Self-Service Analytics: What the Trend Means for Today's Marketer

July 21, 2016 Katy De Leon

self-service analytics marketing

You can’t go very far these days without coming across another example of how companies are using big data to derive insights, solve business problems, and develop a competitive advantage. Of course the thing about big data is that there’s a lot of it.

Whether you’re getting it from your product, a third-party vendor, your own website, or any other source, wrangling that data so that you can extract value from it is no small feat.

Cue the data scientists, who at the moment are arguably some of the most sought after professionals on the planet. They’re the folks with the skills and expertise to take your data and unlock the insights hidden within it. Problem solved, right?

Well, not quite. Unfortunately, because data scientists are in such high demand, not only are they difficult to find (they’re often likened to unicorns), they’re also expensive. And in most cases you don’t just need one data scientist so much as an entire data science team.

Self-Service Analytics to the Rescue

It’s for these and other reasons that over the past few years there’s been a steady uptick in the adoption of self-service analytics. You may be familiar with companies like Microsoft Power BI and Qlik, for example, which specialize in automating data visualization. Since numbers aren’t always easy to interpret, companies like these attempt to make the job easier by creating interactive visuals that are much easier to understand than raw numbers.

Although data visualizations are pretty cool, even with the best of them you still have to do a fair bit of work to figure out what story the graphs and charts are telling you. Fortunately for marketers, there’s an easier solution for automatically analyzing and interpreting some of the data we’re most interested in.

The Rise of Automated Web Analytics

As a marketer, you’re in the same boat as everyone else. You need data. In your case, it’s to help you understand your prospects and customers so that you can create more targeted, personalized campaigns and better customer experiences. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it won’t be long until data — and your ability to use it well — will make or break most marketers.

Although you’ve got access to data from a growing number of sources, the company website is often still your greatest treasure trove. It’s full of insights about who your prospects and customers are and what they are and aren’t doing on your site, among many other things. Of course to make use of that data you either need to spend hours trawling through Google Analytics or you need to hire someone else — like a web analyst — to do it for you. Either way, you’re either going to be investing a lot of your time or money.

The good news is that there are natural language reporting applications that provide an easy way to extract valuable insights from your Google Analytics data. Our product is Quill Engage.

Basically, it does many of the same things that a web analyst would do, only for free (or a small cost if you’re looking for extra functionality). Unlike some of the other solutions that I’ve mentioned, rather than data visualizations you are given narratives: actual text that tells you exactly what’s happening on your site. Quill Engage is a great tool because it takes all of the guesswork out of using Google Analytics.

When Will the Robots Take Over?

Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning have made it possible for everyone to start extracting meaningful insights from their data, even if their not a data scientist or a web analyst. That’s a good thing in my book because it makes data more accessible to the rest of us.

Having said that, if you’re a data scientist or a web analyst, no need to quit your day job. The examples of automation I’ve cited here are a great step forward to removing the mind-numbing tasks that eat up hours of your time every week and allow highly-skilled, talented people to focus on action rather than analysis.

And, honestly, I don’t mind letting the robots take over what they’re good at so we can focus on what we’re good at.

Try Quill Engage for free today and automatically receive natural language generated reports from your Google Analytics data.

Quill Engage

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