How To Choose the Best Marketing Analytics Software in 2019

SKYROCKET YOUR ROI AND EFFICIENCY WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS

WRITTEN BY NICO CARSTENSEN

Ninety-one.

Can you believe the average marketer uses that many software tools in their work?

Unfortunately, the problems extend beyond the difficulties of dealing with such a large number of platforms. Trying to monitor marketing performance across so many data points is also challenging.

Manually collecting all this data and analyzing it in one central location takes an insane amount of time. Not to mention that, with different data formats, getting the full picture of a campaign’s performance would prove practically impossible.

And all because of just one thing – Working with information scattered across too many tools.

But is there a way around it? Every system uses its own data format, style, and frameworks. How could you even bring it all together as one?

My answer: Use marketing analytics tools to do just that – gather, collect and analyze information in one place.

Marketing Analytics Software Infographic

On this page, you’ll gain all the information you need to select the best marketing analytics software for your business.

We’ll talk about:

  • Why you need marketing analytics in the first place?
  • How marketing analytics can free up hours of your time.
  • What problems will marketing analytics software help you solve?
  • What to look for when selecting a marketing analytics tool?
  • The seven questions you must ask when evaluating marketing analytics software packages.

Finally, at the end of this guide, we’ll also compare the most popular marketing analytics platforms on the market.

Why Do You Need Marketing Analytics In the First Place?

Marketing analytics is a strategy in which a company uses data to increase the marketing ROI continuously.

Data-driven organizations achieve the above goal by monitoring their campaigns’ performance at all times. They use this information to understand what worked and what didn’t. And then, use those insights to improve future campaigns.”

But I must stress this again. The benefits of using the data-driven approach to marketing go far beyond just having more information to use.

Teams incorporating data in their work achieve a much higher efficiency per campaign. They’re able to make better decisions and do it fast as well. And they can respond to the customer engagement and improve campaign performance in real-time.

Marketing teams do it all by evaluating each channel’s performance to understand the big picture of their initiatives. They also fine-tune campaigns based on historical data, assess competitor’s strategies and conduct a whole range of other research.

And all of the above helps marketers grow their business faster through a better and more focused decision-making process.

But what about the software? Why does it play such a critical role in marketing analytics?

Let’s find out.
Marketing Analytics Software

How Marketing Analytics Tools Save You Time (and Improve Your Efforts)

Many marketers I speak with ask me, “Eugen, what is marketing analytics software exactly?

Is it not just about any tool I can use to access some data about my work?

No, not really. (Although I agree, many of them have something in common with the idea of marketing analytics.)

The term – marketing analytics software – relates to tools and processes that allow companies to collect, organize, manage and control data to increase efficiency and boost the company’s bottom line.

A marketing analytics software allows organizations to monitor their entire marketing efforts over time. Such insight, in turn, helps them:

  • Understand their growth drivers better,
  • Draw conclusions about future campaigns and ultimately,
  • Reach their business goals faster.

What’s more, with the right analytics tool, a marketer can gain necessary insight without relying on the input from the business intelligence teams. They can access, correlate and analyze the information available to them and gain a better understanding to help drive their next steps, for example.

Later in this guide, I’ll show you how to choose the right tool for your needs. For now, let’s evaluate why you should consider getting a marketing analytics tool in the first place.
Free download: Guide to choosing the perfect marketing analytics software

The Benefits of Incorporating Marketing Analytics Software

A marketing analytics tool is an invaluable addition to your marketing stack when you want to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Here’s why.

One. Such software gives you a centralized view of all your data.

An analytics platform eliminates the burden of having to review scattered datasets that are presently in isolation from each other. Instead, you gain a complete picture of your campaigns in one place.

The above happens because one of the critical roles of analytics software is to collect data from across all marketing channels automatically.

Two. A platform gives you the ability to gain deep insights about marketing performance.

Being able to view all the information from various sources together offers an unparalleled opportunity to learn from past and current campaigns.

With it, you can deep dive into the data to uncover insights you would have never uncovered with dispersed information.

Three. You can monitor trends and spot new opportunities.

I can’t stress the benefit of the above enough.

Today’s markets change at an unbelievable pace. Customers develop new expectations, which demands more attention from companies. Technology and innovation open up new opportunities. But both create threats to tackle too.

To grow, a business must constantly analyze their data to monitor the market, spot new trends, opportunities and challenges ahead.

And once again, being able to do so from a single platform means a far greater chance of success.

Four, software makes forecasting upcoming results easier.

A centralized platform for your data makes it so much easier to predict a potential outcome of a new marketing initiative or campaign.

Even a simple year-on-year analysis of marketing performance, for example, would help marketing managers forecast results for any new idea.

But the above benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. Marketing analytics tools help you overcome specific marketing challenges too. Here are the most common ones:

Marketing challenges

What Marketing Problems Can an Analytics Platform Help You Solve?

Marketing Analytics Software Examples and Use Cases

We’ve already considered the reasons for implementing marketing analytics tools. Later on in this guide, I’ll show you what to look for when choosing software that will collect and analyze your data. But before we go there, let’s talk about specific use cases for a marketing analytics tool.

Because in spite of having all the data, you might still wonder whether you should use software to process it at all. So, here are just a handful of example use cases for marketing analytics software.

Use Case #1. Evaluating content performance to identify new audience trends

Bringing all data relating to your content marketing campaigns together allows you to take a holistic view of your efforts. Such information can help you answer all kinds of questions about your content’s performance. From revealing whether the content has delivered the results you expected to gauging audience engagement levels. What’s more, assessing how people respond to your content might help you spot new trends or interests you should be focusing on moving forward.

This visualization has been embedded directly from Adverity Insights

Use Case #2. Conducting customer behavior analysis

Combining information about the target market with internal data from the CRM, website analytics and sales allows you to build a complete picture of the customer behavior throughout their lifecycle.

With it, you can identify what engages them the most during the research stage, how to compel them to act, the average value of your customers and more.

And needless to say, with such information at your fingertips, you can fine-tune almost every aspect of your marketing and sales processes.

This visualization has been embedded directly from Adverity Insights

Use Case #3. Running a business performance review at a granular level

Consider what happens when you have to evaluate what effect a specific event – a new product launch, for example – had on business performance? You find yourself lacking the data to see the connection fully, right? You need a granular view at an event-level, and luckily, that’s something a data platform can easily deliver.

This visualization has been embedded directly from Adverity Insights

Use Case #4. Assessing marketing performance per channel

A marketing analytics tool allows you to analyze the impact of every channel you use – SEO, social media, email, advertising. In turn, you can identify its effect on your goals and business performance.

With it, you can conduct a basic analysis to determine performance. Or go deeper and evaluate which initiatives deliver the highest value to the company.

This visualization has been embedded directly from Adverity Insights

In short, you can use marketing analytics software to review your efforts, draw conclusions based on the data, and use that insight to improve your work moving forward.

Crucially, you can do it all without relying on someone else to export the data, analyze it and forward their findings to you.

The above, in turn, makes you:

  • More productive and effective,
  • Allows you to output laser-focused marketing campaigns that deliver faster results,
  • Improve your efforts in real-time,
  • Sharpen your strategies,
  • Become more strategic when planning and executing campaigns.

But I can’t deny it, there is still a problem we haven’t addressed yet…

With so many tools on the market, how do you know which tool is best for you? What functionality should you look for? Or what capabilities should your chosen tool have available out-of-the-box?

Let me answer that for you.

Free download: Guide to choosing the perfect marketing analytics software

What to look for in a perfect marketing analytics tool?

Marketing analytics software packages come in various shapes and sizes. At the end of this guide, we look at some of the available options to illustrate this.

Unify Data

Overall, however, I believe a robust marketing analytics tool should include the following capabilities:

#1. The ability to centralize unlimited amounts of data

Given its purpose, the tool should pose no restrictions regarding how much data or data sources you can import and process.

Without it, you may find yourself struggling to derive insights, as the amount of information you need to process continues to grow.

#2. The ability to clean, standardize and unify the data

Most of your data would come from dispersed sources. And so, you must ensure that the platform allows you to harmonize it – bring information from various file formats, using different naming conventions, labels and so on into a unified dataset – before you analyze it. Your platform, therefore, should offer a way to transform and map information using predefined templates.

Without this, you’ll struggle to extract insights from the disparate data.

This visualization has been embedded directly from Adverity Insights

This visualization has been embedded directly from Adverity Insights

In the charts above, you can see that the harmonized data includes various cost metrics. Inconsistent naming conventions between different platforms have resulted in unmapped cost data. The Y-axis may state that the currency is Swiss Francs, though it’s possible that some of cost data is given in other currencies.

By contrast, the visualisation using harmonized data provides a singular cost metric as the data formats and naming conventions are now consistent. Despite including data from multiple sources, this visualization provides a reliable and holistic representation of costs.

Adverity is able to transform your data automatically – requiring no manual manipulation from data analysts. This means it’s possible to acquire a comprehensive overview of cross-channel and cross-country performance.

#3. Customizable reporting to gain general and granular insights

Data exploration is the primary reason for using a marketing analytics tool.

In order to gain deep insights from data, your tool must offer you the ability to construct custom dashboards to display the data you need to solve a particular problem.

#4. Trial or a test run

Let’s be honest here. Purchasing a marketing analytics product is a serious investment. Even if not in terms of money, deciding which tool to use is far from easy.

When evaluating different platforms, pay attention to who offers you the ability to test drive their system. And by that, I mean, importing your data to assess the platform using your information.

#5. Not locking you into a closed ecosystem

I can’t stress the importance of this point enough.

Your marketing needs will, most likely, change. So will your MarTech stack. The platform you choose shouldn’t be locking you into any specific environment. You should be able to use it together with any other platform or software environment.

From our experience with dozens of clients, many organizations have a wide variety of tools in usage – and want to stick to their habits and established processes. Making sure that new software fits into the existing infrastructure, therefore, seems like a no-brainer. As organizations change over time it makes sense to choose a product that does not create another silo but plays along with the rest of your tools – no matter the future setup.

#6. The ease of getting started

Data harmonization, unification, and mapping are complex processes. It helps if the platform offers templates for the most common ways to process the information. It’s a simple thing but it will help you uncover the insights you seek faster and with fewer hurdles.

Finally, let me suggest questions you should ask during the process. Each of them will help you assess your situation better and suggest what tool is the best for your needs.

Analytics tool to use

Questions to ask when evaluating various marketing analytics software packages

  • How many data sources do you have? Will that number increase significantly over the next 12 months or so?
  • Where will you display the data? Do you need a platform that allows data exploration as well?
  • How many data integrations do you need?
  • What can you afford?
  • What does your MarTech stack look like today? Do you have a BI, visualization tool or data warehouse already that the marketing analytics software would have to work with?
  • Does your company have the right talent to work with? If you’re looking to implement a more superficial reporting solution, there are cheap tools that cover most of the important KPIs, but if you want to go deeper you need knowhow and time.
  • What are your goals? Depending on your requirements, you may require more advanced marketing analytics software that allows you to see the big picture, go deeper, get all data on board.

Questions to ask selecting analytics tools

Nico Carstensen - Comprehensive Guide to Marketing Reporting Author

Written by Nico Carstensen

Nico is the Content Marketing Manager here at Adverity and his goal is to create compelling, creative and quality content to tell Adverity’s story. He is a passionate digital marketer, but also loves to produce music, DJ and travel. You can also catch him busting out some moves at the skatepark.

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