How Granular Should My Data Be As I Get Started?

How Granular Should My Data Be As I Get Started?

One of the most popular questions I receive from readers (and clients) is around the level of granularity that you should aim for during your initial data implementation. In other words, should you list all the possible metrics that you could track or limit it to a select few?

To answer this question, I’ll focus on 2 parts of our D.I.G. process: KPI Mapping and Tracking Plan creation. These two stages serve different purposes and they require slightly different approaches.

What is Proper KPI Mapping Across the Customer Journey?

This is usually the first stage that we tackle in any new project especially with clients who haven’t spend significant time thinking about their most important KPIs. The goal of this stage is to get everyone on the same page when it comes to KPIs or metrics.

To do this, we create a Measurement Plan document which looks like this:

Measurement Plan Template

We like to use the Pirate Metrics framework to organize the customer journey in clear steps: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, and Referral. However, you can use any framework that you like.

Under each section, we want to list out the most important KPIs (1-3 usually) and other relevant information like business goals. We also spend some time thinking about how we want to slice this data.

This is where the magic of analytics happens. Here are a few common segmentation options:

  • Demographic data = gender, age, device information
  • Geographic data = city, country, state
  • Marketing data = campaign, ad, ad set/group, source
  • Behavioral data = authentication type (facebook vs google)

Less is more here especially when it comes to KPIs.

Converting a Measurement Plan to a Technical Tracking Plan

Once you have a Measurement Plan, we need to convert it to a technical tracking plan. Conversion isn’t the right word here. We will link these two documents together but they are created in isolation.

When we create a tracking plan, we go through the product and write down all the possible actions that users can take. We typically end up with 30-40 actions which all become events. We also include event properties to provide more relevant information.

However, it doesn’t make much sense to implement 30-40 events. Instead, we prioritize the 5-10 most important events. This is done by looking at our Measurement Plan and deciding what we want to focus on.

If Acquisition is the current focus, we will choose events that can support the KPIs and segmentation options we listed there. The other 20 – 30 events might get implemented later or they might not.

Bringing It All Together in Reports

Finally, we bring everything together by creating the necessary reports or dashboards. This is usually the easiest step because you’re simply looking for a way to display the KPIs you listed in your Measurement Plan.

If you’re missing something here, you can go back and implement the relevant event from your tracking plan. This is an iterative process but you should be making visible and useful progress. This means actually using the data to make better decisions.

Next Steps

If you want more help during the tracking plan stage, then you should check out our Web & Mobile App Analytics Bundle. We created 4 tracking plan for products like SaaS, Marketplaces, eCommerce and Mobile Games. This saves you hours of work and you can see the most common events that we think you should be tracking.

One more thing before you go! Are you getting the data you need to grow your company?

I find most companies are stuck with high-level metrics and they aren't able to properly understand what actually drives user growth for their web and mobile products. To do that, you need the right data and the right tools.

If this sounds like your situation, then you should download our free tracking plan (and tutorial video). This is the document that you should create before you ever implement tools like Mixpanel, Amplitude, Segment, and Intercom. Click the image below to download your own free tracking plan (and tutorial video).

Ruben Ugarte
Ruben Ugarte
I'm the founder of Practico Analytics and I created this company to help companies use analytics data to grow their web and mobile products. I love combining data, psychology, and systems in work and in personal projects.

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