In anticipation of his presentation at eMetrics Summit in Chicago, June 20-23, 2016, we asked Tim Wilson, Senior Partner at Analytics Demystified, a few questions about digital marketing analytics. Check out Tim’s interview in relation to his eMetrics Summit presentation entitled, Why I Dove into R…and Why You Might Want To, Too.
Q: Where does digital analytics sit in your organization and how does it interface with your business units?
Tim: Well, I’m a consultant, so the question is technically “N/A” for my organization. But, when it comes to my clients, it’s something of a mix. For a large CPG client, analytics sits in a “digital marketing” organization that, overall, is an internal service organization that supports various brands. Those analysts are in regular contact — through meetings and emails — with the brands they support. For a large B2B organization that has a significant eCommerce portion of the business, digital analytics is on the “web team”… but is in very close, on-going communication with the eCommerce team.
Q: What’s the most important goal/trend for digital analysts to keep in mind for 2016?
Tim: While digital moves quickly, I tend to still think that “1 year” is too short of a view when it comes to “trends” in our space. That’s because organizations are rarely sufficiently nimble to really react to macro trends within 12 months. They may dabble and experiment, but I honestly don’t think things move that fast. Having said that, when I’m talking to analysts — and it’s largely why I’m doing the session I’m doing at eMetrics — it’s because I think too many analysts are focusing mainly on their web analytics platform and are relying on the tools that that platform provides to do their analysis.
Any full-time web analyst who primarily pulls data from the Google Analytics web interface or Adobe’s Reports & Analytics web interface, I think, is at risk of having their relevance erode over the next 3 to 5 years. The analysts who, instead, see the web analytics platform as primarily a data collection tool, and who are then actually working with the data through some flavor of the tool’s API — be it working with Google Analytics data via BigQuery, or be it using R or Python or (maybe) Tableau to pull data — are the analysts of the future, I think.
Q: What’s the latest analytics method/process/tool set that you have implemented and what advice would you give others?
Tim: For me, it’s a tool, and that tool is R. This relates to the last question, and my advice would be, “start getting data in a way that you can pull higher volumes of more detailed data and then script ways to iterate on that data.” That’s not data crunching for the sake of crunching, but, rather, because it starts to really open up bringing in actual statistics to our processes, and it opens up efficiently bringing in data from other environments.
Q: What do you wish you could tell your five-years-ago self about this industry?
Tim: You will never be able to win with social media analytics. Run like hell when someone comes asking for the ROI of their Facebook investment. 🙂
Q: Sneak preview: Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your talk at the eMetrics Summit.
Tim: My hope is that the attendees will take away that they need to give serious consideration to finding time — on a steady basis — over the next 6 to 12 months to start developing skills with R (or Python), because that’s an investment that will pay enormous dividends down the road for them.