Numbers Tell it All – Analytics Give You the Numbers
Reporting measurable results when creating budgets is nearly impossible without dedicated data analytics. Tracking just a few points through the most basic of software is a good first step, but as the “internet of things” grows, companies are going to have to expand their data collection strategies.
Currently, most businesses are tracking the success of email campaigns, online ads, and click-through rates. Now that consumers expect a better relationship with the organizations they interact with, those organizations need to meet the consumer when and where they expect interaction and deliver the experience the consumer needs.
For the past decade or more, consumers have been calling the shots. Now that technology is changing and innovative solutions are emerging, marketers are gaining ground and may overtake the consumer advantage. The next few years will determine how much control marketers take back and what they do with it. Discovering new ways to analyze data will be a major part of how this all plays out.
There’s a lot going on in analytics right now and more changes are coming. Here’s a look at what to look forward to and areas in which you need to be ready to adapt.
Anticipating Needs by Analyzing ALL Data
The internet has created a world that extends beyond mobile devices and PCs. In the coming years, customers are going to give up more of their privacy for the convenience of not having to make decisions. This means that someday, if not already, Geo location apps will track patterns and communicate those patterns to AI apps, and so on. Eventually, an AI interface will know that if you stopped into the drugstore this morning and purchased ibuprofen that your next stop will be for coffee. The AI may have already called in your double latte so that it will be waiting for you at the drive thru.
Or, you’re on a walk and you start playing an augmented or virtual reality game. It’s six o’clock and you’re about to pass a pizza joint that you order from regularly. If the pizza company is working with anticipatory analytics and marketing, it will send an ad with an incentive to your phone so that you’ll drop in and place your regular order.
Smart marketers will get a jump on this trend now before it happens, so they have the right data analysis practices in place when the wave hits. Expanding predictive analytics into anticipatory analytics will put marketers in a position to be able to make decisions for the consumer so that the culture of “I want it now” gets it now.
What this means for analytics is the consideration of all data. Rather than just tracking your click-through rates or how well an ad has performed, predictive and anticipatory analytics consider all of the many ways consumers are interacting with your brand – when, how, and most importantly, why. These forms of analytics will also increase positive feelings about your brand because it will be presented to the consumer at exactly the time that they want it.
Anticipatory analytics may be the next big thing, but engaging in explanatory analytics is what will make the difference between confusion and success.
Consumer behaviors are more fickle than ever, and if a company anticipates a need on based on predictive data that doesn’t actually lead to the expected customer behavior, there could be a backlash of disappointed – or even hostile – customers. Humans evaluating the data can prevent that.
Explanatory analytics uses the intuitive mind of the marketer, not a computer, to ask the questions that make the data make sense. The marketer reviews the data, formulates questions, and then runs data analysis again to find the answers.
Predictive analytics, for instance, might consider that the company’s target audience fits a certain demographic and then may report coincidental data that it has presumed makes that demographic tick. The resulting information, then, might not help marketers make the best decisions. If marketers from that point ask why the demographic would make a certain choice or for what reasons it wouldn’t or at what times it wouldn’t – they’d have a much better understanding of how to reach that demographic.
Explanatory analytics also gives marketers an advantage in knowing when to intervene to change the outcome of the predicted behaviors. Predictive analysis is not always, or well, equipped to answer that question. Only human intuition and creativity in asking the right questions can.
Social Media Analytics
Social media analytics are going to be more important going into 2017. The Direct Marketing Association reports that 70% of companies are not analyzing social data – but that they should be. Growing companies are upping their marketing budget for social media by 24% this year and that will continue to climb. Those companies will have the advantage as more social media outlets spring up to meet user demand.
Taking advantage of social media listening platforms can give you much better insight into your brand’s performance, or what your prospects care about than simple internet searches. These platforms cut out all of the spam that loads down your favorite search engine and finds only the true mentions and the real conversations that matter.
Marketers should be careful when evaluating data reported from social listening platforms and be sure that they are acting on the right factors. Many mistake coincidence, correlation and causality.
What Makes Analytics Unique?
Marketing without analytics in today’s tech-heavy world will result in minimal success at best. Other marketers, that are analyzing data, will outpace those that don’t very quickly. Moreover, the analytic tactics most companies are currently using are not going to be enough in the very near future.
Companies that review a wider scope of analytics from a variety of web sources with a consideration of unique devices will use data collected from those sources in correlation with its own to know when, where, and how to reach out to the potential consumer.
Analytics are going far beyond click-through rates and email tracking. Consulting with an agency that has the right chops in analytics and reporting, will help you gain ground fast. In every top city, be it New York, Chicago or San Francisco, you are sure to find great agencies and service providers that can help you with their expertise in analytics service. Get ready to be on top of your data, and get ready for 2017!