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Analytics and Decision Making

Mar 5

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3/5/2013  RssIcon

What do you need to do to win? Organize your information and make it universally available to everyone in your organization. Is your analytics “the largest library, with all the books on the floor?” How do you find the pieces of information that you need, how do you transmit this knowledge throughout your organization and provide what’s relevant? We’ll talk about this a little and look at some examples from Google.

Every day, 16% of all searches on Google are new – questions that have never been asked before. Google’s contribution to analytics was creating a sea-change in the way advertising was done – the contribution was that Google is constantly driving the need for improving all aspects of analytics to serve up and deliver ads – and they’re even using analytics to create self-driving cars. These ideas are changing the world – how can you use data to radically transform the world?

What are some of the challenges in using analytics? Fundraising is more data driven today than it has been in the past. There are new communities of practice that focus on analytics. Conferences are beginning to have separate analytics tracks. Fundraising has traditionally been more art than science but the pendulum is shifting to more informed analytical decisions even with major gift fundraising.

We’re all “data hoarders” to some extent the challenge is no longer technical – it’s more of a people problem. Have you prioritized analytics as an organizational priority from a budget, tools and people perspective? It’s a vicious circle. If you don’t invest in one, the other won’t happen. Given the importance of analytics, do you have your best people working on your analytics?

What are the metrics that matter and what’s the difference between counting vs. the business direction aspects? In the digital marketing world, you talk about clicks, likes and similar metrics. Money Ball is an example of the business aspect – which looked at metrics that looked at business talent – regardless of the counting. What that says about fundraising is that we should probably be looking at solicitor credit – which drives individual fundraiser performance – rather than just looking at total raised.

How do we make better decisions faster? The competition out there is fierce. There have been hundreds of thousands of non-profits created in the last decade. We need to move faster to maintain our competitive advantage.

If search is representative of society have a look at Google.com/trends (for free). Betty Crocker used this tool a few years ago and noticed a trend in gluten free searches, which allowed them to change their product mix and become a market leader in gluten free products. This is a powerful tool for insights into consumer behavior – including historical data. Check out keywords for your own non-profit and use the search analytics to see where you might target your next campaign. When people search for things they generally want to buy them. This is powerful data.

Many of us are familiar with Google Analytics. You should understand some of the metrics of conversion, bounce, clicks, cost of conversion and the other metrics that matter. Can you calculate the revenue from visits to your web site’s online giving page in terms of referrals from other pages. This can help you drive brand changes and increase economic value from your referrers. Now, don’t let perfection get in the way of making these changes – your web site is a tool to help donors make transitions. Look at the behavior and re-design your online presence based on how prospects are being referred to you.

The paths to you are more complex. They may come from social sites, competitors and the understanding of those paths and channels will help you to make the changes to better drive these relationships from different traffic sources. Don’t just look at the last thing that they do, look at the pattern of behavior and learn what the relationships are between drivers and customers.

Do visitors that have interacted with your brand have the same digital experience as those who have already given? How many of you have sites that change based on previous behaviors? Many of us have fundraising thermometers showing campaign totals. Does your site content change when you’re closer to goal?

There are analytics for sight, sound and motion. Review the YouTube analytics to understand how YouTube is the television for the world and learn about organizing your content for viewers.

Where are we headed? We used to have an online life and an offline life. We’re all moving online all the time. Everything we do that has meaning in our lives continues to move online and digital continues to more and more important. We’ll need to put our best and smartest people on digital and this will become increasingly common – and guess what? – We can measure it all. Your phone knows a lot about you. It can customize your route home and tell you where there’s a lot of traffic. What will your phone tell you about your non-profit? Will it place map points on projects you’ve helped to fund? Will it crowd source prospects and donors of like mind and encourage them to get together and network? It’s a mix of online and offline but it’s getting harder to succeed without an online transaction model.

The future is that we need to be more analytical and integrate it wholly into your business models. Focus not just on acquiring more data but starting a new project that provides a different economic insight on something you have done. Don’t let perfection get in the way of creativity or the drive to do at least one thing.


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