Putting context around analytics: Why it’s important and how to do it

It can be exciting to look at a report and see what seems like big number on it, but it’s more important to have some context around that number so you know if it’s big or small for your brand, for your brand’s recent performance, for your industry?

These aren’t always easy questions to answer, so we discuss it a little bit more in this post and how you can get started putting some context around your analytics.

Got questions or something we missed? Find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

Why context is important

It starts with knowing what is progress for your brand specifically; something that’s huge in one industry or for one brand might not be for another.

It’s important to know that you are progressing clearly toward your goals, measured against specific metrics you’ve established to illustrate that progress.

The bottom line is that numbers are meaningless without context, so here’s how you get that context.

How to get that context

First, you need to establish benchmark numbers for your brand.

It’s often difficult and costly to get extensive analytics from the past (however it’s possible with something like Echo), but there’s no time like the present to start measuring your baseline and collecting more data into the future. If you’re using something like our analytics, you’ll get backfilled 30 days on most Trackers and they’ll begin collecting data for the future. This way in a few months you can drill into different time periods to get a sense of how things change over time.

Generally you want to look at longer trends for things like followers and see them trending gently up. Sharp spikes can be a good thing- maybe you launched a new product that got a lot of positive press, for example- but they can also be bad. Maybe you had a lot of bot followers that you lost in a purge from a particular platform which resulted in a sharp loss.

Stagnation isn’t good either; that shows that you’re no longer growing your audience and that your existing audience has become bored with your content and/or strategy. The good news is that tells you it’s the perfect time to mix things up a little, testing new content, content formats and timing to re-engage and grow your audience.

While industry-wide stats are great and something you should draw from when you’re just starting to map out your goals and definitely to keep an eye on the competition, the most important thing is comparing your performance to yourself.

What about your brand and industry specifically?

This is just to get you started. If you need more help and specifics for your brand, let us know. We’re always happy to do it!


Photo by William Iven on Unsplash