Process and outcome metrics differ in another important way: Process metrics are leading indicators whereas outcome metrics are lagging indicators. That is, one suggests what is going to happen, and the other tells you whether something went well. Put those together, and that’s a complete story. And if you know what you want your outcome metrics to look like, you can work back to figure out benchmarks for your process metrics, and detect trends.
It is only with a mixture of outcome and process metrics that you can begin to think about extracting insights from your dashboard. And it’s worth asking, what is an insight, anyway? For us, an insight is an anomaly in the data that suggests a useful relationship.
For example, let’s say you find that faster approvals lead to better ad performance. That itself is not the insight—you’ll have to dig deeper and ask why. Perhaps faster approvals tended to have fewer people involved. And when you ask the copywriters and brand designers, they tell you that when there are fewer reviewers, the work is more fun. That’s why it’s better.
If you know that, you’re no longer a purveyor of inert activity metrics. You have data that suggests that freeing creatives from long, tedious reviews might actually improve ad performance, as well as their enjoyment. If you can change that process, that’s a lot of productivity you can potentially unlock.
Insights like this do not come easy. You have to work hard at them. And oftentimes, you’ll find that DAM data analysis is a bit paradoxical. You may not know what you want to measure until you set things up, at which point, it’s difficult to change the DAM.
As just one example, let’s say a big beer distributor set up its DAM only for internal use, and only to measure internal metrics. The team knows how much beer was sold. But they have no contextual data around their distributor’s sales numbers, like website metrics or ad performance, and so they have no way of understanding the value of the individual assets they create. A constraint like that is tough to undo.
But if you manage to input sales data and squeeze some of the aforementioned insights from your DAM, you can help your organization understand the difference between greater activity and greater productivity. Lots of teams measure activity (number of assets hosted, time in DAM, etc.) without reference to the outcome. If you’re measuring outcomes, you can determine whether all that activity was actually productive for the business.