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Content insight: why you can’t rely on web analytics alone

12th April 2018

Kevin Hearn

Director of Strategy

Why relying on just web analytics to create your insight could be dangerous.

Seek out the sentiments behind customers’ comments so you can focus on their unmet needs.

Social listening and data analytics are playing an increasingly important role in measuring the success and ROI of content campaigns. Decision-makers love having the cold, hard evidence of statistics, as shown by our State Of Play survey, which indicates that 47% of content marketers use web/social analytics as their source of insight.

Hearing something straight from the horse’s mouth carries much more weight than second-hand reporting.

While this type of evidence is invaluable for measuring the performance of content, it’s what the statistics don’t tell you that we think is critically important.

Our belief is that the richest and deepest insight come from fusing together the widest possible range of different research sources. While web/social analytics enable you to track and monitor customer behaviour, they don’t tell you about the sentiment behind the comments.

More importantly, these analytics don’t reveal the unmet needs, which are defined as what your target audience is interested in, but not currently talking about. This is particularly the case with more emotive topics, such as your personal or business finances.

For that we must understand the WHY behind the data and use qualitative techniques and actually talk to customers. If we combine our desk research and web/social analytic observations with external customer perspectives, then we will be able to form a holistic view of customer needs.  Our State Of Play survey surprised us in that only 47% of organisations conduct qualitative research and 36% undertake quantitative research.

We would stress that not every enquiry, campaign or creative idea requires an expensive insight programme. The key is to adopt a ‘test and learn’ approach to develop creative thinking with the input of quick, agile customer feedback. More robust quantitative validation can be incorporated further down the development process if the idea has traction and merits further investment.

At the other end of the spectrum, we can gauge whether an early-stage idea has resonance by testing it within a couple of focus groups.  They also provide the opportunity to engage stakeholders, if they are undertaken in viewing studios, as clients can watch and even take part in the sessions by directing questions at end-customers. Hearing something straight from the horse’s mouth carries much more weight than second-hand reporting, even if it’s the same message being conveyed.

If we have the luxury of time and a generous budget, then the ideal is to undertake longitudinal insight studies. These enable us to track people over a certain time period as they experience different touchpoints and communications during their customer journey. For example, online diaries are a great way of connecting with customers on an on-going basis, and then qualitative dips can provide richer narratives and tease out financial sensitivities.

For harder-to-reach audiences (e.g. High Net Worths or Businesses) who are less vocal and harder to identify on social media, then more creative and engaging techniques may be required. With these audiences, time is at a premium and methodologies need to ensure that your participants are treated as valued stakeholders and get something constructive for participating in the research process.

For example, depth interviews, roundtable dinners and consultation exercises will enable you to have candid conversations with them. This will ensure that participants get something meaningful out of the exercise, while simultaneously providing invaluable informed feedback.

These personable and engaging qualitative methodologies will provide the voice of the customer which, in turn, will supply the insight narrative behind the data.

To find out more about the why behind your web data, get in touch with Editions Financial today.



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About the author

Kevin Hearn

Director of Strategy

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