Why you should be data-informed and not data-driven

Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Workshop [X-E2, XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4.5, 1/150, Focal Length = 83]

In data driven decision making, data is at the center of the decision making. It’s the primary (and sometimes, the only) input. You rely on data alone to decide the best path forward. In data informed decision making, data is a key input among many other variables. You use the data to build a deeper understanding of what value you are providing to your users.

I have sat in many meetings hearing about analytics. When I first learned about analytics I was thrilled. You see one of the things that is very frustrating is how the content you create is seen but no one clicks the LIKE button.

However, analytics doesn’t rely on the audience to “LIKE” your content to know if they have been to it or even shared it. It can record if someone came to the page and how long they were on the page as well as many other tidbits.

FANZONE for the Georgia vs Alabama SEC Championship game Georgia World Congress Center[NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 65535, ƒ/4.8, 1/4000, Focal Length = 62]

Are you aware of “Blind Spots” in your analytics such as images?

Images are increasingly taking over social media and becoming a major way of engaging and talking about your brand. Images are generally more memorable and shareable than text.

There are over  300 million active daily users on Instagram alone, it’s clear images are a huge social commodity. But why is the intent behind sharing images such a big deal? For starters, not all images are accompanied by text. Sometimes the whole point is that words can’t adequately convey the emotion or event, so it’s shared in image form. If your social media listening is all about text, these posts and users aren’t accounted for in your analytics. This is your “Blind Spot”.

What this means is there is really no way to get accurate analytics about photos, unless you could employ eye tracking technology. Most people are not going to allow for their cameras on their phones and computers to be turned on to watch how they are behaving while looking at your content.

Georgia vs Alabama [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 14400, ƒ/5.6, 1/250, Focal Length = 52]

Why are clickbaity headlines working? Content that piques users’ curiosity does well. Instead of writing clickbaity headlines, can we integrate this insight it into our content strategy. Write about topics that people are curious about, but may not know enough.

I think Henry Ford once said, ‘If I‘d asked customers what they wantedthey would have told me, “A faster horse!”’ People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”

Steve Jobs
Lifeshape Third Annual Legacy of Leaders Golf Classic [NIKON D5, 35.0 mm f/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250, Focal Length = 35]

Editorial judgment is still needed alongside analysis of quantitative data. Each newspaper and station adopts its own news values. Having good “news judgement” means you understand your audience and your organizations principles and values.

Being a good storyteller/journalist is very much akin to being a good parent/teacher. You do rely on data to help you know what is working and at the same time you are looking out for them and distill information into a digestable form for them.