A look at what convergence analytics is, how it will affect marketers, its effects on attribution and lifetime value, and why practices are as important as applications.
On Tuesday, March 26, 2013 we launched "The Dawn of Convergence Analytics" to a packed house. Thanks to ClickZ, Efectyv, my co-Author Rand Schulman, editor Melanie White, and our research associate Ron Labau, the 40-page report was released during our lively session at the SES New York show at the Marriott Marquis.
We were honored to have been joined by Google Analytics executives Adam Singer and Justin Cutroni on our panel. Additional notes of serendipity were piped by the announcement just days earlier of Google's Universal Analytics tool, which, by all available evidence, is a convergence analytics tool extraordinaire.
For those who didn't seen the link at the bottom of every ClickZ article last week, you can download the free Convergence Analytics report here.
1. What is convergence analytics? Convergence analytics is both a class of vendor applications and holistic approach to digital measurement.
The tools combine cloud computing, big data, agile data connectors, sophisticated algorithms, and elegant display layers in order to help marketers gain new insights into the effectiveness of their digital content.
The approach comes from the marketer: wanting to know more about her customers, sooner, and with more dimensions than ever before.
Convergence analytics tools in the market today (many are listed in the report) allow the marketer to make use of this information in ways never before possible.
2. How does convergence analytics affect me? If you are a digital marketer or a vendor to digital marketers, then convergence analytics will change everything. No longer will a single silo of data suffice to say you've done the job of analytics. In the new convergence analytics paradigm, "everybody is measuring everything" (so says the report); and that means the inclusion of multiple streams of data formerly kept dark in rather useless silos deep inside the organization.
3. Attribution and lifetime value. During the session last Tuesday, Justin Cutroni said, "Attribution will get a huge lift because of convergence analytics"; and this is indeed the case. One of the most likely outcomes of convergence analytics may be the enhanced ability to trace the customer journey from campaign through conversion and beyond. The "beyond" is often referred to as "lifetime value" or "LTV" and is one of the important metrics tied to convergence.
4. Practices are as important as applications. One of the most important topics at the session was the ways in which convergence analytics applications will be best put to use for the customer. There was clear consensus that success would not be achieved just by signing up for a SaaS application. More than one panelist (myself included) stressed that having a method for deploying convergence analytics applications, and taking action on the data, is as important as having the tools themselves.
For instance, a dashboard is just a display layer. The marketer has to command content changes based on what the data in the dashboard is suggesting. In fact, process is so important that building a proper practice around these tools may be the next opportunity in analytics professional services.
Finally, it's fair to ask what is the key element in convergence analytics. It's you. It's me. It's us. The people who have to make decisions. Google is working on a self-driving car, but it's still got some kinks. And analytics doesn't drive itself either. At least not yet. So slide in behind the wheel and keep your eyes on the road (and the dashboard!).
Andrew V. Edwards is a digital marketing executive with 20 years of experience serving large organizations, and has been an operating executive and digital marketing consultant since the 1980s.
In 2004 Edwards co-founded the Digital Analytics Association and is currently a director emeritus. He has designed analytics training curricula for business teams and has led seminars on digital marketing subjects.
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