Broadly, analytics is qualitative data and research. It is the tools and thought processes around collecting data points to give feedback to the company to help them make decisions on quantitative data.
You can find analytics in email, social media, web, or basically, any service used for business has some analytics dashboard. The key with analytics is you can’t just collect it without a strategy. Most companies agree they need it but don’t have any business questions formulated to try to answer.
To be good at analytics and successful at using it, you need to approach it like a scientist. That means putting together some scientific method and trying to answer questions with your analytics. Every month your analytics should answer some hypothesis you have.
For example, if you have an advertising campaign online, an example hypothesis would be that by doing this advertising campaign, you are going to receive more website clicks into your website, which will lead to more money and sales coming in. Otherwise, you wouldn’t spend money on the advertising campaign.
Analytics should be set up at the beginning of your project to answer this question for you monthly. You should have a dashboard that will PROVE or DISPROVE your hypothesis. From there, you can make corrections to your strategy. If your hypothesis is false, you can test some new variables and hypotheses.
Analytics is very largely connected to the activity of creating dashboards for professionals. Analytics should always be taken with some grains of salt. Ad blockers will stop analytics in its tracks and give you no data on those customers. If you are trying to decide on a certain type of customer, and if these types of customers would like a particular product or not, it can mess with the data. This is because if those customers are the same type of person who would use an ad blocker, you aren’t going to receive any data on them to give you a good answer. They are self-selecting out of your study.
Analytics are good for showcasing where problems might be. It’s a good indicator of red flags or which direction you should go on a project. They are great but don’t trust them entirely.