The Insight Revolution


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We at Sweetspot have been talking about the importance of Insights for years. Our underlying methodology of Digital Insight Management (DIM) moves far beyond the simple collection and analysis of data. DIM champions the analysis of relevant data in context to extract insights, and the efficient and effective communication of these insights so they arrive at the person best able to act on them in the moment in which acting on them can have the best and greatest impact on performance.

 Many however have continued to focus purely on data, especially as the Big Data trend gained momentum. Data alone, however, is useless unless insights can be drawn from it, independent of its quantity.  It is only recently that there has been a shift and experts and organizations have finally begun to emphasize insights.

insightsSo how are insights different from data?

Data is a set of qualitative or quantitative values. Insights however, are valuable pieces of actionable information that can provide business value to an organization and are found through the analysis of data within context. So what do we mean by actionable information?  Let’s consider an example:

Whereas our analytics tool may provide us with data on website traffic from different countries, an insight might explain why website traffic from one country is so low compared to others and therefore provide us with the information we need to be able to act and increase traffic from this country

a very basic example may be that our traffic from Portugal is low because our Google search results show a snippet or meta description in English only. Therefore, by taking the action of translating this small piece of text we may increase website visits and create business value.

So if the experts are finally talking about insights, what are they saying?

We have written an article on what an insight is, but we would also like to share but a few examples of the many articles that we found interesting and that can help shed some light on what insights are and how to find them: 

Sweetspot brought much attention to the concept in late 2012 when we released a sponsored paper written by Eric T. Peterson, titled Digital Insight Management, Ten Tips to Better Leverage Your Existing Investment in Digital Analytics and Optimization. This paper addressed the failure of many business leaders and senior executives to “effectively leverage the tremendous volumes of digitally collected data” and provided a strategy for the “develop[ment of] robust Digital Insight Management practices designed to establish ownership, drive action and create accountability for the  use of analytics across the business.”

Irfan Kamal from Social@Ogilvy defines insights as actionable, data-driven findings that create business value and describes a four-step process for “generating insights relevant to specific segments or affinity groups” which can act as a “concrete road map for making marketing more efficient and effective”.

Dr. Michael Wu from Lithium presents a great article and concise infographic on how insights are not equal to information.


Marketing Profs reports that “According to the recently released 5th annual Digital IQ Survey, consulting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) found that 58% of respondents agree that moving from data to insight is a major challenge.”

Clickz explains that as Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. “They explain how although almost everything is measurable these days, we should only measure what is truly meaningful to us– and this is done by choosing the best metrics possible to give us the greatest actionable insights- aka  “Simply put, actionable metrics should tell the marketer how to act based on the insights revealed by the data. “

Danny Brown reports on how many companies are data rich but insight poor and gives some tips on how to focus on insights, such as:

  • Employ qualified individuals
  • Identify the analysis that is most important and valuable to your company
  • Utilize technology
  • And change company culture to focus on the real-time extraction of insights

What interesting articles have you seen on insights lately? We would love to see your favourites in the comments.

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Megan Wilcock

VP of Business Development for Sweetspot. Responsible for strategic brand development, marketing and business development. BA/BComm graduate from the University of Melbourne. My passion lies in finding creative solutions and encouraging collaboration.

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