What is Data Aggregation and how It Benefits Businesses?
Both marketers and agencies who have ever tried to manage marketing campaigns across many different platforms like Facebook, Adwords, and more know how overwhelming it can be at times to aggregate all the data from several places.
The entire process of data aggregation can take over 20 hours every week. Luckily, there is a solution to this problem. Platforms like Improvado, Adverity, Panoply, etc. are now available to help marketers save time and effort.
Platforms like these automate the data aggregation process, letting you create the reports you need to view all of your campaign data in one place, in real time. Let’s take a closer look at what data aggregation is, how it can help your company, and what some of the best data aggregation platforms are.
What is Data Aggregation?
Data aggregation is any process in which data is brought together and conveyed in a summary form. It is typically used prior to the performance of a statistical analysis.
The information drawn from the data aggregation and statistical analysis can then be used to tell you all kinds of information about the data you are looking at.
In marketing, data aggregation usually comes from your marketing campaigns and the different channels you use to market to your customers.
You can aggregate your data from one specific campaign, looking at how it performed over time and with particular cohorts.
Ideally, though, you are aggregating the data from each specific campaign to compare them to each other - one grand data aggregation that tells you how your product is being received across channels, populations, and cohorts.
Doing so can take a lot of time and effort. Luckily, there are now tons of software available that can do the work for you, so that you aren’t wasting half of your week simply picking through the data.
Data Aggregation Example
To better understand what data aggregation is and how it works, we’ll look at an example.
Organizations collect vast amounts of data for their marketing needs. Information about customer interactions, marketing metrics, point of touch, and other insights bring clarity to the companies’ marketing efforts. However, these insights are often misaligned, duplicated, and confusing.
Data aggregation helps businesses to cleanse and structure their data in a convenient and accessible way. With a dedicated data warehouse, analysts can access up-to-date information at any moment and manipulate it to uncover new marketing opportunities. As a result, marketers deliver consistent messaging to all their customers, personalize offers, and adjust marketing campaigns.
Furthermore, this data can be used across the entire organization. For example, the sales team can verify new leads, while upper management can adjust the marketing strategy and change the marketing budget according to the departments’ performance.
Data Aggregation in the Context of Middleware
When it comes to middleware for marketing analytics, there are three different activities and functions.
For short, we refer to them as ETV (Extract, Transform, Visualize). Together, this is the workflow of extracting and preparing data from SaaS applications for analysis.
For each of these three steps there is a software layer, meaning there are companies whose sole focus is to help marketers during each of these steps.
1. Extract — Data extraction layer
2. Transform — Data preparation layer
3. Visualize/Analyze — Visualization and analytics layer
Here at Improvado, we believe it’s important to provide marketers the freedom to work with tools that allow them to integrate and analyze their data without involving engineers.
In this article, we are discussing the extraction phase of middleware for analytics — taking all of the data that is stored in your many marketing databases and funneling it into one place for analysis.
Manual Data Aggregation vs. Automated Data Aggregation
Aggregating data can be an extremely manual process, especially if your company is in early stages.
Click the export button. Sort through an excel sheet. Reformat it to look like other data sources. Create charts to compare the performance/budget/progress of your multiple marketing campaigns.
Sound like a familiar routine? You’re certainly not alone.
Data aggregation is a necessary process for all marketers. It is the only way to know how campaigns are performing. This export/sorting/reformatting process is not unique or new - at some point or another, every marketer has experienced it.
Thankfully, we now also have the option to automate data aggregation. What does that look like, exactly?
It looks like the implementation of a third party software - sometimes called Middleware - (like Improvado) that can pull data automatically from your marketing tools.
Aggregating data is the first step in a successful marketing campaign analysis, so it is essential that you get this step right. Automating the process will improve your marketing results and ROI, because it will free up that much time to focus on other parts of you marketing analytic process.
How Does Automated Data Aggregation Work?
The automated data aggregation process works due to software that integrates with your data infrastructure. The aggregation solution extracts data from multiple sources to combine and bring it in a unified format. In terms of marketing, the platform pulls data from ad platforms, web analytics software, social media, and so on.
Then, the system normalizes data with harmonization algorithms. They help to clean the data from duplicates, align different indicators with each other, and get rid of data inconsistencies. With all these operations, analysts receive analysis-ready insights that can be used for further research.
Further, the data aggregation system stores information in a dedicated warehouse. It’s much easier to access insights with centralized data storage. Mind that the warehouse should be optimized for the processing of large data sets. Analytical databases are the best option for such sort of data operations.
Finally, with the data in your warehouse, you can perform any actions with your data. For example, Improvado streamlines marketing insights to business intelligence tools. With pre-built dashboards, analysts get detailed charts and graphs that bring more understanding to their marketing efforts.
Levels of Data Aggregation
We’ve identified three levels of data aggregation - beginner, intermediate, and MASTER. Figure out which one you are, and how you can jump to the next level.
Beginner at Data Aggregation
A beginner in data aggregation isn’t really aggregating any data at all. To gain marketing insights, you look within your marketing platforms.
You may log into Google Analytics and see that one page is getting particularly high traffic bounce rates. So you use that information to create more opportunities for your customers to click through that page (and stay on your site).
You are making “data” informed decisions, but you aren’t necessarily collecting the data to do so, which means you are missing a lot of the big picture.
Comparing the data of multiple channels is essential to making smart marketing decisions. How else are you going to know what marketing campaigns are working for your company? If you’re just looking at your data in the platform, you are missing out.
Intermediate at Data Aggregation
You have a marketing dashboard. It’s in an excel or google spreadsheet. You update it… weekly? Monthly?
Every time you update the dashboard, you can see how your marketing campaigns are performing, comparing across channels to make the data informed decisions that you need to be making.
Now, creating a marketing dashboard is challenging, so kudos to you if you are at this stage.
The problem with this model? Creating a dashboard is time consuming, and maintaining it to gain insights is even more so.
Still, it’s not a bad place to start. If you’re starting out, you can download our free marketing dashboard template here.
Master at Data Aggregation
At this level, you’ve seen how tedious marketing dashboards can be, and you are over it.
How do you accelerate this process? By automating. Masters at Data Aggregation have an automated funnel set up, so they can see insights from their marketing data in real time.
Marketing data aggregation tools like Improvado pipe your data from marketing platforms and send that data wherever you want it to go - into a data warehouse, a spreadsheet or straight into your visualization tool.
As discussed above, when you cut out the time you are taking updating a marketing dashboard and clicking into different tabs and softwares, you free up that much more time to make informed, data-driven marketing decisions that will increase ROI.
Who are they key players in Data Aggregation Software?
Improvado - Medium Brands & Enterprises
What is Improvado?
Improvado is an incredibly helpful data aggregation tool for marketers, because it was designed by marketers, for marketers. The platform lets you gather all campaign data into a single dashboard in real time, combined with the ability to view that data in automated reports and well designed custom dashboards.
Who should use Improvado?
The tool is perfect for marketers, built specifically to focus on the marketing dilemma. Improvado provides a way to connect any marketing platform you may use. Along with this, the integrations with the platform run quite deep, pulling granular data from both the keyword and ad level, cleaning and normalizing it, and allowing marketers to see the whole picture.
Possibly one of the biggest benefits of using the Improvado platform is its excellent customer support representatives. They are able to help you build out any custom dashboards and integrations however you want them. Data in Improvado can also be viewed in any BI tool you use, like Tableau or Looker, as well as the platform’s dashboard.
Improvado provides more than 200 integrations. Custom integrations can also be built out for additional data sources that you may need.
Domo - for Executive-level Dasshboards
What is Domo?
Domo is data aggregation software that specializes in data visualization and business intelligence.
Domo is best for C-level executives at enterprise companies looking for a company-wide (non-marketing specific) BI tool to create executive level dashboards.
The important thing to note is that it is not specifically focused on marketing data, just business data in general. That means, it's capacity is vast when it comes to business intelligence and executive dashboards company-wide, but may not be the best pick for aggregating and visualizing marketing data specifically, because marketing integrations are limited, the connectors don't run as deeply and the tool overall may be too expensive for just the marketing team's use.
Domo Marketing Integrations:
Pricing is offered on an annual subscription basis, and depends upon the number of users that need access. The company does offer a 30 day free trial.
Stitch - for Data Teams
What is Stitch?
Stitch is a cloud-first, developer-focused data aggregation platform for rapidly moving data. The tool allows you to aggregate your data where you want it in a matter of minutes.
Who should use Stitch?
The platform is a simple, extensible ETL built for data teams. Users can extract data from many different sources, load that data into leading data platforms, and analyze is with leading tools.
Stitch offers a range of plans, starting at their free plan and up to $1,000 per month. There is also an enterprise plan with custom pricing.
Stitch offers a little over 80 data sources. You can view the list of them here.
What is data aggregation?
Data aggregation is the process of accumulating data in a normalized and structured format. Data from disparate sources requires thorough optimization. With data aggregation, you can extract raw data, turn it into analysis-ready insights, and store it in the warehouse of your choice.
What is data aggregation used for?
Analysts use data aggregation to accelerate and facilitate the analysis process. Having insightful datasets in your data warehouse rather than a chaotic pile of raw information helps data scientists gain a different perspective on the research object.
What is an example of data aggregation?
Advanced marketing specialists use data aggregation to gather actionable insights on their marketing performance. Automated systems such as Improvado or Adverity extract data from marketing data sources and align them with each other to facilitate further analysis. Then, platforms store data in a data warehouse and streamline insights to visualization tools to help advertisers create reports on their campaigns.
Why is data aggregation needed?
Businesses aggregate their data to accelerate the analysis process and uncover previously overlooked insights. A well-structured data doesn’t require any manual manipulations, thus increasing the speed and accuracy of the analysis.
If you're in the market for a marketing analytics platform to help you aggregate all your data into one place, you'll likely want to review this list in detail. Each of the above softwares works well, and your pick should depend on your individual needs.
If you can't decide, book a free call with an expert.👇
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