ContributingDon’t make the same mistake as others. It’s time to invest in your analytics tool and talent.

Digital advertising has become all but a staple for companies trying to reach today’s tech-savvy and omni-connected consumer. Pacing through multiple screens and devices, modern consumers are now expecting online interaction as part of the brand engagement process – and marketers are stepping up to the challenge.

According to eMarketer, global digital and mobile ad spend will tally up to about $170 billion this year. As investments in digital assets such as apps and websites continue to show exponential growth, advertisers are calling for more clarity in campaign evaluation.

And this is where digital analytics plays a critical role. With the wealth of real-time data available from these assets, analytics provides insights that can be employed to guide business decisions on the go. Analytics opens up the gates to information such as where visitors are coming from, what they are doing, how long they are staying on the properties, and what they like best.

The information can then be used for content optimization, improving web/application design to attract more users, and getting them to consume more content. The end goal is to ultimately lead them to a call-to-action – be it easing down the purchase funnel or completing more transactions.

However, while many businesses invest hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in marketing campaigns, they still rely on free analytics tools to measure these campaigns and allocate marketing budget. These tools often have serious limitations in real-time analysis and in some situations even give misleading results. The biggest challenge companies face is making sense of the numbers and turning them into meaningful information that drives effective campaigns.

The formula to solving the problem is simple – Tools + Talent = Effective campaign analytics.

Choosing the tool

Choosing the proper tool for your needs is the first step in ensuring effective campaign analytics. However, the process can be unfamiliar territory. Here are three simple steps to follow when choosing which solution to subscribe to:

Match your objectives – Perhaps the biggest misconception when faced with purchasing enterprise-level analytics is that “the more sophisticated the tool, the better it is.” This is not always true – highly complex tools can be harder to navigate, costlier and longer to implement.

So instead of seeking the solution with the most bells and whistles, businesses should ask themselves, “What are my objectives and business needs?” From there, it is a matter of picking the solution with the best-adapted features to meet those needs and raise the return on investment.

What’s your environment? – Once the requirements are set, the next step to choosing the right tool is evaluating the solution provider’s experience as it relates to your business in particular. You should have a clear idea of your prospective partners’ references and experience with your particular industry. The tool must be able to generate insights within your specific environment.

Solutions providers who have experience working in a particular vertical are likely to better understand the specific metrics that need to be analysed. They’ll also be better equipped to educate your teams on how to optimize tool usage.

Ask for proof of concept – Before the final decision, companies should set one or two major requirements and ask the vendor to fulfil them during a short proof of concept period. Vendors who are willing to do so are more likely to treat the relationship as a mutual investment and ensure the tool is working for you. This helps minimize the initial risk and opens the pathway for a long-term working relationship.

Honing the talent

In the past, digital analytics used to be a part-time job of the IT department. As we become more data-driven and our digital advertising activities grow, in-house analysis is now a specialized and full-time responsibility.

The analyst should act as a bridge between the marketing team and the data, advocating the use of data to drive business decisions. The analyst needs to have clear understanding of both sides of the playing field to fulfil such a role. With in-depth knowledge of the marketing objectives, the analyst is able to ask the right questions and extract the answers from the data.

With multi-screen analysis becoming more common, analysts will also need to learn to draw lines connecting parallel sets of data and explain what they mean for the company.

To answer these questions, you want to have vendors who can provide industry-specific training and consulting to facilitate the process.

The next piece of the puzzle is making sense of the numbers. With more people consuming data, there is a great need to make the data more understandable. Data visualization can be a great way to achieve this. A customizable dashboard can break down data into bite-size information and highlight KPIs that non-technical users can easily consume.

The combination of tool and talent brings about a holistic campaign analytics system. The talent asks the right questions, the tool provides the answers, then everything is packaged simply and presented to marketers who use it to fine-tune the campaign. With such heavy investments in digital marketing, proper analysis of its moving parts will ensure greater effectiveness and results.


By Fai-Keung Ng - Group Country Manager, Southeast Asia, AT Internet