Differences between reporting and analysis

October 19, 2021

Many people consider that reporting and analysis are the same and we don’t blame them; but they’re not.  Both use data, both can create charts and graphs, so… What’s the difference?

First, we need to know why they are important. Besides the fact that both of them can help your company make the best decisions, they have completely different purposes.

Let’s understand each one, step by step.

Difference by meaning:

Reporting means organizing data by summarizing the information to monitor the performed areas of a business. Reports can tell you what is happening, but they don’t always address the “why.” 

Analysis, on the other hand, is the process of exploring data and reports to extract meaningful insights and improve business performance. It can explain to you why something is happening.

Difference by benefits: 

Without the report, there wouldn't be any information able to analyze; basically, it provides the numbers you can analyze later on. Charts and visualization only helps you so much and can often send team members down rabbit holes not addressing the real reasons. 

Without proper analysis, reports do not  bring as much value to the company; the key is that you need analysis to explore the “why”and answer deeper questions.

For  example, think of a website that sells t-shirts; so, the owner wants to see how many users have visited the page in the last month. Here, Google Analytics can give you a simple report and that would be enough to answer that question.

But real analysis is  studying the visits of that month so you can ask deeper questions about purchases, user experience, or other analysis you can make, based on the data. 
A good example of analysis is asking: “Which paid channel should we   focus on so that  we can bring more revenue to the website?  Will that create a higher profit, and have a lower cost?

Reporting and analysis are meant to be used together. They are very important tools that will increase long-term ROI and help you make data-informed decisions. Using both of  them wisely in your business is the key to become data driven and help your business grow.

Not sure which one you need more help with? (Reporting or analysis). Let us help you explore this. Contact us to learn more and get a free evaluation of your analytic needs.

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