Level up as an Analyst by Asking the Right Questions

level up Analyst

It’s not about the amount or quality of the data that matters the most. It’s what you can do with it. The insights you can get by analyzing the numbers, the way you present them and the actions that are being made based on these insights.

But these insights don’t just sit there in your Google Analytics reports, you need to find them by asking the right questions.

In this article, I am going to focus on the right questions you must be asking when analyzing the data.

Before I go any further, I must say that this article is strongly influenced by the latest number of Avinash Kaushik’s The Marketing Analytics Intersect, a newsletter I recommend every analyst to subscribe to. Besides the whole idea, I am also going to share the 15 questions proposed by Mr. Kaushik himself.

Why should you ask questions from data?

Asking questions has always been the way people learn. Especially the kids, they ask questions about everything. Same goes with all of the smart and wise grown-ups – they are not afraid to ASK if there is something they don’t know (yet).

Asking is normal, you should do it more often.

When it comes to data, of course, there’s no Siri-like tool that you could use for asking questions. It’s a bit more complicated, but it pays off, believe me.

To get good and actionable answers from your data, you need to some tools. Those tools include custom reports, visualizations, dashboards and why not even Excel and others.

We’ve all seen (and ourselves been) the analysts that just look at the reports and wait until the answers pop up. They don’t. We have to start by asking the right questions.

Of course, you could ask questions like “Why am I not making enough money” and “Where are all of my customers” but if you really want to level up as an analyst, take a look at these 15 questions shared by Avinash Kaushik.

What are the right questions?

The right questions, of course, depends on your goal and your business specifics, but these 15 questions will give you a very good overview of how a real expert thinks and works.

Take your time and read all of them, carefully.

1. How can I improve revenue by 15 percent in the next three months from our website?

2. What are the most productive inbound traffic streams and which sources are we missing?

3. Have we become better at allowing our customers to solve their problems via self- help on the website rather than our customers feeling like they have to call us?

4. What is the impact of our website on our phone channel?

5. How can I increase the number of customer evangelists by leveraging our website?

6. What are the most influential buckets of content on our website?

7. If we could only do one thing to increase revenue on our website what would it be?

8. What is the incremental impact of our display ad campaigns?

9. Are we building brand value via activity on our website?

10. Do fully featured trials or Flash demos work better on the website?

11. What are the top five problems our customers face across our digital channels?

12. What is the cost for us to earn $1.00 on our website?

13. What is the effect of our mobile paid search strategy on our offline sales?

14. How much does the lifetime value of a customer increase if we can convert them into a 7-day active user of our mobile app?

15. What would the impact on unaided recall of our brand if we shutdown all our Facebook efforts?

So, are these questions something you are asking you data (or your analyst) in your everyday work? If yes – good job, keep it going. If no – read them again and think how you could apply them in your business.

For example, let’s take a look at question #3. That’s a very important question and improvements in this area could save you a ton of money. But how to answer it?

  1. You must have a system that tracks incoming support calls and emails.
  2. You must have a system that tracks the usage of self-help area of your website.
  3. See how improvements and promotions of the self-help area lower the incoming calls and emails.
  4. Do the changes in steps, or even better A/B test them. This way you can know exactly what works and what doesn’t.
  5. Calculate the amount of money you are saving or could save on further improvements.

Conclusion

In today’s world, having good data is crucial. But knowing what you need to do with this data to turn it into useful insights and from there into real actions is a skill that almost all business need.

If you’re an analyst, learn to ask and answer the right questions. In case you’re a business manager or owner, start asking the right questions from your in-house or outsourced analysts.

I’d like to ask everyone to share some of the best questions they’ve asked from their data in the comments below.

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