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Companies are well aware of the need for digital transformation in a world where their customers are 'always online'.

Consumers are using computers, mobile devices and social platforms as integral parts of their day-to-day lives.

While technological advancements are empowering consumers, they are also creating new opportunities for businesses that can acquire and process the data from these activities and use the insights to drive decision making and action. 

But according to the Econsultancy and Adobe 2014 Digital Trends report, only 23% of marketers believe they have the marketing technology they need to be successful.

This highlights the need for organisations to replace their legacy systems with technology that positions them to capitalise on current and future opportunities.

The eighth edition of the Econsultancy Digital Analytics Buyer’s Guide, published earlier this month, contains introductory profiles of 16 leading vendors of analytics technology.

The vendors in the buyer’s guide range from specialist to general digital analytics solutions, with a focus on solutions that capture data, rather than bolt-on solutions for analysis.

The report also includes a digital analytics request for proposal template (RFP) and highlights the key trends in the evolving industry, which the rest of this blog post will be focused on.

Analytics embraces burgeoning data sources 

Previously known as the Web Analytics Buyer’s Guide, the latest iteration of the research has broadened its scope across the board.

A resource which focused solely on a narrow definition of web analytics and technology conceived to measure desktop traffic would have not been sufficient in a competitive environment where an average of 31% of web traffic comes from mobile devices.

Econsultancy Digital Analytics mobile traffic 

With the shift in digital activity creating opportunities for businesses across multiple platforms, the scope for the use of data measurement tools has expanded, as Neil Morgan, CMO of Socialbakers explains:

The demand for digital data measurement is increasing drastically. This, coupled with the fact that there is a growing amount of data and new methods for measuring data, has resulted in a high growth rate.

As more and more companies are increasing their marketing activities on digital and social, there is an ever-increasing demand for measuring and optimising their performance. Thus resulting in a higher demand for digital and social analytics vendors focused on the aggregation, measurement and optimisation of data.

Organisations are struggling to understand the mobile user

The wealth of data that can be derived from the mobile activities of consumers is continuing to increase at a staggering rate.

With mobile empowering consumers to engage in several digital activities at any time of day, there is a clear opportunity for businesses that are appropriately equipped.

According to Jamie Brighton, Strategic Marketing Manager at Adobe, businesses appear to be headed in that direction:

Mobile analytics is rapidly expanding and businesses want to know how mobile compares to the overall analytics market, how mobile is performing compared to the traditional PC Web.

Although spend on mobile analytics is increasing, this does not necessarily translate to a greater understanding of the mobile user.

The Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity report, published by Econsultancy in partnership with Adobe, shows that most organisations do not have a rich understanding of their mobile customer habits and preferences.

Econsultancy digital analytics mobile understanding Adobe report

Organisations that are able to maximise the mobile opportunity are those that have an understanding of the mobile user journey and how it fits into the context of the broader user experience.

Marketers not fully sold on the future potential of data

With the term 'big data' being thrown around for what feels like a lifetime, it is unsurprising that marketers could be sick of hearing and talking about it.

What is striking, however, is the lack of optimism surrounding its potential. When marketers were asked in recent research about the most exciting opportunity now and in five years' time, there was little difference between the two timeframes with regards to data.

Econsutancy digital analytics data optimism

While the big data trend may have been exasperating, its real world implications have the potential to be groundbreaking. The opportunities surrounding customer experience, multichannel campaign management and personalisation are predicated on using data as a foundational piece in business operations. 

While there are clear opportunities to use data for some of these things now, companies will be in a far better position to maximise their data in five years' time than they are now.

Companies struggle to measure social, but recognise its importance

As well as accounting for increased levels of traffic from mobile devices, organisations are also attempting to understand social activity.

This year’s Econsultancy/Responsys Marketing Budgets report shows a significant increase in businesses planning on increasing their investment in social listening / online reputation management.

However, this is against a backdrop where companies struggle to measure the ROI on social media investment.

While using some social media data and contextual understanding can provide valuable insight when manipulated skilfully, David Davidoff, Chief Revenue Officer at ClickTale, makes the point that the analytics strategy shouldn’t be about just the numbers:

One of the most critical areas is making sure that your analytics strategy includes both quantitative and qualitative solutions. It is no longer enough to have detailed numbers on traffic numbers, bounce rate and conversion rates. You need to understand, with full transparency, how is the online customer experience impacting on your business goals.

To find out more about the latest digital analytics trends, or to identify which issues need to be considered when shortlisting potential digital analytics vendors, download the Digital Analytics Buyer’s Guide

Bola Awoniyi

Published 9 June, 2014 by Bola Awoniyi @ Econsultancy

Bola Awoniyi is a Digital Consultant at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

23 more posts from this author

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