The difference between metrics, data, analytics, analysis and insights

When it comes to testing and defining results, marketers, data scientists, e-commerce managers and anyone digital savvy, use several terms to describe the development of their digital efforts.

So, what is the difference between terms like metrics, data, analytics, analysis and insights?

The jargon associated with the tools and best practices of marketing analytics have become less distinguished and are often unclear.

If you ask 20 people in 10 different companies, in 5 different locations what the definitions are of these words, you're likely to have many different answers. Different people with different views and agendas will give, different answers.

This article will explain these terms, and will also clarify the connection between these phrases.


Many services and products exist to provide business analytics that are common to all types and sizes of businesses. For instance, ROI is common across all industries. Yet, each industry ends up having its own silo of metrics. 

Metrics are things you can measure over time. 



Data is the collection of facts and figures – the metrics - to interpret in analysis; it’s the information you obtain from users, such as demographic info, behavior and activity. The easiest way to picture data is as building blocks or individual parts.

When you think of data as bricks, you can see how they are the individual pieces that are used in conjunction with other individual pieces, to build a picture showing results.



Analytics is the act of reporting on the data you have collected with the aid of specialized systems and software, illuminating business conditions, sentiment and directional changes over time. They are the mathematical way of synthesizing metrics.  



Analysis is something you control, it is a process. The Greek word from which it is derived is translated as ‘to loosen up’, though the meaning is closer to breaking up into parts.

It refers to the process of looking at something in close detail, and in terms of its individual components as a way of learning something new about the whole.

Using your analytics and understanding what your efforts have been, shape the strategy behind your digital activities.



Insight is originated from inner sight. It is about discovering something that was not immediately clear at first glance.

Once you have data and have performed the analysis, you have the knowledge to form insights and change your actions or responses. The previously unknown fact, cause or relationship, results in a discovery that we can use to boost business and/or increase profits.

You can derive insights from historical data by using statistical algorithms and to forecast the future performance of a product, or a service.


The data required does need to have enough significance to be useful. Insights provide the moment that starts nifty new marketing activities, powerful new app features, or even smarter UX designs.

Analytics is the process of deriving insights from data by using a combination of technologies, skills and industry best practices to determine future business planning.

With increasing amounts of data, organizations are adapting business analytics from data driven strategies for business growth, and leveraging for competitive advantage.

When someone is looking for their return-on-investment of their digital efforts, they need their data to be properly interpreted.

Data is found in analytics systems, and is collected in the metrics. To interpret these metrics, you first need a form of analysis. The analysis will result in insights which lead to certain results.

Businesses can use insights to discover new opportunities and grow forward. New opportunities can be on how to cut down costs and enhance decision making processes, understanding buyer’s persona and, introduce new products and services. It helps in unlocking the right information required for business growth.

The best insights are actionable and prescriptive - they can be used to take immediate action that will improve your business and will set out your future path.

Finn offers a marketing intelligence platform that has already interpreted the results. Every insight that needs a follow up is defined, and all you have to do is resolve the highlighted insight.

Do you want to learn more? Discover Finn's magic.