What is Minimalism?
The core concept of minimalism is living simply and having only those things that you absolutely need. It is about removing clutter in your life and focusing on the actual “living”.
I am not an extreme minimalist, but I do practice it a lot in my daily life. I believe in only acquiring stuff that serves a purpose, but I do go astray sometimes and then I spend a lot of time. I believe the unnecessary accumulation of stuff causes stress and distraction and takes away the fun of “living”.
I also practice and teach minimalism in my work and courses. As a digital analyst (or any profession) you should strive to become a minimalist, even if you don’t like to practice that in other aspects of your life.
So, what does minimalist mean in Digital Analytics? Here are some things for you to think about and practice minimalism.
Goals and KPIs
How many goals and KPIs do you define for any campaign? The goal for each campaign should ideally be one and if your answer to the KPIs is more than 4 then you have some work to do.
Researchers at the University of Oregon found that the human brain has a built-in limit on the number of discrete thoughts it can entertain at one time. The limit for most individuals is four. (Source: https://www.informationweek.com/it-life/humans-can-only-think-about-four-things-at-once-study-says)
If you can narrow it down to one goal and one KPI and get your stakeholders to agree with you then you are an extreme minimalist.
If not, then think about how you can narrow them down. Too many goals and KPIs means, you have no clue what you are trying to achieve. These KPIs will go on your dashboard and as mentioned above the human brain won’t be able to focus on them effectively.
Marketing Technology Platforms and Tools
Look at the number of platforms and tools you are using in your organizations. I bet many of them do similar stuff with a slight twist. Make a list of tools across the organization. See who is using which tools and why?
Analyze each tool to see which features they offer and if those features are utilized or not. Which tools offer similar functionality? Look at the cost of each tool and calculate the ROI or benefits of those tools.
Ultimately your goal should be to consolidate and save costs while utilizing the tools for the maximum benefit.
Not only will you remove the clutter, but you will also save money and take a huge step in creating a data-driven culture.
There is a lot of clutter in your tool implementation. Some of that might be sitting inside the code on your web pages, and some of that might be in the tag managers or inside the various tags.
As different people work on various aspects of tracking, serving different stakeholders and adding new tools, etc., your implementation gets bloated. Multiple triggers, variables, and tags get created that do the same thing.
Every few months do an audit of your implementation and remove the variables, triggers, and tags that no longer serve you.
It is very easy to get caught up in “advanced tracking” because it seems cool. However, cool is the enemy of simplicity. This in turn causes page load speed issues thus resulting in deteriorated customer experience and hence lower satisfaction and conversion.
If you want to be cool, then take the most complicated tag and simplify it. I bet you can. Maybe you can completely get rid of it.
Look at how many reports and dashboards you or your group produces each day, week, month, quarter, or year.
Create a list of all those reports and a dashboard. Figure out to whom those are sent and the purpose of each report and dashboard.
See if your stakeholders still use them. You will be surprised to know the number of reports that never get used. Figure out the reason for the lack of usage or the part of the reports your stakeholders still use.
Verify if the report frequency still makes sense. Maybe the daily report should only be sent weekly or monthly and maybe the monthly report now needs to be only sent quarterly.
Check the metrics and charts in those reports. Do all of them need to be there? Can you reduce the clutter? Do your stakeholders need different metrics and charts on those reports and dashboards?
If you put more than 4 metrics and charts on a report or dashboard, then the likely hood of them getting used decreases. The main message gets lost when you present too much information, and everything becomes noisy.
Make sure to document everything and visit the list and decluttering process at least every 6 months.
Insights and Recommendations
When presenting your insights and recommendations to the stakeholders, do you present a lot of recommendations or just a few?
Become a minimalist.
Focus on one or two, never more than three. Too many options lead to indecision. The purpose of your analysis, insights, and recommendation is to help you take holder make a decision.
The recommendations don’t have to be earth-shattering. Simple recommendations can have a big impact.
You don’t have to create a lot of work for yourself to come up with 20 recommendations, focus on 1-3 that will have an impact. If you have several then prioritize them and focus on the top three.
When conducting A/B testing, focus on one thing you want to test and one metric that you want to improve. Too many metrics don’t serve anybody. Focus on one. Be a minimalist.
Many tasks and report generations can be automated. Automate whatever you can but keep in mind that just because you can automate a report does not mean you should create a lot of automated reports. Only automates things that are required. Be a minimalist analyst.
Learning and career growth
It is easy to get distracted by all the different learning paths. New tools come in the market every day and the current tools keep evolving are changing which creates new distractions.
Figure out a clear career path. Find a mentor who can help move forward in that career path. That person will be available to help you figure out the learning path and skills you should acquire.
Join my inner circle membership and start learning with me at https://academy.optizent.com/courses/membership/
Also, check out my post 8 Digital Analytics Skills for 2023 and Beyond, https://www.optizent.com/blog/8-digital-analytics-skill-for-2023-and-beyond/
Are you a Minimalist Analyst? What other things would you like to add to this list?
Note: Online version of this email is available at https://www.optizent.com/blog/become-a-minimalist-analyst/