How to solve your marketing data nightmare
Data is crucial.
Every marketer who manages digital advertising faces the same problem: how to aggregate and analyze data across multiple platforms.
This task is a complete nightmare.
On average, marketers spend between 10-40 hours a week compiling their data just to have the ability to start analyzing stats and building reports.
For me personally, this has always been my least favorite part of the marketing process. It can be so tedious and quite frankly, confusing.
Once you have all your campaign tracking set up properly, you need to create a dashboard or a place where you're keeping track of how all your marketing campaigns are performing.
Updating that dashboard can be very time consuming given all the different places that our data is coming from:
- Website traffic on Google Analytics
- Paid ad campaigns on Facebook, Adwords, Linkedin etc.
- Customer data on Salesforce
- Event tracking data on Mixpanel or Heap
The list goes on and on...
It's a lot.
So when I found myself in a new position as the head of marketing at Improvado, and I needed to set up all my marketing data again, I procrastinated.
I think I had a bit of PTSD lol.
But I finally buckled down and got started. First, I set up a dashboard in Google Sheets and began pulling data in from all the various platforms, trying to figure out which data sources were accurate and how to map it all together into one place.
I spent about 10 hours one Sunday putting it all together.
I was pretty proud of myself when it was over. But the process was quite manual.
I'd have to re-pull all the data every week or month in order to keep my marketing dashboard up to date.
The next day I met with Anamika, the co-founder of improvado.
Within 5 minutes, she showed me how her tool automated the entire process that had just taken me 10 hours.
I was actually floored.
I felt 2 emotions at the same time:
1. Anger -- I had just spent 10 hours working on something that could be accomplished in a matter of minutes
2. Relief -- I would never again have to waste those hours, because all my data would be available for me in one place, in real-time.
So thank you to Anamika and the Improvado team for actually changing my life as a marketer with your tool.
Why is Marketing Data Such a Pain?
- So Many Platforms
It's kind of overwhelming.
There are thousands of marketing tools.
Making it nearly impossible to combine data across multiple platforms.
How are we supposed to report on our overall marketing performance?
Look at this ridiculous infographic below...
Improvado.io has 180+ integrations and was build specifically by marketers, for marketers to collect all their data, in a granular way, down to the ad level, or keyword level.
2. Metric Definitions Vary Across Platforms
A metric might be called one thing on one platform, and an entirely different thing on another platform.
A great example of this is video views across different channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.
- Youtube for example qualifies a view when the video is user initiated and has 50% viewability on any device. They represent views as a percentage of total video length.
- Twitter, however, counts the number of views on auto-played videos but the video has to be watched for at least 3 seconds and be 100% in view on any device (source).
Understanding and defining how each platform measures each metric is key.
3. Everyone Measures Success Differently
If you work at an ad agency, you're likely managing campaigns for multiple clients. Each client will have different requirements for how they choose to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Being able to standardize this across all platforms is challenging.
Take for example conversions.
There are many different types of conversions (installs, purchases, form fills).
There are also different types of attribution models (first-click, last-click, etc)
How do you maintain consistency across reporting metrics?
And also customize reports based on your client's individual needs?
4. Ad Units and Metrics are Evolving Everyday
Platforms are constantly updating the way they measure their metrics.
Why? Because data is getting more granular and more accurate.
Calculations will change over time.
Staying on top of all those changes across the industry is a lot of work.
Since there are so many dimensions to marketing data, it becomes difficult to normalize the data across so many platforms.
This is why marketers have become dependent on manual processes or asking their developers for help aggregating data.
Stop wasting time in spreadsheets.
It's easy to aggregate your data without the help of developers.
How the Experts Aggregate Marketing Data
Here's a list of all the different ways you can aggregate your data:
Manually Collect Data
Most marketers and agencies still aggregate data manually.
Exporting data from each platform separately into spreadsheets on a weekly or monthly basis.
Once they download the data and add it to a single sheet, they still need to create pivot tables and input calculations to create a dashboard for reporting.
There are no benefits to performing the manual ETL process. “ETL” stands for "Extract, Transform, Load"
This process is time consuming.
It's also expensive from an opportunity cost standpoint.
Instead of focusing on high value strategic decisions and gathering insights, most marketers are focusing on low value data cleansing and spreadsheeting.
There is also a greater probability for human error when copy and pasting data.
The manual process takes up 10-40 hours per week and leaves little time for actual analysis. Marketers need access to data in real-time.
Write Their Own Code
If a marketer or agency goes this route, they will code everything themselves and have the data aggregated into their own data warehouse.
Pros: This route will save marketers a lot of time and give them more opportunity to analyze their data and make decisions more quickly.
Cons: There are quite a few issues with this route:
- It will require a lot of time for developers to build various API integrations for the data warehouse.
- Any new API integration requests will compete for development time vs. other projects at the agency. This can often lead to half automated, half manual ETL process. Defeating the purpose altogether.
- Supporting integrations will be time consuming due to stability issues and new feature releases. It is a maintenance nightmare to take on this task.
- There are many other nuances that constantly arise like platform limitations, data clearance and normalization, dealing with errors, and more.
Use a Data Aggregation Solution
Until now, there hasn’t been an data aggregation solution specifically focused the marketers’ dilemma. That’s why we created Improvado.
By simply connecting to the Improvado platform and mapping metrics, marketers will be able to instantly see all their data in one, centralized place.
No need to ask developers for help. It's easy for any marketer to aggregate data from multiple platforms into BI, visualization, or spreadsheets.
High-touch customer service to help you customize your reports and dashboards.
80+ integrations that include everything from Facebook to Snapchat to Linkedin and so much more.
Cons: Marketers may still want to use a visualization or BI tool like Looker, Tableau or Data Studio, but they also have the option to view their data in Improvado’s custom visualization tool.