The Power of Data Integration
- Andrea Hamilton, Client Strategist
As marketers, we can all relate to this situation; an online campaign has just ended, the results appear favorable but there are a few lingering questions from your management team:
What is our return on ad spend?
What did we learn about our customers as a result of this effort?
Is this worth running again?
In a recent article, 67% of executives surveyed by CMOSurvey.org in 2014 said their company did not formally evaluate the quality of their marketing analysis. Today, we have much more data available to us than ever before. As someone who spent many years in the traditional world of radio and TV buys, print ads and direct mailers, having more actionable and immediate data via digital marketing is refreshing. Understanding user behavior and conversions around your products or services, without a focus group or having to rely on an educated guess saves time and money in making key business decisions.
As exciting as this is, more data means, more analysis and more time manually reviewing data to craft a story. The truth is, we are inundated with data, from multiple sources; CRM reports, online and offline performance reports, revenue reports, SEO performance reports and the list goes on. While we recognize all the data is valuable and necessary to understanding the success of an effort, it is often provided in silos, one data point not directly correlating with the other, which makes it more challenging to understand how it is all working together.
Simply put, data integration with multiple data points saves time and money and allows your platform(s) to handle the heavy lifting, streamlining the process for easier analysis and decision making. In turn this helps marketers understand the return on investment and identify actionable next steps from campaigns.
Integrating with Google Analytics
Many marketers are already tracking website data in Google Analytics but they may not be using the platform to its fullest potential.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that is capable of integrating with multiple data points, for example, with CRM platforms like Salesforce. Imagine the power of your story telling if you could connect completed sales data and web analytics -- understanding what channel drove the user to your site down to the keyword (if applicable) and further, how much revenue was earned from that interaction through your sales cycle and the lifetime value of that client or customer. Over time, you will begin to see trends in channel performance, understanding what channels are most profitable and what new opportunities are worth exploring. Questions like, how much more money should we invest in paid search to grow our customer base, become more apparent with data integration.
Maybe your business collects user information as a part of the sign up or registration process, for example, demographic information, educational level, income, etc. With custom dimensions you can combine Google Analytics data with non-Google Analytics data, allowing marketers to create more targeted and powerful campaigns based on user interest and behavior.
These types of learnings are not readily apparent when we analyze data in silos and are only realized when we integrate all our data points into tools like Google Analytics. Without data integration, this becomes a manual and tedious deep dive into numerous spreadsheets and interfaces, which is not efficient or sustainable. Data integration with Google Analytics can provide powerful and valuable insights to help you make the most informed decisions about your marketing efforts.