Digital Analytics – The Highway to Digital Intelligence

The success of any digital analytics hinges on the marketer’s understanding of his or her customers. Sounds familiar, right? But as marketers, we need to be aware of the fact that technology landscape has significantly altered in the last 5 years.

The way brands interact with their customers has changed and the ability to understand customers across digital channels requires a new approaches within digital analytics.

Digital Analytics

Traditional web tracking techniques were not designed for the breadth of channels, devices and speed that fuel today’s digital interactions.

Take Google Analytics for example, most of you would choose to believe Google Analytics is the ultimate platform for all your analytics needs, but actually that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Though it may be providing you huge amount of data related to the visitors on your website & mobile site, that’ll help you optimise your content & UI effectively, but it still offers a very limited approach if you want to scale your business operations in a growing market.

The basic DNA of the Digital medium is its state of constant change, and marketers need to look beyond the traditional analytics platforms and move towards more sophisticated Digital Intelligence systems which can provide you a much wider view including the competition, customer segments, social analytics, future trends, data across multiple devices including smartphones, tablets, wearables etc.

According to IMRI :

 Digital marketing intelligence is a process to identify prospects online, building reach and retain customers by leveraging the largest sample of online consumer behaviour with timely and actionable insights to drive ROI
The only point to which I disagree is that Digital Intelligence can’t be restricted to online data, we are living in a globalised environment where every 5th mobile purchased is a smart phone or a smart device and soon this number will outpace the growth of online. Online data sources like Comscore or Nielsen would have little impact to our marketing metrics and forecasts.
Incidentally, Compete is one of the very few companies who has already started working & providing such intelligence to brands globally. I understand that this research is not possible with pure digital analytics, which means at some point of time, we have to look out of the digital domain and merge data from offline sources as well.

Google Digital Intelligence

Larry Page, Chief Executive Officer of Google Inc, the biggest custodian of internet data on the planet, believes that the next few years would belong to Artificial Intelligence & related tech. In one of the ted talks (watch below video) he also talked about his core purpose behind acquiring Deepmind ( Founded by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman, deepmind was one of the AI Startups in the UK until it was acquired by Google.

Facebook Digital Intelligence

Today, almost all the Internet & technology enterprise companies have an AI research lab or have acquired some startup in the space. Facebook has a complete division called Facebook AI Research that covers the full spectrum of topics related to AI, and to deriving knowledge from data: theory, algorithms, applications, software infrastructure and hardware infrastructure.

Microsoft Digital Intelligence

Microsoft Academic Research has got an illustrious research panel on Artificial Intelligence from top global universities including Oxford, Standford & MIT.

Cisco Digital Intelligence

In 2013, Cisco took their first steps into the future security solutions by acquiring COSE (Cognitive Security) in order to offer advanced security services to their customers that can detect complex network threats in advance and take preventive action of its own.

2015 could well be the beginning of the new age of Big Data & AI  that would change our perception as marketers forever. The question is, is your brand ready for it?

Ad Viewability – a boon or bane for advertisers?

According to a recent comScore study, 54% of online display ads weren’t seen by anyone, owing to various factors including technical glitches, user habits, and even fraud. For advertisers, that’s a lot of money down the drain. And rightly so, I mean after all we are talking about hard marketing dollars. Some conventional media people might argue that 100% ad viewability is a myth, and honestly, they are not wrong but the advertiser also has a strong point when they ask for maximising the viewable impressions in any campaign.
Let’s open this discussion a bit further. 
Terms like ad viewability brings a set of common problems along with it, most common is what we call in digital as Measurability (or “obsessive measurability”). It is true that digital has given the power & tools to measure each & every nano second of any marketing campaign but at the expense of confusing & cluttering the environment around us. More detailed & in-depth the metric goes, more the number of definitions for the same metric that you would see. Each publisher would come up with their own “convenient” definition of same metric in their reporting.
For any advertiser, finding the correct industry benchmark is always a challenge. For instance, something which is as debatable as Video Completion rate would become a hurdle for agencies & publishers in driving stronger revenue volume / advertiser in the coming years.
Even if the overall mobile & display revenues are seeing a major upswing worldwide, It would be hard to imagine that advertiser would surrender their stand on the key reporting metrics when it comes to Mobile Display or Mobile Video. 
Most importantly, in order to make the client ecosystem more responsive towards new age advertising, agencies & vendors have to sit together along with the bodies like IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) & arrive at common marketing friendly reporting metrics without which it would extremely difficult to win the trust of the advertiser.

To understand this further, watch the below video by Integral Ad Science:

A few months back, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Media Rating Council issued the first viewability standards for online ads. A video ad is viewable if half its pixels appear on the viewer’s screen for two continuous seconds, the standard says.

While that standard seems awfully low, the IAB says that 100 percent viewability isn’t possible at this time. The best that ad buyers should hope for is 70 percent. Good news: Only 30 percent of your paid ads won’t be seen—for the time-being, anyway

The IAB has just released a position paper on viewability calling 2015 a year of transition. Full viewability isn’t currently feasible, the paper says, but we’re getting there. Problems such as different ad units, browsers, ad placements, vendors, and measurement systems prevent 100 percent viewability, but the industry can solve those issues by working together, it says.

You can read the complete article on IAB guidelines for ad viewability here