What data should I collect at my company?

Lean Analytics, by Alistair Croll & Benjamin Yoskovitz, does a pretty good job describing what data are important to collect at your company. Key takeaways: 

A Good Metric Is

  • Comparative -- better to compare one metric over time, between groups of users or among competitors than to simply look at a snapshot without context
  • Understandable -- if you can't remember it or easily describe it, don't use it
  • A Ratio -- inherently comparative and easier to act on
  • Something that changes your behavior -- tie your metric to a goal. For example, if you want to reward your sales team for their work, look at how many deals they have closed and what revenue it brought in to the company rather than how many deals they have in the pipeline. Sales people will spend more time finding deals likely to close rather than a bunch of junk deals to fill the pipeline. 

Think About This When Deciding on Metrics

  • Qualitative complements Quantitative -- Quantitative data, tracked from your website/app, tell you what users are doing, but qualitative data, collected with surveys and interviews, tell you how and why your customers do what they do. It's important to have both types of information. 
  • Vanity versus Real Metrics -- you don't act on vanity metrics, so stay away from them. Examples: hits, page views, unique visitors, downloads,  time on site, emails. Better to stick to real metrics that you can act on, such as percent of users who were active last week -- this gives you a better sense of engagement, and then you try some things to increase engagement.
  • Exploratory versus Reporting Metrics -- exploratory metrics are theoretical and used to find new insights to gain an upper hand. Reporting metrics keep you abreast of day-to-day managerial activity.
  • Leading versus Lagging Metrics -- are you predicting the future (leading) or explaining something from the past (lagging)? 
  • Correlation versus Causation -- are your metrics merely moving together (correlation) or does one cause the other to change? 


More coming soon!