5 tips to get your online data sh*t together

This is what you need to do to get better, quicker results and to become, not only a more data driven company but especially a more successful company.

Optimizing websites, apps and for example campaigns through data is not something new. Today many companies are able of obtaining an abundance of data insights regarding the behaviour and intentions of their customers on their websites, apps and online campaigns. This, however, comes with a new challenge; how on earth can we create a structured overview of all the available data (tools) and extract relevant information from it?

On a weekly basis I get in touch with clients all facing the same challenge: “how can we combine all the available data sources and tools to get to the most valuable insights?”. In most occasions, many aren’t even aware of the amount of toolings, dashboards and reports they have available in their organisation. And when they are aware, they struggle with where to start digging for the insights they need to base their business decisions on.

Does this sound familiar? Here are 5 tips that might be helpful.

1. Start by identifying all the available data sources

By this I don’t mean that you restrict this to the limits of your team only, you should checkout all the data sources that are available within your company. Yep, this might come with some extra work, but trust me: it will pay off, big time. We often see that several business units or teams use a variety of tools for the same metric or type of insight. This is not only a waste of money and time, but you’re also missing out on the opportunity of easily combining and sharing insights regarding certain topics as all toolings have their own ways of reporting.

2. Determine which data sources are relevant for your company goals

Do this by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What are your company goals and what types of data can contribute to this?
  • If you already have these tools, do we use this data (or data tools) to its full potential? If not, why? If you cannot properly answer this question, skip the tool. There’s nothing more toxic than having data that’s incomplete or not relevant but does get used to base (some) decisions on.
  • Are there tools who slightly differ but in conclusion provide us with the same data? Pick the one most relevant for your company. Yes, that’s not only your department, but for everyone. Picking the most relevant one can be an economical (price), political (no need to explain) or company goal related decision (or a combination of these of course). You might face some challenges here but I promise you it will help you and your colleagues. Please note that sometimes different sources of data provide the same insights. This especially can be relevant when you need to validate. This is where you create proof for your decision. So be critical on deciding what data sources and toolings are relevant, but don’t limit it to having no alternative data source to back up your insights.
  • Do you have a combination of quantitative and qualitative data sources or tools? Quantitative data provides information about what is happening, but if you don’t know why this is happening (something you can get from qualitative data) you still don’t have the full picture. Making business decisions based on only one of these two types of datasets will limit your effectiveness which in turn will cost more time and therefore money. Therefore, quantitative and qualitative data go hand in hand. So if you have the opportunity to have both data types, this will help you make better business decisions.

3. Identify how the reporting takes place and optimize this

  • Check the report method of the tool / data source. See whether there are similarities in reporting and establish a standard.
  • Check report method of the owner of the tool / data source. Also here, setting a standard is essential
  • If you have the opportunity, create a data taskforce. Come together once a month or quarter and, again, based on company goals and planning share knowledge and insights. This will also help to establish a more data-driven culture within your company.
  • Share these insights among departments.

4. Know the context and origin of your data (after you’ve specified the needed data tools)

  • Where does this data come from? (app, web, mobile, ad, campaign, etc.)
  • What was the context in which this data was gathered?
  • When was this data gathered?
  • What is the key take away from this data?

This is especially useful when you know that in the near future you would need data on a specific topic. You wouldn’t want to examine all the available data sources and toolings all over again, but would like to know where to search for the relevant data that might provide answers to your questions.

5. Create standards for data reporting and the sharing of insights

A keynote, one-pager, online dashboard or 30+ pages report… There are many ways of presenting data. Make your own world, and that of your colleagues, a whole lot easier by defining together the standards for the different data sources. For example, if you’ve correctly specified your data (see tip number 4), you can easily check and combine different data sources on a specific topic you’re interested in. There are tools available who can help you with this. For example datamanagementplatforms (DMP) or executive summaries can help.


If you have any other relevant tips that you would like to share, feel free to post them below this article. I’d be interested to read them!

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