“Analytics is the means to the end,” explains June. “The end should be insights. Actually, the end should be the actionability of insights.” Let’s break that down because June stresses that it is important to know the difference in terms in the world of data.
Data is a piece of information. It could be a single piece (how long someone remains on your website) or a collection of information (such as how long each person who visited your website last month lingered before they left). In its most pure form, data is useless, that is, until we analyze it.
Data analytics is comparing and analyzing the data. If you take all those people who got on your website last month, what was the average length of their visit? How does that average compare to the previous month? The previous year? What page did they come into on your website? What page were they on when they left? This is important. The longer someone stays on your website, the more likely they will take the desired action, like making a purchase.
Data insights are the lessons of the data, the information that helps you develop the data strategy. If last month’s visitor number to your website was a spike, what caused that spike? Why are people entering on a specific page? Was it linked to an online article in the NY Times or www.thecatsite.com (a website for cat owners)? What about the page they were on when they left? Is there something on that page that caused them to move on?
Finally, we have actionable items. What can you do to draw more visitors, increase their time on the site, and encourage action, such as a purchase? Do you need a backlink campaign to encourage more visits to your website? Should you redesign the page that most people are on when they leave?
Then there is the impact of the changes made based on those actionable items. If it was positive, that’s great. If it was mediocre, then perhaps the data should be re-examined. None of this is easy, either. As June is quick to point out, “It takes work.”
The world of data is evolving, too. Every technological development brings change. June stresses relying on your data colleagues. “Look beyond your own company and connect with others,” she said a few years ago in an online interview. “The DAA [Data Analytics Association] has a mentoring program where analytics professionals can pair up to learn new things and advance in their careers, and I’m completely sold on the value of mentoring.”
And if you’re lucky enough to sit at a table with June Dershewitz, watch closely. Maybe you’ll see her tuck in her cape.