Communications Insights Story in Analytics

Functions of digital analytics: sighting & solving problems

Digital marketing analytics solves problems. Even if all things go well, there is still a problem – how to do better? It is a constant battle for decision-makers to compete either against some rivals or themselves. Therefore Davenport and his co-authors argued 15 years ago that high-performing enterprises built their competitive strategies around data-driven insights and the resulting decisions.

Four functions

Digital analytics provide the functions for marketers to see problems and make decisions upon them. Specifically, the functions are of four types which are to report, explain, predict, and recommend.

These four functions follow a data analytics progression from describing the problems to the final step of recommending optimal solutions. In their 2019 book chapter, Prachi S. Deshpande, Subhash C. Sharma, and Sateesh K. Peddoju illustrated the information-to-optimisation progression. The figure below is an adaptation of their discussions.

Digital marketing analytics functions and types
Caption: Digital analytics and types (adapted from Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics in Big-data Era)

Digital analytics, according to the figure above, provides the sighting of the marketing problems in a sequence of hindsight, insight, and foresight. The ultimate purpose of the four functions is to optimise marketing value creation.

Corresponding to the four functions to report, explain, predict, and recommend are the well-known four types of digital analytics.

Descriptive analytics for reporting “what”

Descriptive analytics analyses data to tell what happened. It is generally the initial stage of data sighting. Since the data are about what already happened, the analysis creates hindsight.

The descriptive analytics mainly concentrated on “what” with the help of classification, clustering and segmentation of the data to discover patterns such as the central tendencies.

For such an example, Clicademy provides a data dashboard.

Diagnostic analytics for explaining “why”

The function of explanations using diagnostic analytics starts to create insights about why something happened. More complex analysis, often aided by computing power and algorithm, look for relationships between variables. This is the stage for the machine to learn about the patterns. However, the insights are still hindsight as of now.

Users of the diagnostic analytics need to be careful when taking the “why” as the causal explanation. It often requires controlled experiments to find out what caused what. More often, relationships between tested variables are correlations. Most A/B testings suggest correlations and associations between dependent and independent variables.

Predictive analytics for “so what”

Predictive analytics answers what is going to happen. Based on data patterns, analytics forecasts what will result from the predicted relationships between variables using regressions, simulations, and scenarios. This is the moment of “so what”.

Perhaps one of the most commonly predicted is how the current Covid-19 crisis will develop to affect every marketer in the world. Now the job is becoming more complex with the addition of a new deadly variable — the variants of the virus. It is the worst of the times for marketing, but one of the best times to see how predictive analytics works.

Prescriptive analytics for recommending “how”

Prescriptive analytics answers how to make the predictions to happen. This is the stage of decision-making. There should be a clear division of labour between algorithm and marketers. Computers are responsible for recommendations. Marketers make so-called data-driven decisions.

So this is the stage where marketers make the call. Analytics can point out the opportunities and even recommend how to take them. It is not that easy, though, to just follow the recommendations. It requires human judgement.


The digital analytics provides marketers with the functions to report, explain, and predict the problems and then recommend solutions. The time-reliant and increasingly automated sequences involve the four types of descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analytics to inform marketers to make optimisation decisions.


Click, Create, Learn

Why what you do on Clicademy matters?

To click, create, and learn summarises the user experience on Clicademy.

Clicademy is drawn on a blank sheet, starting with zero traffic and zero online visibility. It invites users to experience its beginning and growth to learn the analytics of the site traffics.

Click start of a journey to learn digital analytics
Photo by Carmen Ong on

This experience benefit people interested in digital marketing and its enabling technologies. On the journey with Clicademy, users can do three things: click to use the site, create traffic data, and learn from the analytics.

Now we are to get more clicks. Clicademy goes live as a minimum viable product (MVP). Clicademists, who are a group of enthusiastic marketing and software volunteers, will implement agile marketing and use content marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), social and email marketing to attract clicks to site. On weekly basis, Clicademy publishes a timely planning and results report on the performance of the site.

In the spirit that Every Click Counts, once you have clicked in Clicademy, you start to create traffic data. Our analytics tools will capture the traffic and present the data in the dashboards. The more you use the site, the greater amount and richness of data you will create.

Opening up the analytics data is for you to learn from the data. Learning digital analytics for marketing with our users is what really matters for Clicademy, who supports the learning with regular Insights reports. In the near future, Clicademy will release its Forum function for users to share learning with each other.

So click to join Clicademy and start to create the analytics and insights for you to learn.

Have fun.


A Working Hypothesis

Clicademy aims at solving a problem for many learners and future digital marketers: accessing the real and timely website analytics data.

Clicademy provides the members with open access to its traffic data, which are generated by the users of the website and the associated social media platforms. Every click will be counted and recorded in the data sheets on which analytic insights build up. Members are invited to view and make use of these back-end traffic data.

Also, consider Clicademy an enabler of digital marketing practices. It periodically sets marketing goals and KPIs, and uses the website data to provide regular analyses of the performances. Currently the newly-born Clicademy goals are to build up traffic and to increase member subscriptions.

Users, as they grow in number, will create the network effect that will eventually benefit everyone who is a Clicademy member.

This is what we assume, and what you make it work.


Every Click Counts

This is about the beginning of it. And what members of Clicademy can expect to see how analytics work to count site clicks.

Clicademy starts with answering a few questions. Where to find real website data when learning digital analytics? How to do search engine optimisation (SEO) without having to own and maintain an operative website? How to practise AdWords without owning a live case…?

It is human instinct to count. So does analytics count every click on websites.
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

Questions as such have long troubled digital marketing learners preparing for a career journey in data intelligence and marketing analytics. answers to the needs of students, teachers, and professionals to learn digital analytics and related marketing technology. It serves them with real online data that they have created and shared on this very website.

Initially, the popular Google Analytics will count site clicks on this website. It is the go-to tool preferred by many to kick start their journey of digital insights. As soon as clicking into Clicademy, members will have their digital footprints recorded and made sense with by regular analytical reports written by our Clicademists, who will moderate the growth of the service by setting periodical site performance objectives and measuring the results.

Clicademy opens its heart and mind to enable your learning journey. The scarcity of real analytics data is due to the fact that no other websites in the world would open up their back-end traffic for visitors to see.

Hence, Clicademy is unique. But we are not reckless. Our transparency is up to the degree to maximise your learning and insights, but is down to earth to safeguard your trust and privacy.

As one of the earliest visitors, you may wonder what if Clicademy started with a zero traffic so that there would be not much to see.

Consider yourself stepping into a game field to see the first-hand history of how this site grows. Visit it on different devices. Log in from various locations. Click the links. Share the site. Invite people to join Clicademy. Feel free to bounce off, linger on, and wander about.

Consider it a privilege: the fewer the co-visitors, the clearer your digital footprints to be visible.

We are expecting the magics of the network effects will one day step in to make this website loaded with useful data and insights. So share this service and invite your like-minded colleagues, co-learners, and friends to join this gamification journey to grow the site.

Believe that every click counts. Especially yours.

Communications Story in Analytics

Hello World!

Hello World! WordPress digital marketing device

Statistics claim that the WordPress powers 34% of the Internet in 2019, a 4% rise from the previous year.

It is unknown among hundreds of millions of websites using WordPress, how many have kept or trashed the dummy post of “Hello World!”.

Clicademy did neither. We choose to rewrite Hello World! and use the title to honour WordPress, the content management system (CMS) of our choice on purpose.

We use WordPress to build primarily to emulate the experiences of so many individuals, enterprising creators, start-ups, and companies that the above stats have counted to start and build the 34% of the world’s Internet presences. Compared with options of using site builders and coding, WordPress provides greater rooms of being in control and creative whereas lower technical barriers. We have chosen it as an approachable while sufficiently sophisticated CMS and would like to share the learning with our intended site users who are students and early-career professionals in marketing.

The second consideration is the availability of many knowledge sources to enable our learning and using WordPress. Any online search terms will result in thousands of leads, for example this one, to such knowledge bases. Our Clicademists recommend courses by Morten Rand-Hendriksen on LinkedIn Learning, formerly

Thirdly we considered the wide availability of WordPress plugins. We have used Analytify plugin to enable the initial presentation of our data dashboard. WordPress plugins are not only clever software but each item of them is a work of digital marketing. We believe there are over 50,000 WordPress plugins and hope to use and case-study a few of them.

The above three reasons convinced us to join the many. Our future plan is that when we are in the many we may roll out our own CMS to test and learn more. But for now, we board the omnibus of marketing using WordPress and proudly say,

Hello World!

(Photo by Tyler Lastovich from Pexels)