How to turn Old School Data into Insight

How to turn a data puke into something useful

When I say old school data I mean the kind of data you get sent as what Avinash Kaushik called a data puke.

You know what I mean?

When the report you're sent is just a bunch of numbers and there is no context.

It's happened to me a lot in my time at agencies.

The main issue when you get sent these reports is the lack of context and incomplete information.

Once when it happened I had a client who had received a deck of about 50 pages of information from one of his colleagues.

Classic data puke

Lots of information about projected costs per impression, clicks and landing page creatives.

It was a $2M campaign and it was on his desk for approval.

His only question was "What would you say to this, should I send the campaign?".

The first thing I noticed was that the data was incomplete.

It had well-projected costs.

About $2M to get 50,000 visitors to landing pages of the customer's website.

It was a sales campaign

Naturally, my first question was "How many sales are they projecting?" but after wading through the whole deck I couldn't see any numbers.

Sales data (even projected sales) was missing.

I however had access to the website analytics tool.

And I knew how their shopping cart from the landing pages they were suggesting performed.

I knew that currently 98% of the visitors to the landing pages abandoned before purchasing on this particular funnel.

It was therefore going to cost $2M to get approximately 1000 customers.

So a cost per acquisition of about $2000. The product being sold was about $350.

I saved the business $2M dollars that day just by pointing this out.

The point of this however is not the case itself.

There were many like this over the years.

The point is what to do with the data puke?

I went into the data with a question in mind

Should I send this "sales" campaign or not?

I then defined what data was missing to answer that question.

Then once I found the answer from available data by connecting the dots between this campaign and the shopping funnel data I didn't send another data puke to the client.

I called the client and said whatever you do don't approve it.

It's going to cost $2 grand to sell a single product.

My presentation only had 3 slides

Costs per creative the abandonment funnel and projected sales.

Then I put a summary of the points together in an email that was shared across the business.

The email was simple to understand, to the point and got shared everywhere as to what to do in the future.

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