The digital marketing world has turned into a place where everybody is measuring everything, according to an inaugural report revealed by ClickZ and Efectyv Marketing at SES New York today.
The joint research, entitled "Convergence Analytics - Digital Measurement in Transition" seeks to identify a related cluster of changes in the digital analytics field and exemplifies how these changes will affect and challenge practitioners, vendors, and investors.
"We felt it was appropriate to subtitle the report 'digital marketing in transition.' Convergence Analytics is like 2.0 of analytics. It combines multi-channel, big-data, cloud computing, powerful algorithms, and sophisticated visualization in a way never before achieved," says Andrew Edwards, co-founder of Efectyv Marketing and co-author of the report.
"Companies from every corner of the digital marketing industry are participating in this new type of data intelligence practice and soon enough, the entire digital landscape will be transformed. Everyone in the space will be impacted," says Edwards.
Looking at the content of the study at a glance, one of the biggest factors to stand out is the speed of which the digital marketing space around analytics is evolving, says Edwards. As a consequence, disruptions will be driven and there will be an abundance of new analytical insights at an accelerated pace. It is clear that so-called "web analytics" is already yesterday's news, he notes.
At a closer glimpse, other key findings stood out. The research highlighted that around 70 percent of vendors say that they collect real-time data. Yet, at the same time, there is little consensus on what "real time" really means.
"What this suggests is that 'real time' is a buzzword that really should be changed to 'right time.' The best timing is whatever is right for the organization. Real time is apparently a little bit of a misnomer in this regard," says Edwards.
Meanwhile, the report also found that another 70 percent of vendors say that they offer a dashboard. However, 45 percent note data cannot be queried through their dashboard, while 30 percent say they have no direct access to a datamart or database.
"This suggests that when correlated with the high number of vendor respondents that were in fact agencies and marketing companies, the disparity between dashboarding and querying is probably very simple. Agencies are handcrafting dashboards for their customers but they are not attached to any live data. So the implication is that there is a much higher degree of professional services involved today than we might have suspected," Edwards comments.
Rand Schulman, co-author of the report and co-founder of Efectyv Marketing (alongside Edwards) adds: "There is both real-time collection and real-time reporting. Most humans cannot act upon real-time reporting but other applications can, and winning vendors will provide those APIs to other applications, or bundle those applications with their offerings."
Another finding of the report is the overuse of the term "big data." According to the research, it has become a buzzword and is sending waves of doubt through the entire digital marketing industry. Marketers are becoming anxious about the amount of data that is being collected and they are not sure what it suggests, how to deal with it, or if they even need to deal with it.
"Neither the tools nor the expertise are fully in place yet to perform as many useful activities as we might want with all this data. So big data becomes a catch-all phrase for a yet-to-be-fully-defined field that no doubt will be broken down into segments in the near future," says Schulman.
According to both Edwards and Schulman, the overall message of the report and digital measurement in general is clear, everybody is certainly measuring everything. Vendors and practitioners are converging on convergence and in order to be able to continue to thrive in this evolving new space of digital analytics, consolidation may happen.
"Today it is true that the industry goal is for everybody to measure everything. The levels of success are widely variant right now. Consolidation may not be necessary but will happen as the vendors more successful at creating a true convergence analytics offering will supersede those that sell less integrated suites. Of course on-target messaging and native funding capabilities will both spell some of the difference between who grows and who goes," concludes Edwards.
The report is based on a survey conducted by ClickZ and Efectyv Marketing throughout December 2012. Some 641 respondents participated in the study, including 494 practitioners and 147 vendors.
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Melanie White is the Editor of ClickZ, where she has worked since July 2012. White has been with Incisive Media (ClickZ's parent company) since 2009 where she was Deputy Editor/ US Editor for one of the financial risk management titles, International Custody and Fund Administration (later Custody Risk).
In addition, White worked on FX Week where she was a Senior Reporter. She has also worked and contributed to a number of other titles, including The Accountant, International Accounting Bulletin, the New York Post, Independent Magazine (UK), as well as the broadcast title Sunday Live with Adam Boulton at Sky News.
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