What is Data Aggregation?
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 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 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.
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?
These softwares are killing it in the data aggregation game.
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 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 pricing is done on a custom basis. The company can assess your business needs and give you pricing details during a call.
Improvado provides more than 80 integrations. There are plans to increase that number to 500 by the end of 2018. Custom integrations can also be built out for additional data sources that you may need.
What is Domo?
Domo is software that specializes in data visualization and business intelligence.
Who should use Domo?
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.
What is Stitch?
Stitch is a cloud-first, developer-focused 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 Supermetrics?
Supermetrics is a simple data extraction platform for marketers. It is a tool that helps marketers by pulling social, SEO, PPC, and analytics data into a single place for reporting and analysis.
Who should use Supermetrics?
All the platform really does is pull your data from a limited list of platforms into Google Sheets or Google Data Studio.
You should use Supermetrics if you are part of a scrappy startup and mainly use Facebook, Adwords and Google Analytics and just need help getting that data into Google Sheets. If you end up using any other channels or need any more sophisticated dashboards or visualization, this will not be that helpful.
Supermetrics is the cheapest solution by far, starting at $19 per month, but their product offering is very rudimentary.
There are different plans depending on where you plan to send your data, and the cost adds up quickly if you need to purchase any of the add ons.
They claim to have 40+ integrations, but they don't provide a list of integrations on their site.
What is Funnel.io?
Funnel.io is a marketing analytics tools that strives to integrate with all of the advertising and marketing platforms marketers use.
Who should use Funnel.io?
The platform allows you to map and group data, similar to Improvado, and data can be sent directly to a data warehouse, a dashboard solution, Google Data Studio, and Google Sheets. Funnel.io, however, doesn’t have a direct integration with Tableau.
The main benefit of the platform is that is quite simple and fairly self-serve. Since the cost is tied to ad spend, as your business ad spend grows, the platform may become more costly.
Pricing is based on ad spend. While the platform boasts unlimited users and data sources, there is an additional fee each month for every additional destination you want to connect your data to.
● Funnel.io claims to offer 400 data sources.
What is Datorama?
Datorama is an analytics and business intelligence platform that aims to helps marketers unify their data across platforms into a single source of truth.
Who should use Datorama?
Highly technical marketing teams or teams with engineering resources. You will need to know SQL in order to use Datorama effectively.
They do focus specifically on the marketing dilemma, and they claim to have every integration possible (even ones that don't offer API connections, which is questionable?). The biggest challenge I see with Datorama is that the software is very technical and complex. Often teams need to hire an implementation engineer that knows the Datorama coding language, just to get it set up properly or to make any changes.
However, once you do have it set up properly, the tool is pretty powerful. Datorama may be too expensive for some companies, especially given the fact that you'll need to upgrade to a premium level if you want access to a customer service rep.
Datorama charges customers based on lines of data. If users have several campaigns running, this can get rather expensive.
They claim to have 400 marketing integrations, but it's impossible to find a list anywhere on their site.
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.