Author of "Data is Like a Plate of Hummus", Podcaster at "WHAT the Data?!". A data Zen master
10 years. For 10 years I have been working with data. I still remember those first days when we didn’t even have that much data to work with, then Google Analytics came in and changed the way we track users. I remember the rise of apps and the attribution tools that followed to help us understand how the user found us. Compared to 10 years ago, we have become even more clueless about our users, and the worst part is that we still make decisions based on emotions – despite having so much data to support us.
KPIs such as installs, CPI, CPC, CPM, CPS, MAUs, DAUs and even ROI mean nothing if you don't focus on the user! One of our biggest mistakes is that we rely too much on KPIs that do nothing to help us with decision making. The only thing they help us do is panic and misunderstand things. Instead of focusing on our users, what they want, what they need and what they are missing, we focus on numbers that tell us nothing about user quality or about the pivotal point where the product meets user.
One of the things we learnt during our data strategy workshop was that many of us overlooked the user. We use KPIs such as sessions, installs, CPC/I or even the ROI, and amongst all of this, we completely forget to ask the most important question: how closely are we matching our product to our users?
Thinking now about Tale About Data 2.0, we have not yet finalized the product. We decided to pay much more attention to how closely the user matches the product and how much each dollar we spend on developing a feature or marketing the product returns on our investment.
In the past, our workshops were tailored to marketing, but now we understand that this isn't the way things should move forward. Instead, we should actually involve all functions in the process – finance, product, marketing, and tech – so they all get a feel for the reality of their work, accepting the truth that the data offers, but also understanding what it is that needs to be actioned or changed.
Product usually works on improving, building, or killing features. They are responsible for creating the user experience. Once the user joins, their job is to ensure they get the experience they were promised. On the other side of the process is the marketing department. They are the ones who bring new users to the app by offering them something they want, and later, they will communicate with the user and try to retain them – if they consent to it.
These two functions – product and marketing – hold a lot of sway over user experience, but if we can't always offer the finance budget they deserve, we will end up with trade-offs that may work against, not for, company interests. Finally, we have the tech team who enable the development of product features. Problems arise when the team doesn't know which areas they should be prioritizing. This tends to end in a standoff about prioritization – something that really doesn't make sense.
We hope that by moving irrelevant KPIs outside of the decision-making process and re-focusing our attention on the numbers that bear relevance across the company, we can establish much better communication between the different functions whilst also using a shared language that makes sense to everyone.
WE ARE HERE TO SERVE THE USER and we do it by giving them the experience they are seeking. We don’t waste time or effort on things that aren't relevant; we focus on what it is our users want when they install our app, when they land on our webpage or when they notice our ad.
Let’s make clear decisions. Let’s focus on our users. Let’s not look at our competition every day, but go with what we believe is the right thing to do. Let's explore new ideas and if they match what our competitors are doing, let's keep pushing. We'll drop ideas that don't work and search for the next biggest thing – something we believe our users will find relevant.
Marketing, product, finance, and tech are all part of one machine – a machine whose purpose it is to serve our users, not just bring them in and count their money, but to understand what they are looking for, how we meet or don't meet their expectations and how we can retain them in the long term, looking not just at our potential profit, but at user experience too.
The answer to all of this is to adopt a proper data strategy – one that helps you maintain a complete focus on the user.
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