In 2012 I suggested that digital analytics had changed in such a way as to merit a new name more reflective of the emerging mix of multi-channel analytics in the digital marketing domain. I called it “convergence analytics.”
Since that time, convergence analytics has taken on a life of its own. Here are the top five facts you should know about it right now:
- Convergence analytics will change everything about digital marketing measurement. The practice of measuring desktop browser behavior in isolation will become obsolete. So too, the practice of measuring desktop, mobile, and social without cohort measures. Measurement in the months and years to come will have to include much more than this: including call center data, campaign data, CRM data, demographics, competitive, and even inventory and profit margin information.
- A surprising number of vendors are already offering applications capable of connecting a variety of data streams. Some come from the business intelligence space, but as many or more come from web analytics, tag management, cross-domain tracking, social media, or are actually new companies starting with a fresh look at what marketing analytics should be today.
- Customers are driving demand for multi-channel measurement, but many are still not making good use of the data. Even as the “big data” buzz has created an increasing awareness of the importance of data generally, the industry still lacks a solid discipline for putting data to work. It will become even more critical to overcome this barrier as data becomes more complex and more important to the organization.
- The need for analytics expertise is not going away – in fact, it will increase. As applications access more data from more sources and enable data “mashups” far exceeding the complexity of a former generation of tools, it will become even more important for organizations to obtain domain expertise in data collection, tool deployment, and data analysis.
- Convergence analytics is both the definition of a new and exciting marketplace, and a new approach to digital marketing. It’s enabled by a confluence of new technologies and new marketing requirements. The new approach establishes marketing closer to the core of the business – where marketing now “owns” data more thoroughly than any other department; and in some ways the CMO is taking on some aspect of the CIO in this regard.
We are witnessing the early phases of an important new set of imperatives for marketers: they will have more ownership, more data, more responsibility, more influence, and more accountability. It’s a time where marketing, driven by measurement, becomes much more central to the organization itself. If current trends continue, marketing will be less and less about driving engagement, and more and more about proving ROI for the entire company.
Organizations may or may not accept this; and may elect to create new roles and responsibilities (or reorganize existing roles) to get ahead of the curve. But convergence analytics will, in all likelihood, prove a disruptive force and everyone involved with digital marketing (and beyond) will find themselves needing to adapt.
Incisive Media (the publisher of ClickZ) is publishing my co-authored report on the convergence analytics industry this March, and there will be a panel session at SES New York called “The Dawn of Convergence Analytics.” It promises to be a lively session. Register here.
Convergence image on home page via Shutterstock.