One of the favorite buzzwords for analysts and data scientist today is ‘actionable metric’. Recently barged into the business lexicon and promising enough to find a long standing position this word hardly ever misses any sales pitch by any person in the business of analytics and data research. Don’t try to connect to the meaning popular a decade back- here it’s nothing to do with law or criminal offense.
Actionable metrics are those that can be acted upon or used in business immediately, without making too many assumptions or help of a list of others – briefly, insightful information. The opposite of which is vanity metrics. Metrics that are remotely connected to use. Metrics, whose implications are subjected to the interpreter- meanings that differ from man to man.
Often we find web analytics that come with tons of metrics (and more being added even as speak), facing the fury of businesses- “too many dollar spent”, they call out “and too little an information to use”. Agreed. Figures like number of clicks, number of visits, no. of exits or no of views are big pieces of junk. But so is sales if you did not know cost and cost if you had so information about revenue.
But if we measured count of clicks, over months, weeks, time of a day for posts to that blog you maintain, that could give great information. It could tell a reader’s preferences at various times of the year, hours when your audience are ready to read and time when you run the highest chance of being in the limelight.
Thus it all comes down to the basis of analytics – contexts and comparisons. With right contexts in the backdrop and relevant comparison across every metric can be actionable or I’d prefer “intuitively informative”!
Since it is most popular among web analysts and Google Analytics as the uncrowned king- lets just analyze how much action driven information this tool has to offer.
Among the many types of analysis – dimension/metric combinations in Google Analytics – We could count on just 5 as downright intuitively informative. They are unambiguous in their implication and pretty readily actionable (if that’s what we best understand)
Bench-marking Channels performance for Acquisition and Behavior- A new feature at Google Analytics and offers a comparative analysis of immediate industry in terms of channels used to acquire users and how they behave in each case.
Similar info is also available across geographic location. Important to note here is that, one gets to understand just which locations does that industry thrive in and sales or promotional channels most effective.
Cost to achieve goals- This involves uploading Cost data. Goals achieved is just as good as the cost incurred – be it micro or macro . So all those signups, downloads, video watching or purchase, how much did it cost advertising online or other , renovating the website or to stock up that inventory etc.
Content drilldown and behavior metrics- Average time spent on website gives a diluted idea of engagement , but if you break it down to each page and content level- that’s a solid piece of information giving exactly where visitors are engaged , if at all.
It talks about just how good or relevant or engaging is the content you have put out there.
Behaviors and rate of goal conversion across channels- Your bounce rates, page depth, and pages visited can be broken down to channels and within channels, different social platforms, referring websites or keywords that direct organic search traffic. Is there a correlative movement between the behavior metrics and channels or sources that send. Is there any tips about where they found your link and how far is it relevant to that context?
Drill it down and you’ll see somewhere it relates to channel performance and effectiveness of all your resource , time money and energy spent in there.
Queries in Search Engine Optimizations and Resultant movement over period- One of the best form of information available on the tool is what queries in search gives what result- is your website search engine optimized, where does your page rank for searches you love and
Conclusion- Metrics vary in the depth of intuitive and actionable quality , but a lot of it depends on the analysis it self and of course skills of a seasoned analyst. If you do not have an analyst or new to this as a business owner, remember it is important , the way data is viewed and the context it is put up against. Instead of viewing data singularly or as a mass of aggregates, slice it down and try al types of comparisons. Some will turn out meaningless but many will become insightful. Believe it or that’s how all analysts start! Good Luck.
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