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What information do I actually need to know?

In one of his informative frequent posts, Seth Godin recently wrote: “Data is everywhere, but turning it into information …takes focus, effort, consultation and time. More information is only useful if it helps you make a decision.” If we don’t use data to make a decision, we should avoid it, as it’s never going to be information.

This has become clear to the many of us who are currently looking at moving to the new Google Analytics. This move will most likely require re-creating our reports, so it’s an ideal opportunity to ask ourselves exactly what it is that we need. I have all sorts of legacy reports being created in the current Google Analytics that I rarely pay attention to. Conversely, there are a few things I probably ought to report on better and more frequently, and this could be an ideal opportunity to set something up.

While it’s always tempting to look at the features of a product like Google Analytics, and choose those that seem interesting, it’s always better to go for a long walk and ask ourself: “What information do I actually need to know?” The chances are that it can be provided, but what ‘it’ is needs a clear, independent assessment.