The days when marketers could rely on light data when analysing and evaluating the performance of campaigns are long gone. According to Hubspot’s 2017 State of Inbound report, proving ROI (40%) is one of the biggest challenges marketers face. It’s been a major challenge since 2015, showing that companies still struggle with tracking and analysing their metrics.

Data analysis nevertheless remains a burning issue. In a separate report, 72% of marketers see data analysis as a necessary survival skill in today’s data-centric marketing landscape – ahead of social media (65%), web development (31%), graphic design (23%) and search engine optimisation (13%). There is no denying that successful marketing in the digital age is data-driven.

Analytics have become an integral part of all marketing decision making, from media buying to messaging emphasis and to overall strategies. And with developments in big data, machine learning, AI and immersive technologies, analytics are only set to increase.

Working with complex analytics hinges on marketers having access to the right tools, and online real-time data visualisation could be the answer to helping provide the route to real ROI. Humans are visual creatures, and many of us absorb and understand information better when we receive data visually. According to Business to Community, the human brain is more accustomed to processing images, often processing visuals 60,000 times faster than text. However, this is only possible if the complexity of data doesn’t overwhelm people. Data visualisation tools enable marketers to refine their data fluency, collating data from multiple sources and presenting it in one single format. With data silos gone, marketers have everything needed to start working with custom KPI formulas and identifying the metrics important to the business.

Ultimately, data visualisation takes the guesswork out of campaign analytics, giving marketers actionable insight on marketing spend, which they can share with senior decision makers forecasting and investing in their company’s brand. The insight visualisation can make a real difference in driving the strategic importance of marketing – demonstrating true ROI in the growth and effectiveness of a brand.

Here are eight ways data visualisation can help marketers:

1. Enables marketers to take a step back and see the bigger picture – marketers can see their overall marketing strategy holistically, highlighting trends and patterns and enabling them to see which campaigns are most (cost) effective.

2. Prevents silos and streamline communications – provides a single view of operations on which to map performance, identify trends and help predict future opportunities. Working from the same source in real-time immediately highlights discrepancies in data collection.

3. Reveals more about end users to tailor future marketing strategies – gives insights into the company’s target market, such as where they spend the most time online, how well they respond to email campaigns, and which social media they use most.

4. Ascertains which marketing channels are most effective – with websites taking in traffic from several sources, marketers must be able to track how many visitors each channel brings in, how many sales are generated from each, and the conversion rate. Plugging this data into data visualisation technology easily shows which are worth the attention.

5. Saves time on manual processes – exporting data into Excel to create weekly metric reports or taking screenshots of Google Analytics to share across the business takes valuable time. Using data visualisation technology allows marketers to set a schedule so charts and dashboards update automatically.

6. Pinpoints the KPIs needed now – gives a holistic view of current performance, but also provides the ability to drill down to highlight specific priorities and the flexibility to filter data on a more granular level.

7. Employs historical data to improve future outcomes – by tracking the right metrics, marketers can see which campaign provides the best ROI. A quick perusal of visualisation tools then shows which past trends can be used for future gain.

8. Employs gamification for increased productivity, clear ROI and effective forecasting – when employed correctly, gamification can demonstrate ROI linked directly to marketing activity, be used as a tool to incentivise sales, and enable far more insightful forecasting.

Data visualisation is fast becoming the standard for marketers. Those embracing these tools will be able to make smarter decisions, more quickly. Not only do they provide the details required to justify decisions on how to move their marketing efforts forward, but show the best path to get there.

 

By Robert Dagge, managing director at Dynistics


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