Analytics expert, Brad Herndon, shares with us his five insights into the future of big data and web analytics.
1. What were the biggest achievements in web analytics over the past year?
This past year, companies stopped talking about attribution and started doing something about it. It is no longer acceptable to have isolated data. Web analytics is now about how digital performs as a whole, rather by channel, and aggregating offline data is not far behind.
2. Executives know the value of deep analytics, but how can they simplify the process of translating data into action?
Focus on the metrics that matter. With accelerated growth of digital measurement over the past few years, many companies have not taken the time to look back. It has been all about collecting more data to provide insight, rather than taking the time to discover what metrics are truly important in driving business. Business owners need to take a step back and identify what measures, both online and offline, are critical to the purchasing decision throughout each phase of the consumer journey, and then align those to their overall strategy. This needs to be a continual process, evaluation, and evolution for every business.
3. Since the boom of big data analytics, companies have had a reactive approach to data. What is the level of effort to move from insight to foresight?
Once companies realize the benefit of proactively using data to make decisions, the competitive advantage will turn to making those decisions more quickly. Therefore, for the companies that are responsibly and effectively using their data now, predictive analytics will be a natural progression. For those that are behind, there will be an even bigger hill to climb.
4. How can analytics drive the relationship between online and offline marketing?
As marketers, we need to understand how channels complement one another. Until recently, online and offline data have been analyzed in isolation, but the big push has been to aggregate all marketing data and better understand the overall influence of each channel (e.g. TV, print, paid search, display, email, etc.). Organizations cannot be afraid to test and adjust budgets across various campaigns to uncover where the relationships exist and the impact of reallocation spend from one campaign to another. Of course, this means that digital and traditional channels have to learn to play together.
5. What analytics business problem do you most look forward to solving?
Attribution modeling from offline purchases to online engagement. Connecting the dots between experiences that lead to in-store purchases has been a problem for both ecommerce and non-ecommerce businesses. Being able to attribute credit to digital for in-store purchases and then use that data to better the digital experience has been a primary focus of mine.