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  • James Greaney
    Industry Expert

    James Greaney is a planning and analytics specialist working in the advertising industry.

    James Greaney
    Industry Expert

    James Greaney is a planning and analytics specialist working in the advertising industry.

    "While technology has opened multiple new avenues for creative agencies, allowing marketers and businesses alike to explore new ways to get their message to the people, it’s also allowed for a more demonstrable return on investment."

    In this age of analytics, we’re able to clearly see how customers are interacting with our business. When it comes to measuring performance, we’ve got more visibility than ever before.

    And actually, we need it. In a climate where platforms and methods of broadcasting are growing exponentially, analytics are crucial for determining the best channel for communicating your message.

    A row of people working at desks on various devices

    What should we be measuring?

    One common misconception of analytics is that it’s a complex affair. Yes, there’s metadata and there’s big data, and analysis of customer journeys can become granular and contain a lot of information.

    But there are tools and people out there who are able to summarise this data and aggregate the bits and pieces so that they are easily measured and understood. We’re often quick to forget that we’ve worked with data for thousands of years.

    With these systems in place, measuring customer engagement is a good place to start. When customers come to your environment, how is it servicing them?

    If they visit your website, are they staying with you for five minutes and disappearing without fulfilling any actions? Are they bouncing away immediately because of poor user experience? Or are they engaging with your message, to the point of a transaction?

    When you’re able to gather this kind of data, you can assess where you can improve.

    Who should be measuring it?

    In order to track day-to-day behaviours, mid-level managers are in a good place to understand the analytics of your business. Depending on the structure of your business, these are often the people in your organisation who can observe data in real time, and understand how the figures correlate to the overall performance of the business.

    After all, as businesses we want to put out messages that gain traction and ultimately lead to sales – and middle managers who are subject to this data can deduce whether current platforms are well placed for this.

    Executive management have always been given regular reports on sales figures and performances –increase in analytic capability means these reports have become increasingly dynamic.

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    The nature of analytics

    As we’re able to collect more data and analytics, businesses can be in danger of developing a short-term view when measuring performance.

    This can happen if, for example, there’s a sudden downturn in sales or spike in activity and conclusions are drawn based on those isolated events. In this way, an increase in the use of analytics can lead to a reactionary environment – which isn’t always a good thing.

    It’s important to keep a ‘business as a whole’ mentality when dealing with data, as there’s a potential to suffer from short-sightedness when the numbers are in front of you.

    As businesses we also need to remember that real-time analytics aren’t the be all and end all. Real-time analytics do exist on different platforms, and in this way we can measure what’s going on up to the second. But in order to measure a reaction or response to a message or output, or even how your marketing activity is performing as a whole, measuring on a day-to-day basis is often more than enough, and can be a good way to avoid falling into a reactionary state.

    In the hands of the individual

    By having access to data and being able to view customer interaction with content, individuals in your organisation can witness first-hand the success of a marketing message, or its value.

    Where companies have empowered their staff to understand the data, individuals can see the direct effect of their efforts. This naturally encourages ownership, and this familiarity with the business’ progress can lead to new recommendations and individuals being able to easily recognise where potential opportunities lie.

    Analytics encourage us to ask more questions. And the more questions we ask, the more data we gather, making us better placed to make decisions based on fact, and to drive our business forward leaps and bounds.

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