Analytics, driven by data, is a vital instrument to help advertisers spend smartly, effectively, and efficiently. The challenge with data is often as simple as collecting it. At Click Here, we’re keeping our eyes on three developments that will impact how we conduct analyses in 2011, and what it will mean for the future.
There’s no shortage of web reporting tools, but many of those available are limited in the source of data. Collecting and storing data from multiple sources into one tool is advantageous when reporting and evaluating performance. Consolidation of data in one place is not only going to standardize it, it’s also going to appropriately marry data from multiple sources, increasing reliability, quality, and accuracy. In the long run, data consolidation will lead to dramatically quicker and more thorough reporting and analyses.
The day-to-day web user experience is rapidly changing as new technologies emerge. Location-based services, social networking, and mobile add a new level of complexity to analyzing how people interact with brands. In other words, it’s easier to track keyword search conversions, as opposed to a product recommendation in a Friend’s tweet.
The voice of the consumer is undoubtedly one of the most critical aspects of the health of a brand, but currently, publishers such as Facebook and Foursquare are not sharing usable data for analysis, though there are third party vendors attempting to monetize social network tracking, according to Mashable. Our hopes are that they begin to so that we can monitor and better understand brand engagement on a deeper level than any propriety platform available now. Facebook has incorporated user “Likes” in ads to make brands more relevant to friends, Ad Age reports, which goes to show that any brand can have a complicated involvement across multiple concurrent social circles.
If publishers do cooperatively begin sharing data, it is to be expected that it will take some time to be standardized and reliable; in its most usable form, this data will be a finger on the pulse of a brand, as there is no way to track conversions.
One’s privacy in the digital world has been an ongoing debate since the mid-90s. A Do Not Track list in the vein of the successful Do Not Call list has been proposed in response to a public outcry over the data harvested from online usage and made available to marketers.
The working solution to limiting this flow of data relies on the user to update browser privacy settings. Doing so will limit a marketer or brand’s ability to be significant. Web analysts will no longer be able to determine how conversions are made. Behavioral targeting initiatives will no longer be able to serve relevant information to an already-defined audience. Every click and impression will be a singular, solitary event, independent of one another, because there will be no data in which context can be defined.
Best case scenario, the digital privacy issue will fall to the wayside and people will accept that the collection of this information largely makes ecommerce a more successful enterprise. We’re hopeful that education of the issue will ensure that the collection of meaningful marketing information does not personally identify anyone.
It will be exciting to see how these developments impact digital advertising over the course of 2011 and what it will mean for the future of analytics as a whole. The more useful data we can process, the more clearly we can tell a story that helps our brands grow and drive results in the most efficient and effective way possible.