When you have a great idea, you can make an application for it. Once the vanilla version is ready and out for use, it’s all about making the application better. You can start improving the application, providing new features, and impressing the user in different ways. But how can you know what is better for your application and how to impress the user? Understanding what your user wants is critical.

One of the best ways of finding out is by making use of event data. So in this blog post, I’ll define what event data is. Then with the help of some examples, I’ll explain what kind of event data would be valuable for you.

Calendar icon signifying event data

What Is Event Data?

To understand what event data is, you first need to know what an event is. When you build an application and provide it to your users, it will perform certain actions. These actions can be as simple as opening and closing the application. Or they can be a little complex like encrypted monetary transactions. Irrespective of the level of complexity or what the user uses the application for, every action the user performs is an event.

Event data is any data related to it. For example, if the event is logging in to an application, the event data can be the time of login, the IP address used to log in, etc. This data can be used for different purposes like tracking user activity and analytics.

Event data is mostly created by collecting three main pieces of information: who, what, and when.

The “who” tells you about the user. You can discover user details such as name, email address, etc. You can also determine the user’s geolocation. The “what” tells you what action the user performed on your application. And the “when” tells you when the user performed a particular action.

Now that you understand what event data is, I’ll tell you why it’s important.

Why Is Event Data Important?

Event data is among the most important that you can collect. It eventually becomes a gold mine.

Why is it so valuable? Because it tells you exactly what your users do. It helps you understand the impact your application is making. Using this information, you can analyze how impressed your users are and what more they expect from you. So when event data is collected, processed, analyzed correctly, and acted upon, your application will become better.

How exactly event data benefits your organization depends on the type of business you’re in. It might help you get more views of your content or market better and increase sales.

To get the most out of event data, you need to know what kind of events benefit you. And then you have to focus on collecting that data. To understand what kind of event data is valuable to you, let me first explain the different types.

Types of Event Data to Collect

There’s no universal list of event data that you have to collect. One business’s waste can be another business’s treasure. It all depends on your business and use cases.

Event data can be categorized into four main types:

  1. Sign ups and new users
  2. Consumption of content
  3. Creation of content
  4. Interaction with the application

Sign ups and New Users

This type of event data tells you about new users that have signed up or have started using your application. It helps you understand your application’s reach. If you’ve run a marketing campaign to entice more users, this type of event data can help you measure your campaign’s success. It can also help you understand the type of audience you have, which can then help you design your application accordingly.

Consumption of Content

Every piece of information you have in your application can be considered content. Blogs, articles, videos, images, etc. make up the content of your application. When somebody opens your application and browses around, they are consuming your content. Data on content consumption events can help you understand what your users like. If you have an application that publishes articles on the latest tech news, the data on content consumption will tell you which articles, and which kinds of articles, are the most popular.

Creation of Content

Your application’s content can be created by you or by your users. Consider a tech community like Stackoverflow. Its active users are the reasons for its success. These users post questions, answers to questions, and comments. All of this is content creation. If the users only consumed content, the platform wouldn’t be as vast or as popular as it is today. Event data about content creation can help you identify valuable users. And based on this information, you can make your application work even better.

Interaction With the Application

Logically, content consumption and content creation fall under this category. But when I exclusively talk about interaction, I’m focusing on the interaction apart from the creation and consumption of content. Events like liking a post or a video or adding an item to a shopping cart, neither of which create nor consume content.

Now that you understand the different types of event data, let me give you some examples that may help explain which kinds of event data will be valuable based on your business.

Event Data Based on Different Use Cases

You will have to decide which event data is valuable for you based on your application. It may not make sense to record every event. So I’ll give you a few examples to help you understand how to decide which events you should focus on.

Social Media

Take an example of applications like Facebook or Instagram. On these platforms, you can look at other people’s posts, post your own content, and perform actions such as “liking” a photo or post. These are all user events. Logging these details can help you track users and their activity. If you know what type of content a user likes, you can configure your application to show them more relevant posts. You can even determine what kinds of ads are relevant to each user. For example, if you have a user who posts pictures of cars and has liked pages and followed pages related to cars, you can show ads related to cars and car accessories.

E-commerce

If you have an e-commerce application, event data can help you provide better offers and make relevant product suggestions. Suppose a user looks for a laptop and adds it to the cart but doesn’t purchase it. These are all events. There are different possible reasons to add the product but not purchase it. The customer may still be looking for a similar product, or perhaps the product is out of his budget. When you collect data about these kinds of events, you can suggest similar products to this user or send a notification if the price of the product in the cart does down.

Community

If you are running an online community like Stackoverflow or Quora, you can optimize what users see based on their event data. Suppose I am a user who signs up for your application and looks for questions related only to Java and I answer only Java questions. My event data will tell you what I’m interested in. So you can start sending me notifications related to Java and get answers from me.

How to Make Event Data Handling Easy

Even though event data is extremely valuable, very few organizations focus on it. Most have a hard time collecting and organizing it. Even if they figure out how to do it, event data is usually raw, and getting clear visibility into it can be difficult.

So how can you solve this? It’s simple! Scalyr has invested a tremendous amount of resources to get this right. It makes event data management easy, it gives you clear visibility, and helps you make sense of all the complexity. You can sign up for a Scalyr demo here.

This post was written by Omkar Hiremath. Omkar uses his BE in computer science to share theoretical and demo-based learning on various areas of technology, like ethical hacking, Python, blockchain, and Hadoop.

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