Data Maintenance: How to Identify Trends and Derive Insights

Now that you’ve learned how to detect issues regarding data quality, it is equally important to maintain a high standard of quality to avoid future issues. Welcome to part 3 of this analytics series, where we will discuss the best practices and preventive measures for maintaining relevant data, so you can successfully identify trends and derive impactful insights from your data.

Data maintenance is a process that is sometimes taken for granted, but should be well-defined and managed. This includes assigning a designated person or team to maintain the data, so that it is constantly under review and adjustments are made as needed. These analysts will be responsible for understanding the data, how it is collected, and how it is used.

In order to properly maintain your data, research needs to be done to ensure you’re collecting all of the relevant data needed to answer your business’ questions. It’s important that you fully understand how each piece of data you are collecting will be used by you and your colleagues.

Here is a list of things to consider to ensure you’re collecting relevant data:

  • Conduct data user/stakeholder interviews – both end-users and analysts
  • Understand the business and site objectives, as well as key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Be aware of any alternate sub-domains and/or microsites
  • Understand what your internal site search query strings are, and decide if you want them filtered
  • Identify and define important user/audience segments
  • Consider how you’re defining campaign parameters

Now that you have a good idea of what data is important for your business, we can move on to planning.

Planning is arguably the most crucial step of the whole data management process, because in this stage we establish how the data is being managed and the rules that data needs to follow.

Within the planning stage we determine who is managing your data, what data you want, and any manipulations, calculated fields, filters, segments, and possible reassignment from the default segmentations. This involves sitting down with the key business stakeholders to discuss what they are going to be using site data for and any special requests they have for the way it will be presented.

Here are some helpful tips while working through the planning stage:

  • Only implement the most necessary traffic filters
  • Define your traffic and marketing channel segments prior to implementation
    • Make sure that you do not oversimplify your segments (for example, combining Mobile and Tablet when they behave very differently)
  • Set up a structured QA process for analytics tracking changes
  • Ensure regular communication amongst the greater team
    • Stay up to date with recent development pushes, bug fixes, and tracking changes/additions, including QA before and after production pushes
  • Annotate the analytics account for future reference
    • For example, notating that the tracking code was changed or calling out a large seasonal promotion
  • Utilize daily dashboards to monitor your most vital data points
    • This will help you react sooner to your data mishaps
  • Set up account alerts for large data fluctuations (sessions, pageviews, bounce rates, error messaging, etc.)

Keep in mind, as new features and functionality are added to a site, you will need to collaborate with stakeholders to ensure everything is and will still work as expected prior to launch. Once you have planned out the who, what, and when, you can start on the execution phase. The main thing to remember during the execution of your management tasks is to check, double check, and check again. This phase is all about proper implementation of your research and planning.

Now that you know your data and things are running like a well-oiled machine, here are some possibilities for you going forward.

  • Implement customized tracking to accurately measure site goals
  • Streamline workflow between marketing and engineering teams by integrating tag management solutions across digital properties
  • Uncover trends and derive insights from user behavior
  • Utilize segmentation and pathing reports to drill down into conversion performance
  • Drive collaboration and optimizations in digital strategy across marketing channels

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