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Is Data Collected On Your Forms Actionable? Part 1


74% of firms want to be “data-driven” but only 24% of companies say they are good at connecting analytics to action.

I’ve worked with many businesses over the years who are feasting on form data but starving for understanding. In the first part of this two-part series, we look at what makes Formisimo an actionable analytics platform on the market, capable of turning events data into knowledge and knowledge into actionable insight.

What is Actionable Analytics?

Data. Information. Analytics. Insight. Many people think these words are interchangeable terms that mean the same thing.

In reality, data is the unprocessed text or numbers that are either quantitative or qualitative or a combination of the two. This is the fuel from which information – sorted data that has been processed and arranged in a more people-friendly way – can be formed. It’s often visualised using dashboards or charts which enable us to analyse the information and produce conclusions or insight that in turn influences decisions and drives change.

Forbes (2016), Hierarchy Pyramid With Data

Source: Forbes (2016), Hierarchy Pyramid With Data

In the image below, Gartner takes this hierarchy pyramid model several steps further bringing it much closer to my interpretation of events data analytics. It identifies how advanced tools are required to generate the insights that lead to knowledge and wisdom.

As the bottom layer of this pyramid shows, data doesn’t come in perfectly clean sets all ready to go. It’s intermingled with other pieces of information, misinformation and noise: include this data in your analytics and you’re creating problems before you even begin.


Source: Gartner (2012), Knowledge Pyramid

If you’re using free, ad hoc data capture and reporting tools, like Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, they fall somewhere between the bottom two levels of data collection and analysis. In their natural state they can only perform basic data gathering and are likely to include misleading or unnecessary data.

For example, Google’s In-Page Analytics might be able to tell you the proportion of visitors who clicked a certain link but it does this on the basis or url not the actual link.

This means, if you have a button that links to your homepage and you also have a home button, the report will show the same percentage of clicks across both items. Not helpful if you want detailed events data or information about your customer journeys within your form.

How Free Form Analytics Platforms Mean More Work For You

It is possible to elevate these free platforms to provide more meaningful metrics, but it takes a lot of skill, time and patience to build bespoke reports in your virtual report suite.

Other form analytics options are equally as woolly. Take session replays: by recreating the customer’s interactions with your form, you can watch a visual representation of their experience. However, all the data produced is qualitative and is easily influenced by human error. Plus, it takes a large team a long time to produce sufficient events data to provide meaningful metrics.

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Even if you do use these tools and manage to get to level three in the pyramid, this is as far as you’re likely to go.

That’s because most form analytics platforms fail to deliver on specificity.

With Google Analytics for example, you can tell that people are getting to page two of your form but you don’t understand why they aren’t reaching page three where you want them to submit. This is relatively helpful, but it doesn’t give you the specific information you need to be able to take action.

How can you tell if this is happening in your business? Because you’re left with more questions than answers.

What you really need to know is why (in the example above) did your user fail to make it past page two of your form? There are plenty of potential reasons: what you need to know is which in particular causes the obstruction.

With most analytics platforms, it’s simply not possible to get the answers you need to take swift and meaningful action. What you need is form analytics software that takes you to the top of the pyramid.

Find out more in the second part of this blog.