Analytics, when spoken, is a word that can divide a room of people. It will intrigue some and send others mentally and emotionally somewhere else believing that it is “someone else’s” responsibility or simply unethical and irresponsible.

Every person interested in engaging others in meaningful conversations should pay attention to analytics.

  • Analytics and conversations share the same goal … Engagement.

  • Analytics and conversations measure the same thing … Behavior.

  • Analytics and conversations uncover the same truth … Validate or challenge our assumptions.

Every communicator wants to make the most of the opportunities he or she is presented with. But too often our game plan is based on a whim, grounded in the success of others, and left to intuition. As is often said, “Hope is not a strategy.”

Conversations are fragile, dynamic, and always evolving. 

The idea that once we gain the attention of others we’ll always have their attention is a dangerous assumption to make. Digital communication channels offer message-makers the chance to “listen” to their audience by monitoring this group’s actions and behavior. It’s really what marketing is all about.

We must never stop studying our target audience and the nuances of each segment.

The temptation, though, is to possess too much confidence in our knowledge of our audience that we presume upon them our interests, preferences, and questions. I’m consistently surprised at which blog posts, articles, and other work people most connect with. I can never be so sure about the direction I’m headed that I fail to verify if my audience is coming with me.

How to start using analytics

  • Begin with what you have. Many content management systems have a basic set of analytical tools already built in. Start there.

  • Ask questions you can’t easily answer. The pursuit of every piece of measurable data should begin with a question you need answered.

  • Review the information regularly. Be ready to make changes or adjustments if necessary.

Data is useless if ignored.

And we can’t afford to ignore the signals our target audience is sending us through how they chose to—or not to—engage with our brand, content, and events. Our desire to connect, engage, and move people to some type of measurable action should override any inhibitions we might have about measuring data, validating our assumptions, and making course corrections when necessary.

How are you using analytics to ensure you’re engaged in meaningful conversations with your target audience?

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