Finding the best marketing tools is not that tough. Understanding how they perform across the board can be really difficult. Unless you have the tool that creates a complete picture.
Every marketer uses dozens of martech tools daily, and instead of helping to make things clearer so many disparate solutions just create new data silos, making it difficult to understand how all of them contribute to your overall marketing performance. Creating a centralized location for all the data would be great, but does this mean that you’ll be able to grasp vast amounts of data and get any thoughtful conclusions out of it? Most probably not.
This is where advanced, intelligent technologies come into play, such as augmented analytics. But before we explain how, let’s first see which elements you need to fit in into a centralized stack, so you can get to new and exciting insights.
One of the most popular marketing tools out there, HubSpot, has highlighted the 16 best digital marketing tools in a blog post. Many of these are really great, and we at Adverity use some of them, but this is still just a list of isolated, siloed tools. All of these will surely help you to manage and optimize certain segments of your marketing efforts, but combining them into a comprehensive overview of your achievements might not be so easy.
Let’s start from the very beginning – attracting customers. You can do this by perfecting your organic search rankings through SEO (more on that a bit later), or by paying for advertisements placed through various networks. Google Ads is the one most companies use, but let’s not forget the less popular ones, such as Microsoft Advertising (former Bing Ads), Quora Ads or Reddit Ads. If you’re not fully satisfied with the potential that these ad platforms offer, most probably you’ll add to the equation popular programmatic and retargeting platforms such as AdRoll, AdForm or Criteo.
Getting a complete view on performance of hundreds or even thousands of campaigns and ads across all of these platforms is extremely difficult. And even if you somehow manage to do it without the help of an automated tool, these manually created reports will be already outdated at the moment when you get them. On top of that, you won’t be able to spot and resolve issues like as catastrophically underperforming campaigns or broken conversion tracking. Well, at least not before it’s too late and the budget has been spent already.
The situation changes fundamentally if you employ intelligent analytics solutions. Powered by AI techniques such as machine learning or natural language processing, augmented analytics analyzes the all the collected data and seeks for trends, anomalies and outliers – issues with your campaigns that you might never notice on your own, as they are deeply hidden in the millions of ones and zeros that create your Excel reports. And advertising is just the beginning.
The alternative to investing in advertising is to rely on incoming traffic from organic searches on popular search engines. Sure, it’s a longer play and requires investments in SEO and content, but the return on an investment in improving your search engine rankings is much higher. To be able to understand what’s going on with your website’s SERP positions, you need to employ free tools such as Google Search Console, or even better one of the popular paid ones, like Moz, SEMrush or RankRanger. All of these offer lots of useful information on where you need to improve and how, along with plenty of numeric indicators of the success of your SEO strategy.
On the other side, you also need to understand how this reflects onto your website traffic and all of its details. So, combining the rankings data from SEO tools with traffic results from analytics tools, such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, is essential in getting a complete scan on the health of your online presence and its contribution to the business success. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can add the data from advertising platforms to the equation, to be able to compare the performance of these two inbound marketing channels.
For a huge number of businesses, social networks present a particularly important channel for customer acquisition and retention. Whether you are monitoring just organic engagements on these networks, or engaging in paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat or TikTok, it just adds a new layer of complexity to your marketing efforts and results. As if you didn’t have enough headaches on combining website performance data with SEO and paid campaigns, now you have this situation all over again and, to make matters even worse, on different platforms.
If on top of all of this you add additional customer outreach tools, like email marketing campaigns sent through MailChimp or Campaign Monitor, and finalize with a CRM (perhaps HubSpot), it’s clear that this level complexity is practically impossible to grasp through basic Excel reports. Even if you work for a small company, the number of data sources can easily be over 10, and the amount of data generated in all of them is simply overwhelming.
A wise man called prof. Mark Ritson once said: “The only worse thing from making decisions without having any data is to make them based on the wrong data”. So first you need to get all the data from all the tools you are using into a single place, and be able to match various dimensions into a system that makes sense. One of the ways to achieve this is by using the Adverity platform, and yes, we have automated connectors for all the tools listed above (and many more).
Once you’ve successfully solved the data integration challenge, it is time to analyze all of it and make conclusions and decisions based on these conclusions. This is where intelligent technologies based on artificial intelligence kicks in, right at the point where you think all is lost and working with this much data is just madness. Adverity’s augmented analytics module goes through all of the integrated data and tries to identify various types of events that might be relevant for the performance of your marketing and business.
Sometimes it’s locates only a couple of underperforming campaigns, which you might have spotted yourself, if you had the time to dig deep into the data. But sometimes it points out to things that you could easily miss, such as rising costs of ads for certain terms over time, pointing to a new competitor or a change on a market. On top of it all, it can learn from past results and behaviors, and estimate future trends and market developments.
If you look at it from a wider perspective, you’ll realize that augmented analytics comes as an overarching, ultimate tool over all other martech tools that you are using. It creates not only a holistic overview of performance and things that have already happened, but offers a glimpse of the things that will come in the future. In a way, it can be an equivalent of a crystal ball for marketers. And who wouldn’t want to have one of those?