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Beyond Pretty Charts: 3 Must-Haves For Programmatic Analytics

We’re a visual culture, attracted to dynamic images and colors.  But unfortunately for those in the programmatic marketing world, we’ve allowed our captivation with sleek graphs to compromise the real need: instant, intuitive access to data.


Marketers tend to think about analytics as vibrant, yet static, visuals: rainbow-filled donut charts that make for visually pleasing PowerPoints of their marketing efforts. At the same time, however, there is an entire layer of insights underneath these static graphs -- drill-downs and pivots by gender, geography, device, or dozens of other demographic variables -- that could be more useful, if marketers could get their hands on them.

Data is both the fuel and exhaust of programmatic marketing. Each transaction carries more than 10 times the metadata of a stock trade, and on a busy day for the programmatic markets, there’s an estimated 600 billion transactions: 100 times more than the NYSE. Despite its size, there’s real benefit to be found by marketers in this tsunami of transactional data.

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Deepening Your Approach to Programmatic Data

To go beyond pretty charts, demand a deeper set of analytics capabilities from your organization and partners. Here are three must-haves for analytics capable of unlocking value in programmatic data:

Must-Have #1:  Point & Click

Can you access a campaign audience report yourself with a mouse click? Or do you need to make a detailed request to your data science team? Only rare marketing organizations teach everyone to program nights and weekends. The right analytics for your organization should be self-serve.  

Must-Have #2:  Pivot & Drill-Down

You’ve got the summary report showing the total views for a video campaign, but can you see which publishers were driving those views? What about identifying which combinations of publisher-audience segments were most effective?  

For many, the answer is likely no. This one-dimensional approach to analytics limits the value gained from your analytics, because the number of ways you might need to slice and dice your data is vast.

Analytic approaches that enable flexible cuts of data, through pivots and drill-downs, are essential because without them, marketers miss out on deeper layers of insights -- and increasingly, this is where the differentiation in performance lies.

Must-Have #3:  Fast & Fresh

Do you take coffee breaks waiting for your campaign reports to load? For programmatic analytics to be most effective, they should be fast and fresh. Fast means you can get to many cuts of the data quickly, pivoting on what’s important without a spiral gif ending up seared into your retina.  Fresh means you can catch a small problem -- a budget overrun or a tag error -- before it becomes a big problem.

Analytics are More than Meets the Eye

Charts are powerful, but they’re not the overall analytics picture. Data accessibility goes a level deeper: visual tools must quickly surface deeper cuts of recent and relevant data. To achieve this, marketers should evaluate their entire stack, not just the dashboard. There is more to programmatic analytics than meets the eye.

2 comments about "Beyond Pretty Charts: 3 Must-Haves For Programmatic Analytics".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, May 17, 2016 at 10:37 a.m.

    Wekk taken points, Mike. Too often we look only at the "big picture" stats and are unwilling to find out why things happened----which is hidden in the details. Sadly, this is true for linear TV as well as digital.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 17, 2016 at 12:36 p.m.

    I'm not doing so well on the typo front, today. Make that "Well taken points", Mike, not "Wekk taken points".

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