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1 Digital Analytics Checkup: How to evaluate the impact of your web analytics data A Digital Marketing Depot White Paper

2 Executive Summary Marketing organizations are being inundated with a greater volume, variety and velocity of data than ever before. The realities of Big Data and omnichannel marketing have made it increasingly difficult to know what data to measure to attract, convert and retain valuable customers. Nearly half of digital analysts and marketers surveyed by Digital Marketing Depot say a lack of expertise hinders their ability to use data to drive action. This whitepaper explores the primary issues facing marketing analysts today, and provides recommendations for how you can better understand, present and act upon data to maximize your organization s ROI. It discusses the role of the analyst and explains how you can tie visitor data across devices and domains for a more unified customer view through tag management and other analytics tools. Note: This white paper is based on a webcast from Digital Marketing Depot. Thanks to the original contributors: Jim Sterne, Founder, Digital Analytics Association and emetrics Summit; and Jenny Elliott, Senior Manager, Digital Analytics, CrossView. To view the on-demand version of this webcast, please visit: Contents: Executive summary... 1 Turning bits and bytes into knowledge... 2 Knowledge becomes Big Data... 2 Figure 1: Marketers collect an unprecedented volume of consumer data... 2 Marketers plus engineers equal analysts... 3 Figure 2: Analysts provide the middle ground between engineering and marketing... 3 Creating impact through analytics... 4 Recommended steps to unify data... 4 Figure 3: Do you use tag management tools?... 5 Conclusion Third Door Media, Inc

3 Turning bits and bytes into knowledge Marketing organizations are collecting, storing, analyzing and acting upon an unprecedented volume of consumer data. When viewed individually, each data point a like, a share, a tweet, a form fill, a purchase doesn t tell you much. But when you enter data points into a database, you begin to build profiles that can be compared to other profiles. When you group together profiles of similar consumers, you build cohorts. What began as simple bits and bytes grows into knowledge when you can compare cohorts, develop super groups, and create marketing campaigns for each segment that are relevant and more personalized. It seems simple, doesn t it? But in today s omnichannel marketing world, this is just one part of the data cookie. It represents what you know about a consumer based on what you ve collected on your website, and what you ve learned from tracking visitors on ad networks and social media. You can also gather information by watching consumers through all the tags that are connected to your website. And you can purchase data from numerous third-party data aggregators and brokers. Knowledge becomes Big Data These Three Vs are what define Big Data today: Volume: More data than you ve ever collected before. Variety: Different types of data (i.e., structured vs. unstructured, text vs. images) than you ve ever collected before. Velocity: Data coming at you faster than you ve ever collected before. The concept of Big Data emerged when the executives at Yahoo! and Google realized that the volume of data they were capturing and processing was larger than their machines could handle (see Figure 1). They developed a solution known as MapReduce, which came out as an open source product called Hadoop. MapReduce maps out large volumes of data to thousands (or tens of thousands) of smaller machines when there is too much information for the main analytics machine to handle. The smaller machines preprocess the data and feed the answers back to that machine. This solution is extremely valuable for preprocessing unstructured data such as tweets and digital images to feed into formal analytics engines. Simply stated, Big Data spreads high volumes of fast-moving and varied data to lots of smaller machines. The answers returned to the larger machines enable analysts and marketers to ask lots of specific questions. Figure 1: Marketers collect an unprecedented volume of consumer data Demographics/ psychographics Public records/ credit bureaus Direct mail, transactions marketplace data BIG DATA! Websites, ad networks, social media, mobile Call center, CRM/SFA data Source: Digital Marketing Depot 2014 Third Door Media, Inc

4 Marketers plus engineers equal analysts What Big Data means to you will depend on where you sit in the organization. Engineers or data scientists focus on the mechanics of data: how to collect, clean, transform, integrate, store and report information. Just a short time ago, it was the marketing team s responsibility to figure out what the data meant. But marketers are not trained for data processing; they are trained to explore, analyze, communicate, monitor and predict outcomes (see Figure 2). Figure 2: Analysts provide the middle ground between engineering and marketing Engineers: collect, clean, transform, integrate, store and report Analysts Marketers: explore, analyze, communicate, monitor and predict Source: Digital Marketing Depot The role of the data analyst arose out of the need to find a middle ground between technology- and design-centric thinking. The analyst understands where the data comes from and how to use the software. He or she is the organization s data detective, who understands both the technology and the business needs. The five primary responsibilities of an analyst are to: 1. Understand the raw material. Analysts need to understand the data well enough to trust it. The data needs to be clean, unbiased, relevant, defined, credible, consistent, understandable and timely. 2. Understand the tools. Analysts need to be able to work with the analytics tools (or the engineers who work with those tools). You should be able to present information that is useful to the marketers who are making the decisions. 3. Understand the problem to be solved. Analysts should be able to provide answers to the following three questions from internal consumers such as the CMO or CFO: 1) How do we make more money? 2) How do we spend less? 3) How do we increase customer satisfaction? 4. Understand the art of analysis. The best analysts sift through data to identify what is interesting or unique. You explore and investigate why when data doesn t make sense. And you are careful not to confuse correlations with causations. The goal is not to have the best reports, but to have the best questions. 5. Understand the art of communication. Analysts need to understand business problems and communicate your insights clearly. Marketers don t want to hear the numbers; they hire analysts to crunch the numbers and provide opinions, impressions and insights into what those numbers mean. The stories the analyst presents should all be tied to the bottom line and help your marketing counterparts achieve their goals Third Door Media, Inc

5 Creating impact through analytics Organizations that recognize the importance of analytics in uncovering data insights move more quickly from merely collecting data to acting upon it. The goal is to build a culture of data optimization that provides a strategically unified view of the customer. There are a number of technical and strategic hurdles that undermines that goal, however. When data is collected through so many channels, the organization s view of the customer is often fragmented. This erodes the analyst s ability to provide insight and help the marketing team take the next right action. For example, many organizations get stuck on verifying the accuracy of every piece of data. It is important for marketing data to be accurate. But when analysts spend too much of their time defending data accuracy, there is too little time for them to make an impact on the organization s strategic direction. The focus for both marketers and analysts should be on the metrics that have the greatest strategic value to the organization. The metrics surrounding mobile devices is a case in point. Consumers are now using multiple devices to research purchases, browse and shop both online and offline. Mobile metrics are creating uncertainty for many organizations because rising web traffic trends may not correlate with flat conversion rates (i.e., purchases, form fills, making appointments). Marketers are questioning whether new visitors are coming to the brand s website or whether traffic metrics are inaccurate because websites are accessible to so many digital devices. Analysts are discovering that unique visitors are actually unique devices, and that users access your website across their devices. Global consumers are projected to have an average of five internet-connected devices by Cisco VNI Service Adoption Forecast, Recommended steps to unify data There are several steps that you can take to unify your data and create a more holistic view of each individual consumer. 1. Tie visitors back to their devices. Digital marketers have relied on session-based metrics, which reflect devices hitting your website, not individual visitors. This has become problematic because of the rapid growth in multi-device usage. There are currently three solutions available to unify devices with their users. The first is device mapping, which enables you to track consumer interactions on your website across the phone, desktop and tablet as a single view. Universal visitor cookies can unify visitors with authenticated sessions. CRM systems and some service providers (ESPs) also authenticate devices by channel and enable you to map the device back to the individual. 2. Use analytics tools for cross-domain tracking. Owning multiple sites will multiply visitors, and many publishers and advertisers are now managing visitors across domains. Cross-domain tracking is critical for accurate traffic metrics and creating context for marketing relevantly to individuals. Fortunately, digital analytics tools have made significant investments in cross-domain tracking to make it easier to implement. 3. Identify visitors across touch points through tag management. More than three-quarters of analysts surveyed by Digital Marketing Depot either currently use or plan to use tag management tools (see Figure 3). Tag management replaces individually hard-coded tags with a universal tag container. Marketers manage the tags and control where and how they fire, as well as what data to capture. Tag management provides several benefits, including better time management, code deployment and page performance. Perhaps most importantly, it allows you to create visitor segments at the point of data collection. The tag management system acts as a data hub that is a single source for other internal systems. The result is cleaner data and a single view of your marketing ecosystem that unifies all known consumer behavior, including PPC ad clicks, opens and clicks, site clicks and mobile behavior, for example Third Door Media, Inc

6 Figure 3: Do you use tag management tools? 24% Yes 46% Not currently, but we plan to 30% No, and there is no plan to Source: Digital Marketing Depot Conclusion For digital data to drive action, analysts must focus on building a complete picture of each individual visitor. Depending upon the complexity of your organization s marketing initiatives, this can mean tying visitors back together across devices to solve the mobile challenge, or understanding how visitors move in and out of your ecosystem of domains. The analyst s role is to be an agent of change for the organization. The goal is to create confidence in the data and move the entire organization forward in its marketing efficiency and results. n About Crossview CrossView is a global cross-channel commerce solutions provider delivering strategy, technology and services for a connected commerce enterprise. Our cross-channel commerce solutions unify marketing and technology for more personalized, profitable customer experiences. We build, integrate, launch and manage technology across all devices and touchpoints, partnering with clients to understand, engage and delight customers. About Digital Marketing Depot and Third Door Media Digital Marketing Depot is the premiere resource center for digital marketing strategies and tactics, providing whitepapers, research reports, and webinars for digital marketers and advertisers. Digital Marketing Depot is a division of Third Door Media, Inc. Third Door Media s mission is to empower interactive and search marketing professionals by providing trusted content and community services they need to be successful. Third Door Media produces the conference series Search Marketing Expo - SMX, which includes SMX Advanced, SMX East and other SMX conferences. Third Door Media also publishes Search Engine Land and Marketing Land, which provide news, analysis and tutorials to help internet marketers do their jobs more effectively Third Door Media, Inc

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