Imagine this: You are on a beach, soaking in the sunshine, listening to the waves crashing against the shore, sipping piña colada from a fresh coconut in your hand, your toes in the sand and your laptop in front of you... Maybe this is not how you work—but we can all dream, right? You are feeling great about life because you are in charge of advertising for a big name brand, Charbucks, the biggest retailer for charcoal infused coffee.
Charbucks really likes you and trusts your work. However, while your replies of “this campaign is doing great” and “we are seeing really positive results” make your client feel reassured about advertising, Charbucks still wants to see those “positive results” in a number format because what does “positive results” even mean?!
But you can’t just send Charbucks an excel sheet full of numbers even though that’s exactly what they asked for. While coffee in excess can be a good thing (in my humble opinion), numbers can feel overwhelming. It’s your job to break down those numbers and communicate back to Charbucks exactly how advertising is affecting their business, because that’s what they really want to know.
So, when an analyst hands you an excel sheet with multiple tabs, thousands of numbers and acronyms for metrics that your client wouldn’t understand, you don’t close your eyes or scream. You don’t even need to hit force quit and run the other direction. You look those numbers right in the face and you say “I am going to turn you into a story.”
Here are the four essential steps to turning those numbers into a work of art:
What does your client care about?
What was the objective of the campaign? Was it to get video views? Was it to increase brand recognition? Was it to drive purchases? Answering this one question will dictate what and how you tell your client about your findings.
Charbucks, for example, is using short video ads to drive online purchases of their bottled charcoal coffee. Charbucks doesn’t need to know how many people watched 3 seconds of their videos. That is not the point of this campaign. They would rather see how many people from those that watched the videos then went on to make a purchase.
Focus on the specific areas that matter the most
Now that your main question is defined, you can hone in on specific areas rather than look at all the metrics without direction. You want to create a story that is both cohesive and compelling.
For Charbucks, for example, we would consider answering these types of questions:
- Was there a specific time frame in which most of the users dropped off?
- Did the people who watch 10 seconds of the video ad buy more?
- Did video ads drive more purchases than other types of ads?
- Were 60+ year olds actually converting at a higher rate than 18-24 year olds?
Use graphs and charts to visually display the data
Data can be beautiful and presenting it visually makes it easier to digest and therefore drive better business decisions. Look at your data and the questions you want to answer. Then see if there is a way you can represent your findings in a more visually appealing way.
Use the data to impact future change
If you give someone scraps of fabric but don’t actually tell them how to make a t-shirt, then what you’ve given them is not usable. Same thing with reporting. You want the data you give to your client to be useful. Take your findings and turn them into recommendations for how to drive more impact in the future.
If you found that the Charbucks videos highlighting coffee art drove more purchases than the videos highlighting Charbucks employees, you could suggest that their videos in the future include more art and fewer people.
There is so much data and research that goes into figuring out the best way for a business to execute effectively. It should be processed in a way that helps determine the most appropriate market, as well as the creative and content that will resonate best. If we streamline our reporting, we enable businesses to be more efficient and proactive in their decision-making. Maybe there's time for that cocktail on the beach after all?
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