We’ve all got fond memories of being told stories when we were kids (and some of us still now). Getting involved with the characters and sharing their journeys with them. That’s just how sharing the insights from data should be, admittedly the characters and journeys are a little different but you don’t always need dragons to keep your audience gripped.

The growth in popularity of data analysis along with the ever expanding ways it can be applied is no secret and is certainly being utilised by more and more businesses. All these good intentions are frequently coming undone when it comes to actually extracting the useful insights from all the data that’s been diligently collected. The solution to this? Planning! Yup we have to go all the way back to the beginning and your Measurement Plan. The earlier you think how you’re going to use the data the easier it is to set up the tracking, tool(s) and reports to tell the stories relevant to your business.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now analytics and marketing have moved away from being channel focused to customer centric and right there are your stories. It’s unlikely you’ll have just one type of customer, even on a basic level there are new and returning visitors. Without having to dig much deeper there is gender, age, socio-economic groups, purchasing history and so on. You get the idea. Each of your customer groups has had their own journey with a beginning, middle and end while interacting with your brand. The trick is to identify as many of these possible journey touch points, and what role they play, in your planning stage.

The tried and tested way to do this is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes, how do you interact with your favourite brands in terms of researching, buying, customer support and community? The chances are you’re behaviour isn’t miles off your customers’. Whether it’s marketing campaigns, devices, your site and offline behaviour these are all the areas you’ll want tracking and reporting on. Universal Analytics is brilliant at putting the person at the heart of the analysis but remember the tool needs to fit your stories not the other way round.

Once you’re happy with your initial planning then taking some time to plan how to implement your analytics is another crucial step. If you do this with your reports and who’s receiving them in mind you’ll definitely reap the rewards in terms of time and insights further down the line. Setting up the right custom dimensions and metrics to reflect your customers’ behaviour will make it much easier to get straight to the relevant information later. Also at this stage it’s worth considering using a tag management tool so you can add and refine tagging easily and quickly in the future, allowing you to be much more responsive to insights, and the ongoing new questions they’ll throw up, as you go.

With all the above in place you’ll quickly see the benefits in your reports as insights suddenly stand out rather than being lost in the crowd. You should also have more flexibility as to what information you can marry up to notice trends and behaviours that weren’t as evident before. Remember this is a constant learning and refining process so always use your insights to feed back into your planning, tagging and reporting. We’re all customers and our behaviours always fluctuate depending on seasonality, special events, financial circumstances, new technologies etc., analytics is the people’s way of telling businesses what these behaviours are, with all the right elements in place you’ll hear the message loud and clear.

4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how design, data and advertising are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and technology, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about marketing and behaviour across all inbound channels.