Published August 23, 2022

To Download or Not to Download… Data Sheets, That Is

3 min read

Fun fact: did you know that the way we pronounce “data” is because of the way Patrick Stewart pronounced it as the android character’s name? He said Day-TA instead of the then-common DaH-ta. 

Another fun fact: data sheets are a very useful sales tool. In a snapshot, you can give your potential customers all the information they need about your product or service. It provides an outline of how your product solves their problems

Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation in sheets. Get it, Data Sheets?
Data in sheets. Get it? Yes, that fun fact was just to set up this joke. (Photo Credit: CBS/Paramount, courtesy Trekcore.)

Data sheets are useful in convincing purchasing managers to OK the expense for a new tool. 

Recently, we worked with a cloud-based data storage tool to find out if their audience preferred downloadable data sheets, or to view them online only. 

Downloads were the clear winner. However, the real win is what the data pointed to–a better way to deliver downloads. 

Let’s dig into the data.

Testing With an Actual Audience

First things first, we need an audience. And, as we all know, audiences are in and the dinosaur personas are out! An actual audience lets you collect the most viable data.  

We reached out to an audience likely to visit our client, a cloud-based data storage service. 

To do this, we used our ready-made audiences, already segmented into various demographics. Here’s the audiences we selected that fit: 

  • Information Technology Managers (US)  
  • IT Professionals (US) 
  • Data Professionals (US)

Now that we have our audiences, it’s time to form some hunches.

We’ve Got a Hunch

We’ve got to test something, so we formulated several hunches. Here’s what we came up with: 

  • The information is formatted better for mobile experiences for the web page version. Is having access to this information via mobile as important?
  • Are we missing an opportunity to make this content shareable via email with an explicit CTA?
  • The Web Page download CTA drives you to the PDF page, this seems like a redundancy in steps and should just go directly to the PDF.

Test Breakdown

Our test broke down in this way. We looked at different use case points when using a mobile/desktop screen: 

  • Were the data sheets downloaded? 
  • Were they read online? 
  • Were they printed out? 

We wanted to know what was the flow for most of the audience.

Pure Storage PDF data sheet download page.
One of the flows we looked at was whether the audience would download the data sheet.

PDF Downloads FTW

We learned that 70% of the audience preferred to read a five-page data sheet on a desktop computer. While 21% would prefer reading the same sheet on a mobile device. 

Whereas 59% of the audience preferred downloading a PDF of the sheet. That’s so they could keep it for easy reference. According to our results, these participants found value in reading the data sheet offline. 

Mobile users preferred reading the datasheet online. Some of them stated it’s because of concerns over data storage. 

Nevertheless, participants preferred to read the data sheet online equally as much as they would download it. 78% were satisfied with reviewing the sheet before completing the download. 

In any case, a download is the most preferred method of reviewing a data sheet. So PDF downloads for the win!  

Turning the Data Into Action

With this data, the cloud-based storage company formatted their data sheets to be more mobile friendly. 

Although, the company might want to reconsider the email link for the download, since it was not a preferred downloading method. While the extra step doesn’t hurt their impressions, a direct download would make it easier for their desktop users. 

You can get the data you need to take action with our ready-made audiences. They’re all pre-screened, pre-selected for ease. 

Reach A Ready-Made Audience

Build something your users truly want