Dipping into data

Drive user-centricity throughout an organisation by embedding and communicating analytics.

Posted by Mark Kirkpatrick on September 15, 2015

Listening to Bobby Kerr at the weekend on Down to Business on Newstalk, it was interesting to hear the story of a business called Wild Cat Ink in Dublin. 

The business initially started peddling conventional ‘beauty’ products/services in the 80s (massages, eyebrow services etc.). 

After an almost speculative foray into tattooing, the business changed focus after recognising that more customers were coming to them for these services than for anything else. 

Consequently, the business has flourished as one of the premium tattooing and piercing studios in Dublin over the past 15 years.

This is but one example of where a business recognises customer needs early, adapts to meet them and consequently thrives.  So what has this go to do with digital content?  Well actually, everything.

Know your users

Do you know what your users want?  More importantly, do you know how your user needs are changing?

Any work in digital content development that doesn’t have some insight into user needs is stifled from the offset. 

Those user needs may be determined by a number of methods; analytics, audience research, user studies etc. – in fact most meaningful customer facing exercises should identify some user need, but it is analytics that I shall be focusing on in this short article.

Do you know what percentage of your traffic is non-desktop? Are you changing your content accordingly?

Make time to analyse

It is an imperative that teams are aware and alive to the changing behaviours and whims of their users and time should be dedicated to analytical exercises.

For example, in large organisations modelled on devolved authority, ownership of content should not mean responsibility for veracity, timeliness of it alone, but also responsibility for some knowledge of the data around it.

This is why even a shallow exploration of your analytics pool becomes such an important exercise.

"..pay attention to what users do, not what they say."

Harvesting the data, and making recommendations out of it should be the currency of sound digital content development.

Begin the begin

So where do you start? 

First of all start by recording what you know, what you think you know of how users engage via your online platforms.  Then make a concerted effort to analyse data for a given period, building up records of key sets and trends.

Examine some topline statistics including

  • goals completed
  • user paths
  • how users search
  • organic search performance
  • what devices are used to render your content

These topline stats will more likely beg questions than bestow answers initially, but it is but a start to a process where you meet user needs by delivering solutions in a track, test, tweak and release cycle for content development.

Instigating this approach and importantly, communicating it clearly too, should inspire user-centricity throughout an organisation that ultimately leads to the delivery of engaging online content.

Be the organisation that strives to know its users inside out; wear this with pride; wear it like a tattoo.