How To Collect Data In Business Analytics – 10 Easy Ways

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 Businesses aren’t driven by gut feelings anymore. Consumer data decides the next product or move. Big enterprises and brands have a huge amount of data about their customers which help them take the right decisions to grow and expand their business.  

Everyone knows the importance of data in this day and age, but how small businesses that are just starting out can collect data?  This article will show you the 10 most common and easy ways of data collection for business analytics. We will also discuss which method and technique you should use to get your desired data.

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How To Collect Data In Business Analytics - 10 Easy Ways
How To Collect Data In Business Analytics – 10 Easy Ways

A brief description of data types

All the data that you collect is divided into 3 types based on its source.  

  1. Primary or first-party data:  

This is the data that you get directly from your customers. This is the most accurate form of data that can give you accurate results as its source is your direct customer.  

  1. Second-party data:  

This is the primary data of someone else. Social media insights are an example of such data. Your customers are their users and they collect primary data about them. From all that information, a chunk of data about your customers is offered to you.  

  1. Third-party data:  

Third-party data is mostly collected from various sources and gathered in one place. This includes big data like surveys and research that have been done in your industry. It’s sometimes available for free and sometimes you have to buy it.  

Here we’re going to talk about methods for gathering all 3 types of data. 

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6 ways to collect first-party data 

  1. Start a newsletter: 

Starting a newsletter gives you a database of customers and potential buyers. People who subscribe are actually interested in what you’re offering. It’s like a close community with a high chance of converting.  

You can get quick surveys consisting of one or two questions. This engages the audience and gives you the required data as well. It’s a great way to know what people are thinking about your brand or why they’re buying.   

Collect primary data through a newsletter
Collect primary data through a newsletter
  1. Conduct a questionnaire or survey:  

Conducting a survey is the easiest and the most common way of collecting primary data. There are various channels that you can use for the survey like,  

  • Email 
  • In-person 
  • On call 
  • Social media  
  • Website pop-ups  
  • If you have a physical store you can ask your customers to fill it out on paper or find a link on the website. 

Decide your channel of conduction first. Most businesses host it online rather than getting on call or arranging it in person. Now prepare a list of questions to add to your survey.  

There are 2 ways to get the answer. One is to give 3 to 4 options and the second is to let the person write whatever they want. The former way is more convenient and easy to analyze as it’ll give you quantitative data. The latter will give you qualitative data which requires more time and attention to analyze. 

  1. Give something in return:  

Here’s a good way to get data directly from your customers. Ask them to give you the desired information and in return offer them something. It can be a discount voucher, a free subscription for a few weeks or a month. 

You can use this technique with both your existing and potential customers. Set a pop-up on your website to show this offer to anyone who’s subscribing to your newsletter or make this an open offer for your social media followers.  

It’s a win-win situation for you as potential customers will be more inclined toward your brand due to the offer and you’ll get the data as well.  

  1. Focus group interviews:  

A focus group interview is a qualitative data collection technique. It’s like a discussion or meeting where people discuss a certain topic and you get to listen and analyze their thoughts. The people here are carefully selected based on whether they can provide you with the desired data or not.  

This technique can give you answers to whys and whats. In business analytics, it’s useful in understanding customer perspectives, their problems and their experience with your brand. This method is also useful in the A/B testing of new products.  

  1. Look at customer reviews: 

Always ask your customers to leave a review. This data will show you what people are thinking about your products or services.  

You can ask them to rate from 1 to 5 stars and give them a comment box as well. You can quantify the ratings through software to see the results.  

The comments will give you qualitative data which will require time and effort to analyze. However, you can get crazy results from it. For example, your customers are constantly mentioning a specific feature that they love. You can use it in your marketing campaign to attract more people.  

  1. Transaction record tracking:  

Whether your business is online, offline or hybrid you should always keep a record of your sales. Make a database which includes the buyer’s information, the item they purchased and the time.  

This information will let you know which products are the most purchased how many repeating customers you have and how many new customers you’re getting.   

A lot of software is available to do this task. Examples of sales tracking software are Bitrix24, Salesflare and EngageBay. 

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3 ways to collect second-party data

  1. Install Cookies or Pixels:  

It’s a very common method for tracking customer behaviour on your website. Install cookies or pixels to track customer behaviour. It records every activity of a person on your site. 

It’ll show you on which pages people are spending their most time, and where they’re going from that page on your site. You can see how many people click on your recommended links. In short, you can know every small detail of your customer behaviour.  

This will help you organize and update your site in a user-friendly way.  

  1. Social media insights: 

Social media platforms track their users. They have a lot of data about them. From all that data these platforms give you some information about your customers to analyze and boost your sales.  

They show you how well your posts are performing, who’s engaging with your content, and how many followers you got from a specific post. Regarding your customers, these platforms tell you your followers’ demographics (location, age, gender).  

Although these platforms provide you with the above information, you can use other available software to get more in-depth insights and data regarding your social media. Some famous social media analytics tools are BuzzSumo, Curalate, Sprout Social and Keyhole. 

  1. Data from marketing campaigns:  

It’s pretty easy to get insights into your online marketing campaign. The platform (Google, Facebook, Instagram) you’re using will surely give you some data. This information will include how many people interacted with your ad, how many impressions you’re getting, the peak time of activity and the demographics of viewers. 

If you’re running an offline campaign, you can ask your customers/target audience to answer 4 to 5 questions. Make sure your questions give you your required data. Feed that into software and you’ll get organized and quantitative data.  

How to collect third-party data: 

Third-party or big data is often sold or available on various websites. It’s the data that’s gathered from various sources, surveys and studies. In business analytics using third-party data isn’t that common. It’s not directly linked to your audience and is often not free.  

You can find third-party data from government and academic sites or from data marketplaces where it’s sold. Lotame, Oracle, Adobe and OnAudience are some famous data exchanging sites. 

Which data collection technique is the best for you?  

The data collection method that you should focus on depends on what type of data you require.  

  • If you want your customer’s demographics you should look at your social media insights. 
  • If you want to know what your customers think of your brand and products look at their reviews or conduct a questionnaire.  
  • If you want detailed answers to whys and whats arrange a focus group interview. 
  • If you want to track customer behaviour on your site install pixels or cookies.  

In a nutshell  

There are many ways of collecting data in business analytics. We’ve discussed the most common and easy methods of all 3 types of data collection. Here’s a recap of that,  

  1. Start a newsletter  
  1. Conduct a questionnaire or survey  
  1. Give something in return  
  1. Focus group interviews 
  1. Look at customer reviews 
  1. Transaction record tracking 
  1. Install Cookies or Pixels 
  1. Social media insights 
  1. Data from marketing campaigns  
  1. Data marketplaces  

Based on your goal you can select which technique is the best for you. Most of the time businesses use first and second-party data and it gives enough information to derive valuable results.

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Published by Rahul Bhattacharya

Rahul is a journalist with expertise in researching a variety of topics and writing engaging contents. He is also a data analyst and an expert in visualizing business scenarios using data science. Rahul is skilled in a number of programming languages and data analysis tools. When he is not busy writing, Rahul can be found somewhere in the Appalachian trails or in an ethnic restaurant in Chicago.

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