The other day I was perusing Facebook and saw an ad for the Nanit baby monitor. This was intriguing because I have been searching for new baby monitors to spy on my infant son while he sleeps. This one is billed as the “Tesla of Baby Monitors”.
Now they have my attention. Their website is nice, and it was easy to use, so I kept researching their product. Then I learned that Nanit isn’t a baby monitor, but an internet of things device that records nuances of my baby’s sleep. It then stores this on my phone, so I can collect and analyze the data at my own will. All of this is amazing. Then I thought about it for more than two minutes and realized…this data is useless. And maybe I don’t want to know about every single movement my son made while sleeping (hopefully) for the past 7 hours.
We’re in this weird age where we hoard data. We want more of it. Big data! But once we have it, we find out that 99.9% of it is utterly useless. Data should be about the decision you make from it. I would do nothing with the data from Nanit; I would just have it. In fact, it would give me anxiety seeing Nanit deduce that my baby had a terrible night of sleep. Why do I need to be reminded of that the next morning? I was there. I lived it.
In digital marketing, we pride ourselves on being able to collect data. Yet, we’re like Nanit. We even created meaningless metrics to try to drive insight from it. Like a click-through rate. Most of this data tells us nothing, but it’s cool that it’s there and we report on it! Or worse, the data we have is not correct and is telling us erroneous information.
All your data should be telling a story. Visits and pageviews of your website effectively mean nothing. Rather, how is your website or digital marketing campaign solving a business problem you have? What are the micro and macro outcomes you have determined before you started analyzing your data, and how are these being achieved based on the data you have? What is your customer’s journey? How can you use the data you have to better understand and answer that question?
We have had the data revolution. I would argue that we’re in a post data collecting world. We need to move on to the next phase, one where we stop agonizing over collecting but rather obsessing over analyzing, or even better, extracting a meaningful and actionable conclusion from it.