From Air Ball to Slam Dunk: Why Traditional Analytics Doesn’t Build a Solid Foundation for Data Practices

How much money are you putting into your March Madness pool? How much money would you bet if you could retroactively update your bracket as games occurred? 

It’s March—that month when your life (or the lives of people around you) suddenly transform into a full-on obsession with brackets, the NCAA, and the Final Four. Case in point: WalletHub estimates that March Madness results in $6.3 billion in corporate losses due to unproductive workers. (Cough cough, we at Heap have no idea what that’s like.)

Of course, sacrificing an embarrassing number of hours to work on your March Madness bracket could be incredibly productive if the odds of winning were more than a tiny sliver of hope. The odds are currently only 1 in 9.2 quintillion that you have developed winning bracket. Just to be clear, you have a better shot at winning the PowerBall lottery.

Your Bracket and the Old Way of Analytics Are Just Sad

The way people spend so much time planning their bracket is not unlike how people traditionally plan out tracking plans and analytics strategies. They both require a lot of effort upfront. These plans are powered by best, sometimes educated, guesses on outcomes of specific games (or customer behaviors). And both require laborious forethought—what factors will lead to a competitive edge not just today in this round, but two weeks from now?

What’s funny is that in both March Madness and tracking plans, everyone is often confident about the completeness of their predictions. But with those quintillions of bracket combinations resulting from only 64 teams — and hundreds of events (page views, form submissions, and clicks), how can you guarantee you are tracking the ones that will lead to a perfect bracket or key business insight? And the odds play out: year after year, and tracking plan after tracking plan, the unexpected happens. There is always an upset, a bad call, an injury, or some other factor that throws you for a loop.

Ending the Bad Calls (and the Losses)

Whether it’s your bracket or it’s your analytics strategy, there always end up being factors and metrics you’d wish you had known to measure, but hadn’t planned on. If you mess up on tagging events—or picking your teams—the errors are final and affect your (or your organization’s) wallet. If you don’t anticipate every possible variation of question, you’re at a loss. People enter brackets with the intention of winning money. The same can be said for implementing a tracking plan—you want the insights that affect direct revenue.

At the end of the day, traditional tracking plans and March Madness brackets are both meant for static, final decisions. You can study the business (bracket) as much as you want ahead of time, but you cannot predict when new questions arise or new factors that affect an outcome arise. There’s no ability to change quickly or be agile in decision making—which is critical in an ever changing world (or tournament). It’d be so much more successful and accurate if you could make changes and get analysis on the fly.

A Better Method to the Madness

What if you could go into March Madness, close your eyes, pick your teams, and know you would win no matter what? You could go back and update your bracket retroactively based on data, as it’s collected not just initial inputs and gut feel. Although this is still a dream for basketball fans, it’s actually possible in user analytics.

Heap automatically captures all user interactions (clicks, taps, and swipes, form submissions, and pageviews) across your site and app so you can answer new questions as they arise.  All too often, we speak with marketers, product managers, and CRO teams who are frustrated with their inability to retroactively analyze campaigns, funnels, product flows, and more. Because tagging events and maintaining a tracking plan is too manual and intense, they rely on the same events, or broken ones to inform decisions about the business. This leads to failure, and often impacts the bottom line. Make the most up-to-date and informed decisions about conversion rate optimization, driving engagement and retention, and product strategy.

Winning is Possible

Interested in learning more? Request a demo from our product specialists by March 20 and submit your bracket to our competition for a chance to win $10k for the top bracket. Enter to win.