• Richard Forbes

Transforming Data into Insights

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

Data is everywhere and often overwhelming to interpret. Yet, reporting is important. Defining and analyzing insights is essential to clarifying the worth and necessity of a communications budget. As clients expect to see the fruits of labor, media organizations also require insights to adjust strategies and make decisions.

There are many ways to communicate insights, and depending on the organization’s and client’s preferences, media professionals need to be comfortable with alternative forms of presentation and communication. Here are some tips to help transform data into insights.

1. Define Business Objectives

Reports should include goals that clearly define the achievements and opportunities of media campaigns. To demonstrate the team’s accomplishments, highlight important moments (reposts, news segments, viral trends, etc.) and impactful statistics. When highlighting data, include a short description of its relevance and importance. The more concise the description, the more likely a client is to read and act.

2. Automate Reporting Practices

Reports take time and energy to interpret and create. To reduce the manpower needed to create this final product, involve computer programs and visual graphics in reports to assist with data interpretation. Some social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram, have in-house Insights programs that provide useful data on audiences and account performance. If your organization has the budget, there are also independent resources that can assist in data evaluation and account management.

At SparkIt, we deliver Insights to our clients monthly using in-house Insight programs on social media platforms. Team members meet to evaluate the accomplishments and opportunities of accounts, finalizing a summary to say what adjustments will be made in the coming months. This honesty creates an environment of trust and understanding between teams and clients, overall improving the content that is published.

3. Evaluate the Data

The key to a successful report is within the interpretation of data and numbers. As a media professional, you are expected to be an expert in this field and qualified to explain the “what” and “why” within the report. Take time to acknowledge anomalies and trends, both good and bad. What drives spikes and valleys in your graphs? When delivering chaotic charts, clients’ first question will always be “What happened?”

4. Deliver Results

One tip every professional will tell you is, no executive has time to read a multi-page in-depth report. Delivering results in a concise fashion is an acquired skill. A good place to begin is by understanding a few key points from the report and highlighting (literally and metaphorically) Insight takeaways. Finding an optimal way to show these conclusions varies by the recipient. AT SparkIt, we deliver PDF presentations with slides dedicated to chart data and their interpretations. We, literally, highlight important information in ‘Takeaways’: red boxes that provide information on the data’s meaning and future steps the team will take to improve.

5. Show How Results Will Guide Future Endeavors

Part of interpreting data is demonstrating the actions that are taken as a result. Data analysis is not simply for the client to see how fantastic the media team is, rather than analyze the communication strategy’s positives and negatives to then improve. Communicating these opportunities of improvement acknowledge the imperfections of the campaign while creating a professional understanding of the tasks at hand. This can be done in many fashions, but a concise paragraph or shortlist of next steps is an easy way to advise supervisors on improvements.

As media professionals, we are hired to manage social media, news outlets and communication channels. Part of this job requires a consistent review of data to advise team members on policies that are successful or that need changes. Whether this data is being used for personal understanding or client communication, reporting insights is essential to managing the best communication channel possible. By taking an active role in data analysis, professionals cna understanding the causation between the media and target audiences.

What are your experiences with data analytics and what have you learned? Leave your stories in the comments below.

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