Why I think you should have a personal analytics strategy

  • 23 April 2020
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Why I think you should have a personal analytics strategy
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Every week, we will release tips to help you get the most out of Mixpanel. Want to see more? Click here to see other #mpknowledgedrop articles.


This week I delivered a few webinars with all my customers with the aim of each person understanding why and how to create their own personal analytics strategy. 

This is something that is particularly interesting for me as I used to think that strategy was something reserved for Leadership or C-Level members of the team. But I now wholeheartedly disagree.

We began with the following definition of Strategy (thanks to the Merriam-Webster dictionary):

  • a careful plan or method : a clever stratagem

  • the art of devising or employing plans or stratagems toward a goal

  • an adaptation or complex of adaptations (as of behavior, metabolism, or structure) that serves or appears to serve an important function in achieving evolutionary success

You are entitled to have a long-term plan and view of your impact on the organisation as a part of the whole.


Why Strategy?

Strategy has a number of of benefits to a business:

  • Clear roadmap
  • Guiding principles
  • Decision making framework
  • Priorities and points of focus

Imagine all these benefits to you as an individual?

When you show up each day and complete your tasks, contribute to projects, generate ideas and drive innovation you are making both a short and long term impact on your business, product, platform and customer/user experience within. You make a difference. 


How? (The Small Print)

Now, at this point you have decided whether you even care to find out how to establish, communicate and review your personal analytics strategy your ready for the detail. But first I have a few caviats.

For a personal analytics strategy to work it must be the following:

  • Clearly communicated - Are you bring data into your 1:1s and team meetings and allowing it to tell a story?

  • Connected to company goals - Are you driving something that ultimately feeds into the company’s focus metric? Or are you on a proverbial island alone/rowing in the opposite direction?

  • Connected to other data sources - Are you getting the full picture? Is there a level of granularity you need to be able to understand your impact?

  • An active approach, personally led and important - Do you care? This shouldn’t be a chore-to-check, it should be led by genuine curiousity and desire to be data informed in your work

  • Reviewed and adjusted - Does your strategy grow with you? Are you updating your reports or even just the order of reports on your dashboard when the business strategy pivots or is the data the old-focus?

  • Looped back in - If you search the stories of the companies who achieve evolutionary success you will see a nod to process, a nod to sharing what works across the organisation. Upon review it’s important to loop the learnings back into the team so others can replicate your success e.g. the data shows the rollout of the ios app was successful so you share the process and data in a meeting with the android team ahead of their rollout and use it to benchmark/set targets for post-launch.

If you are willing to do the above then go right-ahead!


How (The actual how)

The questions above were just food for thought but the core of this exercise sits upon our Innovation Loop pictured below, which also works really well with another loop often called the Feedback Loop by product managers (Build > measure > Learn). 

Grab a piece of paper, post-its, digital whiteboard or blank document and work your way through the 5 points of this loop.

Do you have all the data you need to review your impact? Are you using breakdowns to identify trends? What’s the most popular day of week for your focus event? do you understand why some users are converting and others aren’t? What are users naturally doing post login? Who are the users returning to the platform and where are they coming from? Are they reading the blog or marketing messages? 

If I open your Mixpanel project right now will I know what you are driving for? Have you added descriptions to your reports, have you added targets alongside your trendlines? Which events do you have custom alerts for? Are you noting significant product releases/updates in your insight report for review. Are there a number of dashboards for company and team-level metrics that matter?

Then, to close… when you are taking action, how are you measuring the ripple-effect, the data that all-the-things you do outside of Mixpanel create? Are you using Impact or Experiments report to answer the question “did it work?” how often? Who are you sharing this insight with, is this looped into retrospectives/reviews?

And ….Exhale… 


Your Results

So… you have a mind map, a list of points or general brain-dump. You may have a list of things to check in your project or new reports to explore and create. Or you maybe have all these but didn’t know you can bring them together on a Dashboard. Regardless of where you are the next step will be to review your results in Mixpanel. You can do this with the following features:

  1. Dashboards - Create your personal dashboard with the reports showing the metrics that matter

  2. Formulas in insights - Add a line alongside the live data to show your target

  3. Cohorts over time - Who are the users returning daily, weekly or monthly? Use this feature to see this group grow and trend up to the right!

  4. Custom alerts - Let Mixpanel do the heavy lifting and send an email when a key metric increases by x%. These emails can be sent to you or your whole team hourly (launch day?) daily or weekly

  5. Integrations & APIs Does the data you need live elsewhere? Are you getting the whole picture?

  6. Tracking Plan The foundational plan for what you want to track in Mixpanel, use this alongside the Lexicon report to understand if you need to expand or streamline your implementation

  7. Analytics Framework - A framework every professional services customer will build with their CSM. Designed to provide a framework for comprehensive analysis of your entire customer’s journey at key stages of the lifecylce

Closing Remarks

By now you can probably tell I’m excited about this topic, here are some of my favourite books on the topic:

  • The lean startup - Eric Ries
  • Linchpin - Seth Godin
  • Good strategy, bad strategy - Richard P. Rumelt
  • The strategy book: How to think and act strategically to deliver outstanding results - Max McKeown

Do you have any books/podcasts/blogs for me check out? Did you find this helpful? Do you agree with me? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments :-)


“Your tactics can make a difference, but your strategy—your commitment to a way of being and a story to be told and a promise to be made—can change everything.”

― Seth Godin, This Is Marketing

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