Why data is essential to business innovation

Mar 25, 2019|By atomix
Read time: 9 mins

When it comes to identifying opportunities for improvement or innovation, data informs everything.

Customer insights, website engagement data and feedback from your sales and marketing team are all incredibly valuable pieces of information, helping to inform your strategic direction and validating your decisions or hypotheses.

Compiling data from various sources is often the most difficult step. Instead of manually trying to gather data from all sorts of different reports and cross referencing them, look to a data dashboard or central hub information such as Google Data Studio to do this work for you.

What is Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio effortlessly compiles data from a wide variety of data sources (and even your trusty spreadsheets) into visual dashboards and customisable reports. The platform clearly displays relevant information in a way that helps you to tell a story about your digital activity.

At atomix, our client growth and marketing reports are created using Google Data Studio, presenting everything in context and illustrating the close relationships between previously unlinked data sets.

With Google Data Studio, you can create reports and dashboards to track the metrics that are most relevant to your campaigns or goals. As the reports have live links to their data sources, such as Google Analytics, Google Ads and Search Console, the dashboards are updated in real time; you can build your report once and save the link in your favourites to check daily.

Google data studio screenshot
This dashboard focuses on organic search performance, allowing the reader to further filter the data by country and device category.

Collaborate and share insights across the business

In any business, great insights must be shared in order to be actioned effectively. Google Data Studio allows you to share the report in an online format. Say goodbye to lengthy, dry PDF reports; Google Data Studio’s interactive dashboard setup allows viewers to adjust date ranges and view detailed data by hovering over reports and graphs.

Custom labelling and colour coding enables visual storytelling, ensuring even the least tech-savvy of your team can understand how your campaigns are tracking and where you may need to pivot.

Advanced detail at the click of a mouse

If you just want to see how many people have visited your website in the past 30 days, it’s easy to quickly find that result using just Google Analytics. But out of context, vague data tells only a small part of the story. To provide context, and ultimately find the data insights that will fuel business innovation, you need to cross reference this data with other metrics.

Google Data studio allows you to use a variety of charts and report types to visualise your data, including:

  • line and bar graphs;

  • pivot tables;

  • pie charts;

  • paginated data tables;

  • geographic maps;

  • quick-glance scorecards; and

  • area and bubble graphs.

Google Data Studio allows you to easily set up reports to consistently show the data that matters the most to your business. Simply choose the segment of traffic you wish to view and enter the dimensions and relevant metrics you’d like to measure.

With Google Data Studio, you can group your data with multiple dimensions; something that isn’t easy in Google Analytics alone. By adding more than one dimension to your chart, you can dive deeper into the intricacies of your data and isolate meaningful insights. For example, you could review the number of organic sessions in each state of Australia, broken down further by the month of the year.

Simplifying the complex

A huge benefit of Data Studio is the ability to blend your data sources. Data blending allows you to create charts based on multiple data sets – for example, you might want to view the performance of two of your websites at the same time, in a single chart.

With multiple data sources at your fingertips, you can pack more reports and insights on one screen to give a better overview of your performance. Once you’ve got your reports set up, you can take a deep dive into your data with more context than ever before.

Once you’ve found an exciting opportunity for optimisation or innovation, you’ll be able to move ahead with the confidence of your data-backed hypothesis.

Google analytics ecommerce report screenshot

Validate your hypotheses and prove real value

Proving the value and success of your innovative ideas can be a challenge – but data can help.

Using Google Data Studio, you can create a custom report, compiling information from various data sources concentrated around your new campaign, objective or SMART goal. Using this data, you can illustrate how your new campaign is performing and the effect it has had on your business.

With Data Studio dashboards, you can display business-critical information in one convenient place, for the whole team to collaborate and ideate on how to improve efficiency or maximise value.

Visibility across the team

Aside from making PDF versions of your reports, take the next step and create custom dashboards and display them on a TV or computer screen in a common area of your office. During our daily morning stand-up meeting, we showcase our Kanban board of daily tasks and review our progress against our goals for the week. In the afternoon, the screen transitions to our support desk and Data Studio reports to highlight the key metrics we’re tracking. The ability to glance up and see our data in real time, and the way we can identify quick wins and actions for our clients, is a fantastic opportunity in itself.

This visibility of data across the business encourages our team to align their tasks against our common goals and ensure our direction and strategy is shared and adhered to. With these screens, we might spot something as we’re walking back to our desks after meetings, which helps to instil and reinforce a culture of ongoing improvement and everyday innovation.

Data studio dashboard

When using data studio or seeking information, it’s always great to start with a question

Over the years of reporting back to our clients, we have learned that simply reporting on the sessions resulting from each marketing channel is not enough; we need to dive deeper. Instead, we like to present our data in ways that better help to communicate what the data is actually showing and tell a story. Rather than reporting a metric as just “Traffic Sources”, write down what exactly you’re trying to discover: “where is our traffic coming from and which channels are most engaged?”

Here are a few questions that might help you drill further into your data to obtain valuable insights:

  1. What time of day do we get the most traffic?

  2. Which marketing channel is converting the best this month?

  3. Which blogs have contributed to conversions this month?

  4. Where are our users leaving the site, and how long are they spending browsing our content?

  5. How is our traffic and conversion rate tracking year-on-year?

  6. Which device type is generating the most revenue?

  7. Which pages are your Australian visitors landing on when they come to the site?

  8. Which organic keywords are we ranking for?

  9. What are the top performing branded and unbranded search terms in our Google Ads campaigns?

  10. Which of our landing pages appear the most in Google search results for paid (Ads) and organic traffic?

Spark innovation with actionable data insights using Google Data Studio

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