First of all, CSV stands for comma-separated values and is a way of saving data that can be opened in almost any spreadsheet. They are plain text with commas in between the different values. If you open on in a text editor it will probably be as ugly as hell, but in a spreadsheet, it will use a new column every time it sees a comma and you get a neat layout. Then you can apply all the tools that a spreadsheet offers to mine the data.
When you run a Sales report, publishers only – you cannot do this as a community content creator, you have the option to export the report as a CSV file.
The CSV has a lot more data in it than the onscreen report. On-screen, you can see what day something was bought, in the CSV you can see down to the minute.
You can see when customers buy multiple things, and if you sort by customer ID and then by date, you can see how many returning customers you have. You can also see what they bought.
If you have a whole basket of people who are coming back to buy the same kinds of things, such as every Sci-Fi title or every cyberpunk, you can start to make a guess-imate of future sales for similar titles.
You can also use that kind of data to write to your audience.
The data I used in the video was for the previous 12 months but excluded everything released prior to that 12 months. Seeing as 2/3rds of my sales come from my back catalog, what I wanted to dig into is were the things I released the last year sold better or worse than the things I released in the previous year. I could then export two CSV files and compare the actual sales side by side, and various other metrics.
A single big CSV also showed me all the sales from day one. I could select a single product and chart its release and long tale. And that is another advantage of CSV reports. You can chart them. Charts are a great way of immediately seeing trends.
If you haven’t used the export CSV option. I would suggest you give it a go.
Oh, and finally, a pivot table with product titles and total sales is probably the easiest way of spotting your metal counts!