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Top Tips for Data Analytics & Insight

Keeping control of your data and using it in the right way to maximise its usefulness can be a challenge, but these tips will help to develop the way you store, analyse and use your data. Keeping things simple, using the right data and accurate measuring are all important – so where’s the best place to start?

Define your digital objectives

When a visitor comes to your website, what do you want them to do? Is it to subscribe to your newsletter to build your database, engage with your content by reading an article, or fill in a contact form to generate leads? Without defining the objectives for your website and digital channels their purpose can be unclear to users.

Depending on your organisation, digital objectives will be very different, and should link to your overall strategy. For example, if one of your strategic goals is to increase revenue online, your digital objective might be successful ticketing, ecommerce sales or online donations.

Once these metrics have been defined you can set up ongoing and automatic tracking using tools like Google Analytics. This will enable you to see change over time and analyse your findings. Has there been an increase in ticket sales? Was it down to the social media post you made, or the email newsletter your marketing team sent? Maybe something else entirely?

Insight like this can help inform the changes you can make which encourage users to do the things you’d like them to do.

Ensure you have control of your data

Sometimes organisations lose access to data held in tools such as Google Analytics: this could be because a staff member left without passing over any login details, it was set up years ago and no-one knows the correct email address, or the account is owned and managed by a digital agency you work with. For the first two scenarios, it’s possible to reclaim access by following a Google process. Once you have access, consider assigning the administrator account to an email address not attached to a specific staff member.

If you work with a digital agency, ensure that someone within your organisation is still the account owner of any platforms they look after for you e.g. Google Ads, Search Console, Facebook Ads etc. These assets belong to the organisation – you should not be locked into an agency through fear of losing access to that data.

Audit the systems you already have in place. Who has access? Who is the administrator? What happens if someone leaves?

Urban artwork, people with boxes on heads

Do you trust your data?

Without high-quality data, any analysis will ultimately be flawed. It’s important to think about whether the data looks right, based on what you know.

Simple mistakes in Google Analytics are common. Numbers unintentionally inflated by double counting users, page views split across duplicate pages, or ticketing systems attributing a high percentage of sales to the wrong acquisition channels can all have a problematic effect on analysis. Regularly auditing the data you gather can help avoid issues such as these and give you the confidence to make sound data-led decisions.

This article on improving data quality in Google Analytics by One Further has information on ways to set up your account to make analysis easier.

Ongoing measurement and target setting

Defining your digital objectives and setting up the relevant tracking is a great start, and further than many organisations manage to get. Ongoing measurement and target-setting is the next step to understanding how you are doing against your strategic aims and where you should focus your effort.

To do this effectively, a framework such as SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-limited) will help you focus on keeping your measurement and targets relevant and plan how this information will be tracked.

For example: if an organisation has an objective of “Increasing our email database by 10%”, planning the structure might look like this:

· Specific (the what and why) – An increase in newsletter subscriptions will see more users engaging with our content and increase awareness of the other areas of the business

· Measurable – Tracking can be added to a “Thank you for signing up” page

· Achievable – Based on existing sign-up rates, is 10% a realistic target in the timeframe? If not, what do we need to do to improve things?

· Relevant – Email marketing is an effective channel to communicate with an engaged audience for our organisation

· Time limited – Three months with a weekly check of progress against the target

Do this for each of your objectives to give you a clear idea of what is important, and where you should spend your time and budget. Once you have defined your targets, you can use visualisation tools like Google Data Studio, Tableau and Microsoft Power BI to track progress and share across your organisation.

Setting targets and sharing them across your organisation will give everyone a clearer view of how things are performing and how the organisation is tracking success. This encourages staff buy-in to your strategic objectives and can help nurture a culture of contributing towards success.

What next?

This article has introduced four big areas for you to investigate and consider when it comes to your analytics and insight tactics, but there’s always more that can be done. To learn more, you can read the articles linked below.

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up to our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

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