Benita Chacko

Data Dilemma: what to look at in the times of data abundance?

afaqs! spoke to experts from the industry to find out some of the key metrics that marketers can focus on when they are lost in the sea of data.

In a rapidly changing digital landscape, customers leave a trail wherever they go. Browsing through an e-commerce website, searching for the best running shoes online, adding products to their wishlist to buy later. All this is priceless data for marketers. However, it sometimes leads to an information overload, leaving them to search for a needle in a haystack.

The main challenge for marketers is – getting lost in the abundance of data. Where to start, what to search, is everything important, are questions to which they need answers. This highlights the need for AI and ML tools to help identify the key patterns and insights, which can then be a narrower set to focus on.

Global MMA and EY survey data in the new Data Maturity Framework that guides marketers through the industry’s evolving data challenges found that most organisations lack the processes and skills necessary to effectively gather, analyse and execute against consumer data which is in abundance. It revealed that although most companies have made significant progress in terms of compliance, they still struggle when it comes to breaking down internal silos, activating data and building the right skillset to drive ROI on their data investment.

Data Dilemma: what to look at in the times of data abundance?

Absence of third-party data is also a rising concern among marketers. An organisation can only have limited first-party data, and it will only have attributes related to one’s sector. Unless this data is leveraged properly to find look-alikes or merged with the third-party to get a better customer understanding and sketch, the gains will be limited.

“AI and ML are playing a phenomenal role in augmenting the value of the first party data. In the absence of third-party data, it is even important to strengthen the first-party data and fetch look-alikes at the back of the first-party data sketch,” says Moneka Khurana, country head and board member, MMA India.

Data Dilemma: what to look at in the times of data abundance?

According to the survey of MMA EY Leveraging Consumer Data for Marketing report, 71 per cent of the respondents relied on a blend of first-party and third-party data for marketing activities. It indicates that the merger of the first-party with the third-party data is the key. Hence the same therefore needs to be leveraged to bring out a blended benefit of first-party and third-party data.

afaqs! spoke to some experts from the industry to find out some of the key metrics that marketers can focus on when they are lost in the sea of data.

Moneka Khurana
Moneka Khurana

Moneka Khurana, country head and board member, MMA India

A few of the metrics to sift through the data include understanding the evolving data landscape and winning data strategies to drive better business outcomes and bring in customer experiences.

According to the MMA EY Leveraging Consumer Data for Marketing report, a majority of Indian organisations used a blend of first party (1P) and third party (3P) data for marketing and most marketers were increasing efforts to build 1P data. However, a majority believed that gaps in data breadth, depth and quality needed to be addressed to enable optimal use of data for decision making. Hence, the gaps in data breadth, depth and quality should be addressed and seen as the metrics to sift through abundance of data. The other being Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) reduction and therefore the ability of data to point you to look-alikes and high propensity customers.

Time-stamp matters. There is absolutely no point in knowing what a potential customer did two years back. Here and now targeting is the key, and hence recency matters.

Sahil Shah
Sahil Shah

Sahil Shah, Managing Partner, WATConsult

The worthwhile metrics depend on the brand’s objective. From a digital point of view, there are many matrices, but there are many objective-lead measurement practices also. For example, there are lead-gen campaigns, awareness campaigns, consideration campaigns, remarketing campaigns or engagement campaigns, follow-growth campaigns among many others. Also, it will differ on the brand's life cycle and the type of business, for example, a D2C brand versus a mom and pop shop.

There are two or three metrics that matter the most. If you're on social media, then the engagement rate on your content - paid or organic. Engagement doesn’t only mean like, share and comments, but also includes view time for the video replays, sales that people do or brand shares, etc. Marketers need to look at it from a weighted average engagement point of view. So, for example, if a food delivery aggregator has a piece of content where it wants more organic reach for the brand, then the highest weight should be on the number of shares for the content.

Second is about performance. Gone are the days when we're only tracking site visits or time spent on the website, or number of downloads. Now brands go beyond just the initial measures and take a deepened view of data. From an Android point of view, it's not just the first purchase, but brands, especially D2C, are looking at the life cycle value of that customer. D2C includes brands that sell all forms of digital products or services.

Dhruv Shah
Dhruv Shah

Dhruv Shah, VP - web strategy and organic search, Kinnect

Based on the kind of campaign and the product's overall journey, there are different metrics that I would recommend. For example, if it's a new website, from an organic perspective, one can keep an eye on the Crawl Rate along with the Conversion Rate instead of looking at the Organic Keyword Ranking as the website has just gone live and one can’t expect it to rank immediately.

We need to pick and choose the right data and create a dashboard based on the different stages we are on. Here are some of the metrics I would recommend.

  • Brand Search Volume / Trends - to see if people are recognising our brand due to the marketing activities.

  • Overall Sessions > Transactions > Revenue > Conversion Rate - Break this down into overall and channel-wise data to figure risks and opportunities.

  • For e-commerce websites - top website searches, top-selling products and overall inventory on top converting categories/products. These are the lowest hanging fruits and we need to meet consumer's demand.

  • Organic Keyword Ranking and Competitor Keyword Ranking

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