Data Mining: Why Statistics are Important for Your Blog Posts
Numbers don’t lie. They may not tell the whole truth and sometimes, what they mean can be left up to interpretation but numbers never lie. This core tenet is why any a review of a sports car is peppered with facts on its top speed, 0-60 times, the amount of lateral g the car produces on the skidpad, stopping distance from a certain speed etc. Telling you that the Bugatti Chiron is an insanely engineered car for example means much less than me telling you that the Chiron goes to 60 mph from a stationary position in less than 2.5 seconds with a top speed of 250 mph thanks to its 8.0L quad-turbo engine making as much as 1479 hp. Compare that to the average Volkswagen Golf GTI, which goes to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, a top speed of 130 mph from a 2.0L engine making a measly 220 hp. The numbers do really put things in perspective doesn’t it?
99 percent of all statistics only tell 49 percent of the story
Content marketing isn’t just about being entertaining, it has to deliver a certain value or a piece of, if not new, at least useful and actionable information to the consumers and using numbers, in form of statistics, is one of the most reliable way to do that. Texts can be vague, ambiguous or even slightly abstract and using numbers and statistics gives them a bit of a backbone or a leg to stand on and using numbers without text is a bit dry, both should act as a complement to each other. Not every piece you’ve written need numbers, an interview or say, your thoughts on a film or anything related to art most likely don’t but for the majority of contents in the internet? Definitely could use some numbers. Here are several different reasons why having a statistic on hand could give an extra ‘oomph’ to your posts
- To back up your arguments
There was this film I was really interested in from a couple of years ago that doesn’t really fit into what the people in my circle usually watch and since the film itself is far from being Avengers material, it was really hard trying to convince them to watch it with me. The film itself was called Lilting and I managed to cajole two of my friend to watch it with me with the power of persuasion and the nifty little tool that is Rottentomatoes. For the uninitiated, Rottentomatoes (RT) is what is known in the industry as a review aggregator. Instead of just one critic or publication giving a review on a film, RT scours numerous sources and publications to give you an aggregate score in a percentage basis that signifies how many people in the industry like the film. For example, out of 52 reviews for the film, 43 liked it while 9 didn’t, giving it a score of 83% (that is 43 divided by 52). This makes it easy to give a recommendation, instead of trying to convince them that this film is a good one, I could just share a link to the RT page, where the opinions of a large group of critics could give my argument more weight that my words ever could.
- To do a comparison and illustrating differences
Which is better, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal? Federer has a killer forehand and an all-court game that 99.9% of tennis player could only dream of. Contrast that to Nadal, with an unmatched level of fitness and athleticism and a lethal topspin in his repertoire. That doesn’t really make for a good comparison, does it? Now, look what happens when statistics are put into play. Federer’s total of 20 Grand Slams and 97 career titles is ahead of Nadal’s 16 Grand Slams and 77 career titles and Federer’s total reign as a No. 1 clocks in at a dizzying 309 weeks, far outshining Nadal’s 173 weeks. Seems obvious that Federer’s the undisputed champ isn’t he? The thing is, Federer had a head start of 4 years in his professional career over Nadal and when looking at percentages, the numbers tell a different story. In Grand Slams, Nadal won 87.1% of his matches while Federer won 86.5% of them while on the whole, Nadal won 82.65% of all of his matches compared to Federer’s win rate of 82.0%. Crucially, in their head-to-head, Nadal won 23 of his matches against Federer out of a total of 38 matches.
When things aren’t as clear cut as in the situation above, using numbers and statistics could give you a bigger perspective than just words. Numbers help put matters on a plane that everybody understands, making your contents and/or arguments easier to digest, especially to those without insider knowledge. Not everyone could understand why Nadal’s topspin make him such a force to be reckoned with or even what a topspin actually is but simple and unarguable facts such as his win ratio of 82% is something that everyone could understand.
- To build trust
Fake news might sound like a buzzword being thrown around carelessly by one of the most powerful man in the world but trust me when I say it is a problem. Climate change for example is an actual thing with empirical and observable evidence and based on scientific facts and yet some people still chose to turn a blind eye to this fact. It’s hard to convince people with simple rhetoric and exclamation marks, cold-hard facts and numbers are still the best way to convince people. Additionally, including statistics and outside links implies that you’ve done your homework prior to writing the article. I personally like reading a piece from someone who at least has an idea what they’re talking about and I hazard a guess that most people do too.
- To craft original insights
Statistics are boring. This is a popular sentiment, I had a colleague majoring in psychology complaining to me they still had to endure a class on statistics after bidding farewell to math in high school only to come around a couple of months later saying that psychology and profiling wouldn’t have existed without statistics. It is more appropriate to say that statistics can be boring but it can also be interesting and at times, hilarious. Take a look at what Spotify did with their content marketing strategy using the data generated by their users. Quite clever, no? Yes, statistics can be boring, because numbers basically are but you can still analyze and mind that data for insights in the way only you could. Remember when I said that data can be left up to interpretation? This was exactly what I’m talking about, data is after all just a tool and how it is used is completely up to the hands of the person holding said tool.
Big data is predicted to have a major impact in the future, if it hasn’t already, as machine learning is intrinsically related to the amount of data being fed to a machine learning system. Obviously, not every business has the capability to gather the amount of data the way companies like Spotify and Google can but it is possible to use data that is publicly available in your content marketing strategy, whether to use them simply as bullet points in an argument on a blog post or to actually base your strategy on insights gleamed from said data. Google occasionally post market insights based on search queries they’ve processed in their Thinkwithgoogle platform and statistic giant Statista has been a reliable port of call for marketers due to their comprehensive data. Always keep in mind that it’s not the data itself that is important, it is how you interpret that data and what you do with that interpretation that could make the difference.