There’s gold in them there data mountains

  • by
Reading Time: 3 minutes

One thing you have to get to grips with quickly in the product world is data, there are so many great tools to get, find, gather and drill into data.  I might say I spend too much time deep in data, but for my sins I love it, and why do I love it, what am I looking for, how do I find it?

Why do I love data?

Why I love it is that it’s free from singular opinion, it’s almost the truth. I say almost the truth as with nearly any dataset it is possible to cut it in such a way that it can produce a positive story. You have to be mindful to being impartial to the results of data collections and evaluation, never skew it to fit your own agenda.

What am I looking for?

I am looking for gold, I’m looking for inspiration, I’m looking for things to exploit.  Sometimes you have to dig real deep to find it, other times it’s staring you in the face.  I do find that looking at one single dataset now might not yield any gold or great insights, but as things move and change, that same dataset can produce gold.

How do I find it?

I once had a dataset of which features and journeys yielded the most purchases.  It was a pretty traditional route.  

  • Homepage
  • Product page
  • Basket/Cart
  • Payment

Obviously the product page was the best page to convert from. It did frustrate me that only 1% of people converted here, losing 99% of people wasn’t acceptable to me. So, I set out to find out why people were dropping off. After much research it turned out we had a core availability issue. The product page was allowing people to get to the basket with unavailable products, but for reasons beyond this story, we couldn’t stop it happening.

I set out to change this with some lovely design filtered navigation, helping people to find what was 100% available. Simple right? Yes and no. We increased sales, but annoyingly people were still getting the same issue as not everyone was using the new feature. I’d love to say the solution was obvious. Well once I decided to make the journey to the basket longer… Yes longer ( I can feel conversion experts screaming at me here). But in this case, giving people confidence, alternative options and more information pre basket paid dividends.

No longer was the best journey;

  • Homepage
  • Product page
  • Basket/Cart
  • Payment

Now it is;

  • Homepage
  • Availability checker
  • Product page
  • Basket/cart
  • Payment

Even for those where the product was 100% available, this was a better journey, which slightly surprised me. It turns out seeing the other products, knowing their selected product was available and I think the beauty of the design won them over even more.

There we go, there was gold in them there data hills. So did I put my feet up and enjoy the gold?  Of course not, I dug deeper, tried variations of that new journey, and to be honest I shortened it by allowing the user to go directly to the basket without seeing the product page. 

This new journey;

  • Homepage
  • Availability checker
  • Basket/Cart
  • Payment

This is now a very valid journey and for some product sets it’s the best journey, another surprise for me, the data doesn’t lie and neither do the increased sales.

There is gold in your data, the more I have the more gold I find.  I’m now looking at big data and starting to use awesome tools to find deep deep gold and guess what I’ll do when I find it?

Exploit it, dig deeper and look for more data to feed your new passion.

I love data.

To be a product manager you must at least like playing with data, you definitely must be curious and without doubt, you have to have an open mind.

Happy digging!

Related

  • Simple Funnel Flow ExperimentI run many experiments in my role and knowing how to read the data, and deciding what to do next is paramount to success. In this blog I'm looking at a simple funnel experiment for a user flow that's not converting as well as I would like and from digging…
  • Metrics up, metric down, conversion up, users downStartups are full of metrics and numbers, especially when they start to look for investment. Ask any investor in tech and I would bet you that every one of them has come up against a company which initially looks like they have great metrics, but when they dig deeper they…

Comments

comments