7 Shifts in Digital Analytics

You can now download a sample chapter of Digital Marketing Analytics: Making Sense of Consumer Data in a Digital World (2nd Edition) here. 

Having been in the analytics and digital marketing fields for the last 15 years, few industries have changed as much as digital marketing, advertising and analytics. When I started my career, most of us in the analytics profession were spending time measuring the output of very traditional campaigns. We certainly weren’t tapping into social media data like we do today, and much of the digital marketing research was done utilizing syndicated research tools exclusively. Today, there’s more data than we could ever possibly utilize, and there are more analytics pros adept at taking advantage of multiple data sources in order to develop actionable insights.

Those changes that we’ve seen over the last 15 years were the impetus for us to write, “Digital Marketing Analytics: Making Sense of Consumer Data in a Digital World” back in April 2013. Our intention then was to provide a guidebook for marketers and communicators to navigate an increasingly complex ecosystem of data sources, tools and techniques to understand the impact programs were having on their businesses.  We also wanted to show those audiences how they could use those tools and data sources to better understand content performance, how their audience behaved and where information was being shared that was important to the company’s they worked for. Because of the state of the industry at the time, we spent a considerable amount of time focusing on tools that marketers and communicators could use in order to scale. We also spent a lot of print real-estate on social media because we understood it to be something these audiences were struggling with how to harness.

Toward the end of 2017 we reviewed where the industry was and what the book covered, and decided it needed a refresh. The tools were out of date, there was more of a focus on paid media than ever before and some of the frameworks that we captured in our first book were now in need of a refresh. Thankfully, the good folks at Pearson agreed with our assessment and we began to write, “Digital Marketing Analytics: Making Sense of Consumer Data in a Digital World (2nd Edition).” Our aim for the book is still the same: to provide marketers and communicators an opportunity to understand their audience, develop the right sorts of content, distribute it across the right channels and measure the right metrics. That being said, if you do decide to purchase the book (thank you), you will see seven major shifts from the first version of the book.

Download a sample chapter here.

Those seven major shifts are:

  1. Tools and technology have changed dramatically over the last 5 years, but what hasn’t changed as quickly is the ability to use those tools to scale people and process. You will notice that we’ve eliminated all of our tools chapters, and instead focused the discussion on how a marketing technology stack should come together, how it should be rolled out and how it should evolve over time.
  2. Digital media channels have truly converged, which makes understanding how the audience behaves through analytics even more crucial. It isn’t enough anymore to use only one data source in order to answer critical business questions. An appropriate approach utilizes data across paid media channels, earned media channels, owned media channels and shared media channels.
  3. Most organizations are still struggling with how to measure their digital marketing programs, but it doesn’t need to be that way. There are more ways than ever to measure marketing effectiveness, and the data is more than available. Unfortunately, many businesses have been duped into measuring the wrong things. It doesn’t need to be that way any longer.
  4. Taking a channel-first approach to developing insights is dead. Taking an audience-first, or integrated campaign view to insights generation is the new normal. Every digital strategist that I’ve ever worked with always tells me the same thing: “Tell me something about my audience that helps me reach them more effectively.” Thankfully for all of us, the data exists to do just that for our digital strategy partners.
  5. The tension between privacy and the growing volume of data that we can use as marketers is going to continue well into the future. We close the book, much like we did in the first version, with a look into the future. Privacy is something we only expect to intensify over the coming months and years.
  6. Paid media is an even greater focus now versus five years ago. Admittedly, the first version of our book talked more about earned and shared media activities versus paid, but with organic reach becoming increasingly impossible (if it isn’t already) we thought it was important to spend more time talking about how paid media analytics fits into the overall analytics plans of an organization.
  7. The usage of digital data is more strategic than it was five years ago. While the application of this data for measurement, audience and content analysis is important, it’s simply the tip of the spear. We’re seeing more companies than ever feeding this data into product development, customer service and strategic planning. A trend we expect to only continue from here.

The shifts in digital marketing, advertising and analytics are only going to intensify over the next five years, but it’s our hope that “Digital Marketing Analytics” provides marketers and communicators alike a foundation to navigate those choppy waters. We’re excited to hear what you think!

Chuck Hemann
Chuck Hemann
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