asking them ‘why’ a trend is interesting forces them to look at the message beyond the numbers – not just the numbers themselves. This helps to bridge the gap between data analysis and useful insights, which is where your analyst should be aiming.

3. Map out the user journey.

If you haven’t already, map out your audience’s user journey and identify what role your digital presence needs to play at each point.  This will help your analyst understand what content has the highest value and then you can begin to build an engagement score. If you want to get really fancy, you can build an engagement score with Adobe Ad-Hoc Anlaysis.

4. Keep communication open.

Make sure you’re regularly checking-in and asking questions – you may notice something that’s interesting to your wider digital strategy. Having this discussion early can help figure out what’s worth ferreting down a hole for, and what is just going to get you both lost.

Make your analytics dollars count.

Web analysts should be the first choice to present to your major stakeholders, but usually aren’t. Paying massive dollars to an agency for the creation of an epic report that you’re never going to read is a clear waste of money. You’re investing in a specialist skill that’s hard to come by, so make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.  It also elevates the importance of data driven decisions and helps to resource the team well.

And for anyone that said that data can’t be entertaining, spare a few minutes to watch this amazing TED talk by animated statistics guru Hans Rosling as he brings global trends in health and economics to life.

Do you have any other tips for helping web analysts uncover the juicy insights? Let us know in the comments below.

The content and advice contained in this post may be out of date. Last updated on March 7, 2014.

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