Behavior Analytics 101 for your Business
In this first post from Tim Piatenko, who heads up our analytics team, he offers his take on the complicated concept of analytics and provides an overview of Badgeville's behavior-based approach. Tim has an extensive background in big data analytics and insight, coming from Zynga and eBay, where he analyzed large amounts of data for the most popular social games and eCommerce environments.
What is this thing called "analytics" anyway? Aren't there already a thousand analytics programs available to understand what's happening on our sites?
From Wikipedia: "Analytics is the application of computer technology, operational research, and statistics to solve problems in business and industry."
It is the essential link between operations and business decisions that consists of tracking, measuring, aggregating, analyzing, and reporting on every aspect of a company's performance, from product deployment to customer satisfaction. Components of Analytics include: system monitoring and alerting, usage reporting and dashboard design, ad hoc slicing and dicing of data to squeeze meaning out of it, as well as more advanced and strategic applications of statistics, such as segmentation and modeling. Yes, there are many programs available to accomplish this at a basic level, but with the massive amounts of data available -- especially the data Badgeville tracks with our Behavior Platform -- there are many new ways to obtain new and valuable insight through analyzing this data in ways that haven't been done before. I joined Badgeville to address this exciting challenge.
Why does it matter?
In today's high-tech world, it's all about optimization, and that's exactly what analytics allows us to do. Without measurements, we can't tell what we are doing well, and, where we need to improve. Without iterative measurements, we can't adjust to change. And without experimenting and understanding the results, we cannot innovate. Analytics is the process of setting up these essential measurements and monitoring them on an ongoing basis. It is also the process of feeding the results back to the most appropriate consumer in the most appropriate manner. If done well, analytics ties all your business units together in a coherent fashion and keeps your business operating like a well-oiled machine. And if done really well, analytics also provides the beautiful showroom to display your success to the outside world.
What does it do for us?
We at Badgeville have the benefit of not simply measuring what users do on a web site or a social network, but also being the driver of change by providing behavioral incentives. By being both the agent of change and the measurement gauge, we provide a powerful closed loop system. Why does it matter? Because as we surface and drive users' behaviors, we effectively magnify the separation between the various segments of population, thereby increasing signal to noise ratios. We provide the context and measure the effect, and we continuously adjust as we go.
Fundamentally, we live by the paradigm that people vote with their actions, not their words. Thus, things like self-reported demographic data are great, but not as great as actual activities performed on a site or in a mobile app. And it's one thing to claim fondness for Nike shoes by liking the company page on Facebook, but it's quite another to actually comment on a specific pair on Zappos.
In Tim's next post in the analytics series, he will address how Badgeville is approaching analytics, and what you need to know about measuring behavior data.