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How digital analytics has changed in the last decade?

Ten years is a not really a long period of time, but when it comes to technology it can be a very long period indeed. Nabler is celebrating its tenth anniversary and I feel privileged to have been a part of this wonderful journey for the past six years. During my time here at Nabler I have not just witnessed the growth of Nabler from a small team to more than 100 people today.

I have also seen, from close quarters, how the digital analytics industry and the underlying technologies have changed; here are some of my observations:

Digital analytics has gained center stage

When I reflect back up on the type of work we used to do, the key difference is that today digital analytics has moved from the periphery to be one of the bedrocks of marketing decision making. There used to be a time when most meetings would be based on the standard reports that a tool can generate. In today’s decks it is unusual to find a slide that is a copy of an out-of the-box report from a tool. The data contained in the slides are extracted, cleaned-up and processed to the point the insights are uncovered and almost taunt the team for action. This obviously means that the type of tasks an analyst performs has also changed over time. Today tools such as Report Builder and ShufflePoint are used routinely to make the data extraction more efficient, and to free-up time for analysis.

Real-time and automated reporting is here to stay

While today’s meetings focus a lot more on insights and actions, it is not that out-of the-box reports are straightaway ignored. Such reports are important, and their delivery has now been automated, so that they are sent out directly in to the stakeholders’ mailbox from the tool. More clients are also asking for alerts to be set-up so that they can know when metrics move away from the band of expectation. This is so different from the early days when investigations in to what is causing drastic deviations in trend lines were undertaken days after it happened.

If data is generated, it gets collected and analyzed

The variety of data sources involved have changed in a big way. Conversations with the marketing teams today will touch up on data that comes from a number of sources such as advertising platforms, social media, competitive intelligence tools, CRM platforms, testing tools and call center solutions, in addition to the web analytics tools.

The increase in the sources of data and the quantum of data means that clients are looking for greater value from the analysts. In the past couple of years, we have been consistently working with clients to identify opportunities, defining projects to execute them, and subsequently measuring their impact. Today, Nabler’s digital analytics consulting team is working with many clients on their testing and optimization projects.

Mode of report delivery has transformed into quick and appealing dashboards

When it comes to the mode of delivery we are also seeing a strong and growing demand for dashboards. Today, as part of our standard services we offer dashboards that are entirely custom-built or developed using data visualization tools such as Tableau. No doubt, with the increasing number of data sources and delivery modes, the analysts also have expanded the width and depth of their skills. The team now consists of a collection people who are not just analytical but also subject matter experts who specialize in tools such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, or in practice areas such as testing and optimization.

Growth of Tag Management Solutions

An emerging trend that we are currently seeing is the shift towards Tag Management Solutions (TMS) for deploying and managing the codes of various tools. In the past two years we have worked with a number of clients who needed Nabler’s support in evaluating, deploying, and managing their TMS. As part of our implementation audit services we now include audit of the TMS tool as a standard deliverable.

The quantity of information captured is far greater than before

Our first client used a log file based data collection technology, and since the advent of JavaScript based page tagged solutions we are seeing that implementations are tracking more granular interaction level data. For example some of our early clients relied on the default implementation of Google Analytics. Over time, as the new feature such as event tracking and custom variables became available, the implementations have been tweaked to leverage these features. This shift towards analyzing greater quantities of data is also driven by the fact that clients are not just tracking traditional websites but also mobile versions of the sites and apps. No doubt, with the shift towards Universal Analytics, and its custom dimensions and metrics, analysts will continue to have access to even greater quantity of data.

Over time digital analytics has changed from being a tool for understanding the past, to a tool for optimizing the present, to a tool for predicting future outcomes

The demand for testing and optimization will continue its strong growth in the next couple of years. Over the past year or so more clients have asked us to use their data for forecasting the KPIs. This slow but steady evolution is being fueled by the maturity of the analytics processes within organizations. Today, we are working with many organizations to define their reporting and analysis frameworks using our KPI Discovery Workshops. Gone are the days when web analytics was restricted to the metrics churned out by the tool. We are also sensing a stronger push within organizations to view analytics from a holistic and strategic perspective. We are addressing this need by working with key clients in defining their internal processes and putting the governance structures in place.

Nabler – still growing strong

Yes, ten years is a long time, during which the digital analytics industry and the way we engage with the clients has undergone a sea change. At the same time, ten years is a very short span of time in the growth of an organization like Nabler. Being just ‘ten years young’, every day we strive to unlearn what is obsolete and learn what is emerging, so that we can help our clients maximize their investment in digital analytics. To know how your organization can benefit from our wealth of knowledge and experience gained over the years, please get in touch with one of our digital analytics consultants.

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