Advertising Analytics Solutions: 3 Key Features Marketers Should Look For
The purpose of advertising analytics is to help agencies and marketing teams understand the success of their marketing campaigns what's working and how well it's working (i.e. the ROAS, return on ad spend).
Getting this information is straightforward if you're running simple digital marketing campaigns where you can easily view your analytics on whatever platform you're using, for example, Google Analytics or Facebook Ads. It becomes more complex if you're a larger agency or brand running multiple campaigns including non-digital marketing activities such as broadcast, radio or podcasts.
How do you gain insight into how these types of ad campaigns influence one another? For example, how a regional TV advertising campaign impacts brand recognition in a certain area which, in turn, impacts click through rates on social media in that region?
In this scenario, attribution becomes key, and to fully understand how your advertising campaigns interact with one another, your customer journey and your target audiences, you need a more sophisticated analytics tool than a native platform like Google Analytics.
To achieve truly valuable marketing analytics on campaign performance, you need to dig deep into your data across all your marketing channels, including non-digital. Some agencies and marketing teams use their own data science teams to number crunch and produce data analytics. Others hire specialist firms to do the work for them. But there are tools that can help you do the heavy lifting of cross-channel advertising analytics either by doing the lion's share of the work for you, or as a valuable resource that can be used in tandem with your data team.
In this post, we'll consider what problems marketers face when producing analytics for multiple digital and non-digital campaigns and discuss the 3 essential features we believe are critical in an advertising analytics solution.
Specifically, a good advertising analytics tool should have to the ability to:
- Connect to all your marketing data sources, as well as any other source, and store it in
- Analyze your data by allowing you to do complex calculations and correlations on multiple data sets from different mediums just once that can be used forever.
- Automate insightful analytics for all your advertising channels (digital and non-digital) that
We'll show you how our solution TapClicks helps generate advertising analytics and reports of real value for cross-channel campaigns by doing all of the above.
What is Advertising Analytics?
At a basic level, advertising analytics involves scrutinizing your data to see how well your advertising campaigns are performing, i.e. what traffic, leads, and sales are being generated directly from your marketing efforts. From this information, the ROI (return on investment) can be calculated, marketing strategy adjusted if necessary, and new opportunities identified.
If you're an agency running a couple of digital advertising campaigns (e.g. Facebook Ads and Twitter Ads) for a handful of clients, getting this information so it can inform decision-making isn't complicated. The data (including the conversion rates) are available on the advertising platforms and you can simply extract it and do your number crunching in an Excel spreadsheet without too much work being involved.
But if you are a large agency with multiple campaigns and clients, or even a medium-sized one, this level of work quickly becomes inefficient and unscalable. And if you have clients with non-digital marketing campaigns (radio, TV) as well as digital advertising campaigns (paid search, display, paid social), it's almost impossible to do a deep dive into the interaction of those campaigns with one another unless you have an automated and sophisticated analytics platform.
Say you wanted to know how much revenue is being driven by a radio or broadcast TV campaign. Radio ads don't have clicks that lead to web visits so it's not easy to track or understand the response or the revenue gained. Because of this, you have to correlate their data with other marketing data sources, like how online sales performed in a region where radio ads were run or how click costs of digital advertising campaigns changed when the radio ads were on versus off.
Plus, you'll want to learn how different campaigns influence each other's performance such as, if programmatic display ads perform better in regions where you're also running social media ads or TV ads. For example, you may learn that if you run a radio ad campaign in a certain region, it reduces the cost of your Facebook Ads in that area from $12 to $7.
You can read more about radio analytics specifically in this article.
Agencies that run multiple digital and non-digital advertising campaigns will gain the most meaningful insights that directly influence decision-making from advertising analytics that correlate data from all those data sources.
How Do Most Agencies and Marketers Do Their Advertising Analytics?
The methods agencies use to produce their advertising analytics fall broadly into 3 buckets:
1. Doing Analytics Manually and/or Using Basic Tools
This method involves using the advertising and digital platforms directly and pulling the data from there into an Excel spreadsheet. As mentioned above, this is manageable for small agencies with just a few campaigns or clients but quickly becomes unnecessarily complex once those campaigns and clients multiply.
Going into every platform separately for each campaign and client, then pulling the data into a spreadsheet (or multiple spreadsheets), doing transformations and calculations from there, and producing reports manually for clients is tedious and time-consuming. We know that many agencies spend tens or hundreds of hours on these activities that need to be done every month or reporting period.
2. Using a Data Science Team and Sophisticated Software Tools
If an agency is managing multiple digital and non-digital advertising campaigns there are tools available that can help with some aspects. For example, ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tools that act as pipelines to pull all the different datasets for you into one place (e.g. a database) or BI (business intelligence) tools that will produce sophisticated analytics.
The downside of these tools is threefold. First, they only do some of the work for you. Second, they don't all integrate with every data source, and third, you usually need data engineering skills to use them. You can use your data science team to help you out but this means you don't have access to the data yourself. (So, what happens if you need an ad hoc report?) This results in potentially long wait times for your data team to be free to create your advertising analytics.
3: Hiring a Company to Produce Analytics
You can outsource the analytics work to a company that will do all this work for you. However, as with #2 above, this means you can't easily access your data on your own. You'll need to reach out to this team whenever you want to extract data, which makes the process unnecessarily complex and is, by far, the most costly solution.
Problems Marketers Face When Doing Advertising Analytics
To summarize, the key challenges marketers face when doing advertising analytics for multiple digital and non-digital advertising campaigns are:
- Collecting disparate data sets (digital and non-digital) from multiple sources and storing them in a central location that's accessible to
- Doing complex calculations and correlations on those data sets to understand the interaction between them.
- Producing meaningful advertising analytics reports every reporting period and sending these out to the relevant clients and stakeholders.
Our advertising analytics platform, TapClicks does all of the above. We'll walk you through each challenge in turn and explain how TapClicks helps streamline the entire advertising analytics process.
Feature #1: TapClicks Connects to All Your Data Sources Seamlessly
The first essential step to creating advertising analytics from multiple digital and non-digital data sources is being able to access data from all your data sources easily and from one place. If you don't, as we explained earlier, your team will be spending a massive amount of time doing this manually which could be better spent on marketing strategy and decision-making.
With TapClicks, you can connect to all your advertising and marketing data sources both digital and non-digital. To date, we have connected to over 6,000 data sources via our Smart Connector tool, including proprietary and offline data sources (e.g. CRM, eCommerce, and personal data).
Using this tool, our customers can build a connection to essentially any data source (or our team can help them build one) including home built or even offline data sources and be able to access it for their advertising analytics.
Here's a short video on how to create a Smart Connector in TapClicks:
In addition, we also have hundreds of pre-built API-based data integrations to all the advertising platforms you would expect (Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, etc.) as well as many lesser known ones too (e.g. Tiger Pistol and Genius Monkey).
Once you have set up your connections, your data will be pulled through immediately. In many cases, you can also extract 12 months of historical data which can be incorporated into your advertising analytics. TapClicks will then pull data through automatically every day (or whenever you choose to refresh it).
Unlike having your data managed in-house by your data team, TapClicks manages the API connections. You don't need to worry about a connection breaking because the TapClicks team will take care of it for you.
TapClicks Stores Your Data in Your Own Accessible Data Warehouse (No Coding Required)
Storing your data in one central location that's accessible without data engineering skills is essential for agencies wanting to produce their own advertising analytics and view their marketing performance.
TapClicks not only collects all your data but it stores it in your own fully managed data warehouse. Critically, for advertising agencies and marketers, no coding or data engineering skills are required and you can access the data at any time you want to create analytics or reports.
You can read more about our TapClicks marketing data warehouse in this article.
Being able to pull data directly from all your digital and non-digital data sources into an accessible central hub means you don't have to use a third party tool, do anything manually, or use your data team (although TapClicks can, of course, be used directly by your data team or in tandem with them).
Feature #2: With TapClicks, You Can Do Complex Calculations and Correlations on Multiple Data Sets (Digital and Non-Digital)
There are some tools that will help transform data (e.g. ETL tools that can make data sets consistent by removing columns or mapping unstructured data), but they don't do the complex calculations or the insightful correlations between different data sets (e.g. digital and non-digital) that you need for truly valuable advertising analytics.
With TapClicks, once you have all the data sources you need being pulled into your own TapClicks data warehouse (#1 above), you can set up custom metrics and calculations to create meaningful advertising analytics directly from within the platform there is no need to use third party tools or data science teams.
Doing your calculations all within the same ecosystem means that you can create or define a new metric once only and use it across the platform for any advertising analytics or reports thereafter.
Here are a couple of examples:
Example 1: Combining Metrics for Advertising Analytics across Platforms (e.g. Digital and Non-Digital)
Agencies and marketing teams often deal with metrics from different platforms that have unique names that mean the same thing. For example, a social media agency may track follows on Twitter or Facebook and subscribes on YouTube as the umbrella term engagement.
Producing analytics and reports manually every month is tedious every month each metric has to be added up and tracked on a spreadsheet.
With TapClicks, you can decide what you're going to call an umbrella metric across a variety of online advertising platforms and the TapClicks software will categorize it for you so you can view and compare the data together.
For example, you could create a new term inside TapClicks called Total Social Engagement and define it as the sum of post reactions on Facebook, views on YouTube, or click-throughs on LinkedIn (see below).
Once you've defined the custom metric, you can set up which social media data you want to be included and it will be used for everything dashboards, reports, campaigns, and clients.
This saves a huge amount of time and provides valuable information for your advertising analytics automatically (without you needing to do a thing once you've set it up).
Example 2: Correlating Advertising Analytics Across Multiple Locations
If you're running advertising campaigns for clients with many touchpoints in multiple locations, creating valuable advertising analytics that show you the impact of those campaigns at a granular level is challenging. Once again, the same manual and time-consuming processes we've discussed apply.
With TapClicks, if you want to analyze advertising campaigns at different location levels, you can easily combine stats at local, regional, or national levels.
For example, if you were running social media advertising campaigns for a car dealership client, you might want to look at ad spend for one specific dealership. Or you may want to group together, say, three dealerships in a certain area (see below). You can easily do all of this with TapClicks.
You can also view your performance data for the entire car dealership:
The TapClicks default mapping function means you can report on campaigns for an individual location right up to an overall company level as well as every other segment in between. You can home into whatever location you want to view data for by hovering over that area on a map zooming in and out of cities, countries, or even globally.
Widgets (individual metrics) can be configured so you can view the data as you wish (e.g. CTR by month), shown below, and you can then view this by location where the data will update dynamically.
Categorizing by target audience (or any other metric) by simply using the filters within TapClicks takes your advertising analytics to a much deeper level.
In the next section, we'll explain how you can view and report on these powerful advertising analytics using TapClicks.
Feature #3: TapClicks Automates Insightful Advertising Analytics in Two Ways
As we've discussed in this post, creating analytics from multiple platforms and gaining insight into how your campaigns (especially digital and non-digital) correlate can be challenging. You either have to spend dozens or hundreds of hours doing the work manually or rely on tools, data teams, or outsourced firms to do the work for you.
With TapClicks, once you have all your data in one place and you've set up your metrics and calculations (#1 and #2 above), you can view multiple datasets and gain insight into how campaigns impact one another in two ways:
1. Visualize Your Advertising Analytics via Dashboards
You can view your advertising analytics in near real-time (typically updated daily) by creating dashboards. Our dashboard tools are designed to be scalable single dashboards or visualizations can be easily turned into templates and applied across dozens or even hundreds of dashboards, campaigns, and clients.
Agencies and marketers can create one dashboard for a specific type of report and filter the relevant data to each client. The important benefit of this is that you can make a change once only and it will automatically apply to all clients instantly. There is no need to go into each campaign or client dashboard and make that change individually.
Here's a short video showing how to create a dashboard in TapClicks:
Examples of TapClicks Advertising Analytics Dashboards
TapClicks offers a suite of advertising (and other) dashboard templates that you can use as defined or customize to optimize your clients' campaigns:
Google Analytics Overview Dashboard
Google Ads Dashboard
Facebook Ads Dashboard
Social Media Dashboard
You can learn more about our dashboard reporting templates in this article.
Agencies can set up access permissions for clients to view their own dashboards so they can view their analytics whenever they want. Because the permissions are set at widget level, if there is a specific metric you don't want the client to see (e.g. mark-up costs), you can configure the permissions so that this is not visible to the client.
2. View Your Advertising Analytics within PowerPoint-Style Reports
While clients can view their analytics themselves, as discussed above, we find that many clients prefer to receive their reports regularly via email.
Our reporting solution, ReportStudio will automatically populate PowerPoint-style slides with your most up-to-date data, automatically pulling across all the metrics and correlations you set up (#2 above) and displaying your advertising analytics exactly as you configure them.
As with the TapClicks dashboards, you can choose from our suite of white label reporting templates and customize them, or design one from scratch.
Reports can be scheduled to be sent out to clients whenever you wish every week, every month, and so on, and can be sent out in all the main file types (PDF, PPT and CSV).
Here's a short video on how to schedule reports with TapClicks:
Case Study: How TapClicks and StackAdapt Helped a Multi-Channel Advertising Agency Streamline Analytics & Reporting
GreenBananaSEO (GBS) is a multi-channel advertising agency specializing in SEO, display advertising, PPC, web development, and social media marketing. Before using TapClicks, GBS was using Google Data Studio and a second dashboard to create analytics to show clients.
The system wasn't streamlined. The second dashboard didn't have API integrations with all their data sources (so GBS had to manually upload data from individual platforms) which caused bottlenecks and took a huge amount of time. The dashboard also didn't offer any customization options for GBS to incorporate client logos and branding so reports appeared less professional.
GBS can now access all their advertising analytics via the TapClicks platform and direct integration with their programmatic advertising platform, StackAdapt. Their clients can access their own customized and branded analytics via the platform and, because everything is automated, viewing their results in near real-time means that data-driven decisions can be made with confidence.
You can read the full case study here.