Marketing data can lead you down many twists and turns. Open up your analytics software and all of a sudden, you’re in a maze of numbers. Where do you focus your attention? Which numbers will help you demonstrate your team’s contribution to your company’s bottom line?

To answer these questions, you need to know the subtle difference between metrics and data insights.

It’s simple: metrics are things that you see in spreadsheets. Insights describe how those “things” behave to form a trend. Typically, you look at metrics at a fixed point in time. You gather insights by analyzing metrics over time or in relationship to one another.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re wondering whether people like your blog content. So, you launch a net-promotor-score based survey, which is based on one question: How likely are you to recommend this content to a friend? The metric would be that rating. Related insights would be deeper questions:

  • Are readers more likely to recommend certain content than others?
  • Are there any types of content that readers rate exceptionally high? Why?
  • Are there types of content that put readers into a “purchase” mindset?
  • Are readers actually recommending your content to the extent that they say they would?

All of these questions are important because they can help you navigate the “data maze.”

Steps to Take when Analyzing Marketing Data

Many marketers struggle to work with data because it’s easy to get lost in numbers. But there’s a simpler way to analyze marketing data: Start with the business story that you’re looking to explore.

Maybe you’re brainstorming potential content topics to write. Perhaps you’re working on a presentation for your team and are wondering what you want to discuss. Where do you get started?

  • Begin with focused questions that you know you can answer with the data that you have on hand
  • Choose metrics that you analyze on a consistent basis over time
  • Create a table or spreadsheet where you can track those metrics
  • Tie those metrics back to your business story

Those steps merged together will help you uncover deep insights about your business. This focus will enable you to analyze your marketing data and create an ongoing business narrative for stakeholders at your company.

Establishing Data Consistency

One of the most important steps you’ll take with your marketing data is establishing a regular cadence. As soon as possible, try to reach a point in your marketing where you visit and re-visit your metrics for information.

Consistency will happen organically if you’ve gone through the process of testing your metrics and ensuring that they are valuable to your operations. Build your data around your needs and you’ll soon come to rely on it.

The Heart of Your Marketing Strategy

It’s storytelling. Your metrics should support a story about a human being—not a series of clicks. Insights capture what humans are doing. Metrics help you capture the stories most valuable to your company.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the latest news, tips, and tricks in B2B marketing.

Ritika Puri

About Ritika Puri

Ritika Puri is an entrepreneur who founded Storyhackers, a company that helps business create impactful and inspiring content programs. She enjoys writing about data, teaching others things that she’s learning, and helping other business owners succeed. In past lives, she built enterprise analytics programs and created revenue streams for an ad tech company. She is also an advisor to a mobile app startup, Sortly.