Insights for the data driven leader.

What is Descriptive Analytics?

Do you ever find yourself asking “What just happened?” when it comes time to look at your data? Descriptive analytics provides an opportunity for you to go back and examine your content and find out what exactly just happened. Descriptive analytics is a good way to simply some of your Big Data in a way that you can analyze and utilize the information gathered.

How does descriptive analytics work?

Descriptive analytics is, well, descriptive. It describes and summarizes data so it can be more easily interpreted. These analytics serve as insight to any point in time in the past whether it be last month of two quarters ago.

Why should you utilize descriptive analytics?

Descriptive analytics allow you to study the past and learn from any successes or failures. Doing this is important because the information you gather allows you to gain an understanding of how your past events may influence your team in the future. Descriptive analytics allows to you to strategize and plan for the future while knowing what mistakes your team may be prone to or what sales tactics have been successful for your team.

Data reports that showcase your company’s financial, sales, operations or customer records are just some examples of where descriptive analytics can come into play.  

How does descriptive analytics work?

Let’s look at an example.

Decide what you want to look at.

Say you are trying to increase your company’s social following. You can pull data that tells you your number of likes, followers, retweets, etc. but what does that even mean? So, you can use descriptive analytics to ask yourself “What happened?”

Break down your data: What did you do differently?

You can use descriptive analytics to break down when and how you gained, or didn’t gain, those new social followers. You should examine what all has occurred in the time period you are looking at. Did you start a new social media marketing campaign to attract followers? Did you change the style you’re writing your social content?

Break down your data: What has changed?

Let’s assume you are trying to determine the effects of your social media marketing campaign that started you started in Q1 had on increasing your company’s following. Examine the change in followers from the start of the quarter and the campaign until the end of them, or up until your current point. What changes are there?

If, with the use of descriptive analytics, you determine that your marketing campaign was able to increase your social following by 20% then you can use the data you do have to predict the data for the upcoming quarters that you don’t have.

Want more analytics insight? Check out our other blogs in our analytics series:
What is Predictive Analytics?
What is Diagnostic Analytics?
January 13, 2017
Caitlin Glasscock

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