Have you ever figured out that you suddenly need to know the answer to a question you’ve never asked before? The key to getting that answer is data. But if you haven’t been measuring everything since the beginning, you are going to have to wait for the answer. That time could be crucial to your business, if you found an opportunity to entirely change your business, but the answer is a month away, you might miss out. So start measuring everything from the beginning, but how?
Two Problems with Measuring Everything
There are two main problems with measuring everything. First, what you might need to measure in the future seems stupid to measure today. So, you have a bias against it, it’s a waste of time. And so even when you set out to measure “everything” you probably won’t.
Secondly, it’s expensive. It takes time to find everything to measure and to set up systems to measure them. And yes, it’s harder for non-web companies, but it can be worth it.
For example, I was working for a company that built books. They were measuring a lot, and because we had that amount of data, I was able to find a new process that had the potential to reduce their production cycle from 12 days to 4. That can save days of labor costs or enable you to scale to 3 times the production.
How can you measure every piece of your business?
For tracking these clickable items, it really isn’t that important to spend the time naming them at this point, because you won’t be using this data all the time. You can really just use a number scheme of events 1,2,3,… That way you have everything. You can up your game to get more detailed information to capture text people are highlighting, or how far they scroll on your page to be able to intimately understand the experience of the user.
Does it really matter?
The biggest companies are measuring as much as they can because they know the data will reveal something about their customers they wouldn’t be able to find themselves. Think about Facebook and Google, they measure everything to optimize their companies. Plus it is one of the top 7 marketing trends in companies. So, ask yourself, do you want to optimize your business, play with the big boys, and stay ahead of the curve or not?
Understand that you don’t know what you need to measure yet. You can’t see into the future, but if you want your hindsight to be 20/20, you are going to need to know what the past really looked like. So, start measuring everything. In this day and age, you have no excuse not to.
What data do you wish you had?