Have you ever looked at a data report from your team and haven’t known where to start? Most of the time, data is confusing, and some would even say it’s like a perplexing puzzle in the beginning. 

Why? Because you can’t see the whole picture. 

For me, learning how to read data reports is similar to learning a foreign language. When you first start, you can’t understand the words on the page. You don’t know what they mean, and you don’t understand why they’re important. You could make a guess, but you probably aren’t right. 

Once you’ve studied a little bit, and have been around the words more, you can start to understand what they mean, how they work in context, and what a couple of sentences might look like. Eventually, you’ll become a pro and be able to speak that language with your friends, but it’s going to take some time and hard work. 

It’s just like logging into Google Analytics for the first time. You might think it looks pretty, but interpreting the data can be tough. Do you know what each point means? Do you know how to decipher what you’re seeing? Are you ready to apply what you find to something bigger? 

Once you learn more in Google Analytics, you’ll figure out how to navigate to more reports and know more about the data you are evaluating. And eventually, you’ll know how to slice and dice the data so you can see the overall picture, and make smarter decisions based upon that data. Because ultimately, data is a tool, and it can open the floodgates for content ideas, new audience targets, and more.

But first, you have to learn how to trust data so you can utilize it, and that is no easy feat. So which tools are the best and most trustworthy? 

Here are a few data platforms we trust: 

… just to name a few. All of these data and reporting tools are very useful, but you have to know your way around and know how to decode the data. We see this all the time when working in digital marketing. 

Here are just a few examples of trying to interpret your data when you don’t have all of the information needed. 

  • Scenario 1: Shouldn’t we consider SEO for this email? 
    • Answer: Email doesn’t need SEO because a search engine doesn’t index it.
  • Scenario 2: We saw a HUGE increase on Tuesday at 3 AM. Our social posts must be doing really well in another country. 
    • Answer: Another possibility is that you had a bunch of bot traffic hit your website, and it should be excluded as a data point. 
  • Scenario 3: How are our ads performing? It’s been a week. Can’t we update them to be more optimized and make more revenue? Why don’t we see results? 
    • Answer: They need time to run, so we can gather enough data to make smart decisions. Sometimes a week is plenty of time. In other instances, this is jumping the gun. 

So how do you keep up with data in the digital marketing era? 

As you can see, it’s going to take some time to get up to speed to interpret your data and analytics. Sometimes you need a testing phase. That way, you can determine the “why” behind your business and the overall process. 

In the grand scheme, data is only as good as the person you have analyzing it. You need someone on your team to debug it, translate it, challenge it, and kick the tires a bit. 

Do you have someone like that on your team? If not, we can help. Marketwake offers fully-encompassing digital marketing services that lead with data-driven decisions to help direct the overall strategy so you can win.

Courtney Walker

Author Courtney Walker

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