The difference between data, analytics and insights

The difference between data, analytics and insights

  • News
  • 15 - 06 - 2018
  • By Elisa Choy

What is the difference between data, analytics and insights? Data and analytics allow a company to see how its products and services are being received by consumers. When used effectively, we know it has the power to guide the direction of the company and open the doors to new opportunities.

But the words data, analytics, and insights are thrown around a bit – sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably. What exactly are they and how are they connected?

Think of data, analytics and insights like a painting – the dots, brush strokes and lines all signify data points. The combination of data can resemble a flower or a hand – that’s analytics. Insights tell us what the artist was trying to portray in the painting.

The difference between data, analytics and insights

What is data?

Data is the information you obtain from users, such as demographics, behaviour, and activity levels. Businesses collect user data across a multitude of channels including apps, email, and the Internet. Data includes transaction data, such as sales or everything that is captured on your receipt such as date, time, store location, checkout number, number of items, item names, credit card.
Today, we have access to more data than ever before. In fact, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day at our current pace. 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last 2 years.
With so many ways to connect with people and access the internet, data collection and storage has become increasingly challenging. It’s no wonder cloud storage such as Google Drive and DropBox has been so popular. Just think about how many times your phone is telling you your storage is almost full!
And while anyone can collect data, the most challenging task is to make sense of it and deciding whether a piece of data is useful.

What is analytics?

Analytics is the process of analysing patterns and relationships in data to make sense of it.
There's little value in having data if you can't turn it into something meaningful for your business.
Let's say you had a mobile app. Your data might tell you that you sent 16,000 push messages in the last month. That figure alone doesn’t mean anything, however an analytics tool could dig further to tell you that your app sent 3.7 messages per user with an open rate of 20%
Now we’re getting somewhere.

What are insights?

So we can see now how data and analytics build off each other to better understand your user base.
Insights delve deeper and connects seemingly disparate data to provides further wisdom about the question at hand. It’s like reading between the lines, which adds tremendous value in answering questions around “Why did something happen?”. Insights reveal actions to grow your business strategy and identify opportunities. They simply provide the “ah-ha” and light bulb moments.
To continue with the mobile app example, let’s say the push messages have resulted in a 21% increase in sales. This tells us that the use of push messages as a strategy is effective so now you can experiment and test variations to help increase your sales even further.
The best insights are the ones that are intelligent and actionable. They tell you what actions that should and actually can be taken to influence the result, such as sales. Otherwise, it’s just another piece of information. What is your data telling you about your business and your customers?
If you’re looking to be more data-driven and unlock strategic and intelligent insights from your data, we at Strategic Data Central can help empower your team to understand your numbers better in a simple, jargon-free way. We can help reveal intelligent insights that will help you get to know your customers.
Contact us today to find out more.