The difference between web reporting and web analysis

Your new website is live. Now what?

Organizations around the world are dedicating resources and investing money in building websites. Although different websites may serve different purposes (lead nurturing, lead acquisition, content popularity) – after all is said and done and the website is up, campaigns are deployed and Google is crawling, the failure that I observe time and time again is one thing: reporting.
In my mind, there are two key ways to mess up website reporting:

  1. No reporting at all
  2. Useless reporting

Now, not doing reporting is a major problem. Without reporting, how would you know…

  • What’s working and what’s not working?
  • Whether your investment is delivering?
  • What decisions you need to make going forward?

However, in my mind, even worse is useless reporting. This means that your organization is investing money in data regurgitators who spend their time simply pulling numbers and arranging them nicely in pretty reports. So, like no reporting at all, you still don’t know the answers to the questions above;  worse yet, you’re paying someone to give you useless reports.

Do executives need Reporting Squirrels or Analysis Ninjas?

Avinash Kaushik from Occam’s Razor illustrates this issue beautifully with the theory of Reporting Squirrels vs. Analysis Ninjas. His theory is that Reporting Squirrels spew useless data (web reporting) and that Analysis Ninjas illuminate insights (web analysis). Here’s what Kaushik says in a recent post on reporting vs. analysis:

 If you see a data puke, then you know you are looking at the result of web reporting, even if it is called a dashboard.

If you see words in English outlining actions that need to be taken, and below the fold you see relevant supporting data, then you are looking at the result of web data analysis.

So, the difference between web reporting and web analysis is simple: interpreting data, understanding context and recommending actions based on the data. This takes a completely different set of skills than simply pulling data and producing reports.
So, what skills does an Analysis Ninja need to ensure executives are getting the information they need to make important decisions?

  • understanding business priorities
  • long term vision
  • interpretation of data
  • pattern and trend recognition and understanding
  • hypothesis development
  • strategic thinking skills
  • subject matter expertise

So, if you are looking for insightful, actionable reporting, you should be expecting to pay more for your Analysis Ninja than a Reporting Squirrel because they don’t just churn out numbers and pie charts. Analysis Ninja’s deliver insights and recommendations that help you make decisions. And, isn’t that what you really need?

Guide to digital marketing reporting that business leaders will read, understand and use to make decisions

Whether you call it reporting or web analytics, the key takeaway is that you need to have insights and recommendations to make decisions based on data. Since this is a major issue that affects business owners, we’ve developed a guide to creating digital marketing reporting that business leaders will read, understand and use to make decisions. This guide helps illuminate how to find insights in website data, make recommendations on next steps, and understand overall business impact of the website results.

Download the Digital Marketing Reporting Guide Now!

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