Much Ado About Data

Our Social Media Manager, Sarah A. Parker, likes to opine on all things social media from time to time, so we’ve given her space to do just that here on our blog. She’ll cover everything from the new and unusual to the outdated and annoying. Got something she missed our something you’d like her to cover? Find her on Twitter @SparkerWorks


Last fall I traveled to Toronto for blogging platform Uberflip’s content conference CONEX and brought back some key takeaways.

Last week they took their tour on the road, making a stop here in Austin. One of the speakers, Gar Smyth of Drift, spoke about something we are all increasingly grappling with: The “complexity ceiling of data”. We have data on everything now, and that means we also have to figure out how to parse all of that data.

Most of us don’t have full-time data scientists on our teams or the budget to hire one. Some of the tools that can help can also be out of our budgets too, especially if we’re on a smaller team.

And then there’s all of the data security to worry about.

What’s a marketer to do?

Don’t panic.

Look at your budget and prioritize: First, you absolutely need to make sure you’re compliant with any existing data privacy laws and that you have plans in place for the future. (The California legislation around this is likely to be a harbinger for what’s to come in the rest of the country, and GDPR applies if you have any customers in the UK.)

Anything you have leftover from there you might allocate to a data-scientist position if that makes sense for your brand, or for more sophisticated tools to help you parse all the data you collect just from the marketing campaigns and programs you currently have in place.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t collect data just because you can with the general intention of figuring out what to do with it later. Those days are definitely over; consumers are increasingly concerned with what data of theirs is being collected and how it’s being used.

Be picky about what you measure.

Related to that last point, be picky about what you measure, both in terms of the data you’re collecting from customers but also which metrics you concentrate on for your own reporting.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are the 5 KPIs you should be measuring.

What about attribution?

We all want to know where our traffic is coming from and how our customers are actually becoming our customers so that we can win more of both. Well with more data, attribution is unfortunately becoming more complicated instead of less complicated— especially multi-touch attribution. From a recent Marketing Land piece:

“MTA is only going to get harder due to platform changes and a focus on privacy. Platforms like Google, Amazon and Facebook have restricted cross-platform tagging for their proprietary solutions, while party vendors (like C3 Metrics, Nielsen, Neustar/Marketshare and Visual IQ) are pixel-based solutions with limits to where their pixels catch consumer signals.”

So don’t expect a magic attribution button anytime soon. Do your due diligence when it comes to data and tap into the data- responsibly- that is the most useful to you and your brand.


Photo by Fredy Jacob on Unsplash