Insights that matter

data-insights copyright patimes

data-insights copyright patimes

Back in 2014, the excellent Ben Holliday wrote about metrics that matter and user research.

Two key points stood out for me; firstly how as an analyst you have to change your thinking to work in an agile manner; secondly you can’t analyse/ measure everything*. And so i write this post.

uncover insights that matter – insights that will change your business, insights that will make better digital experiences.

Ben was right you can’t analyse everything, nor should you. Where you should spend your time is with measuring and analysing what matters, more so, where you can uncover insights that matter – insights that will change your business, insights that will trigger developments and iterations making better digital experiences.

In optimisation land we talk about making something as effective and as cost efficient as possible whilst achieving the biggest return on investment. (Unbounce)

For Insightisation (think I’ve made that word up) it’s about uncovering insights in an effective and efficient manner which will deliver the biggest return on investment if actioned.


What comes first the chicken or the egg

Chicken or the egg - copyright healthysmilecentre

Chicken or the egg – copyright healthysmilecentre


Or in measurement, what comes first the measurement model (goals and objectives) or gathering insights?

Start tracking early, don’t wait for someone to tell you what to track.

Creating a measurement model is extremely important. It outlines common goals, brings together senior management, provides prioritisation and order to development teams and of course sets the foundations for reporting on key metrics and thus any insight generation. The downside in this is time. We are talking months even years to get this in place if your a one man band or a small team.

But insight generation happens all the time, you can’t wait a year before you uncover an insight. So the solution is implementing some additional data at the start be that new events, dimensions or most importantly segments to aid initial insight generation. A good chunk of the additional data you need to track is the obvious. Page scroll, search queries, email/ tel links, breadcrumb/ navigation, audio and video playbacks or CTA buttons. At the last Measurecamp North a group of us discussed a default Google Tag Manager bundle for people to import that covered the above giving you insights in an instant.


Working agile with insights

So you are able to report metrics that matters with speed and agility, well done. If you do this right you are talking minutes to produce the figures. What you can then do is utilise the rest of your time on insight generation.

But how do you deliver Insightisation?

As per Ben’s post it’s about the metrics that matter. 5 or so key metrics that hold up in short time periods. Every time you release code you should see a positive impact. Those with the biggest margins (positive or negative) are the ones to spend the most time. If something was negative, find out why and share this so you learn from it. If something is positive, find out why and share this too, it might help other projects.

Working closely with those who undertake user research is good too. If you know something is/ isn’t hitting a key metric during user research then work with the researcher so they can uncover this during the session.


A real example

LJMU course mobile design

LJMU course mobile design

At LJMU we have been working on a new course template. Attached to it are two key metrics that matter; course page engagement and completion rate (open day bookings). With every stage of our iteration we undertake user research which as you would expect uncovers problems or validates our hypotheses. Completion rate in particular has been a problem, so working with researchers we have been able to uncover blocks in that rate, which haven’t been technological more psychological (do I want to book now, should I book now…). Knowing this, means we can improve this feature with additional form field information to build the confidence to book an open day.

Our LJMU performance dashboards are now in beta so please have a look and comment.


*Equally read lean analytics from Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz



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Posted in Insights, Measurement Model, Uncategorized, User Research
One comment on “Insights that matter
  1. […] add an insights table to your dashboards. The dashboard covers the top level stuff, but an additional table with […]

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