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Betting on analytics for a 360 customer view: Key challenges of a multi-screen world

By Paul Muret, Vice President for Display, Video & Analytics

April 21, 2016 | 4 min read

Many of today’s digital marketers learned their craft in the desktop era. The assumption then was that consumers would visit their website and spend time browsing and researching products across multiple page views on their way to a purchase. Site design reflected this, with home pages offering a variety of promotions and category pages that were merchandised just like a store.

But mobile has changed everything for everyone. Consumer behaviour has shifted from sessions to spurts – the average website time per visit is declining, but the number of visits per user is increasing. Think about your own behaviour – you are more likely to look at a site and a product you are considering buying multiple times, and from different devices on the path to purchase.

This means that as a result, marketers are no longer dealing with a captive visitor. Instead, they have to deliver utility for consumers in brief moments of engagement. And often times many of these moments together – across multiple devices – add up to the final sale.

Marketers face four key challenges in adapting to a multi-screen world.

Firstly, they need a complete view of the customer journey – from when they first see an ad for a product on their phone, to when they search for it and click through to a retailer's site. They need this complete view to learn which marketing channels and messages are working, how they are working together, and how each interaction along the way has influenced the sale. To do this, marketers need complete, integrated data sets across all screens and channels. Currently 84 per cent of marketers don't believe their data sources are well integrated – and they’re right.

Secondly, they need useful insights – not just more data. They need answers to their questions, such as ‘which ads drive the most sales?’ or ‘which variation of my website do people respond to better?’. Tools are gathering tremendous amounts of information but failing to make it useful. 60 per cent of marketers believe that marketing analytics tools are too difficult to use because insights are buried deep in reporting features that are difficult to navigate, require expert training, and ultimately, fail to surface what’s important.

Thirdly, marketers want to share insights and collaborate with each other. Believe it or not, even in an era of Google Docs and Slack, it can still be hard for large organisations to share information. This slows down decision-making and results in missed opportunities to connect with consumers in valuable, intent-rich moments. We found 57 per cent of marketers believe it’s difficult to give their stakeholders in different functions access to their data and insights.

Finally, they want to create better experiences for their customers. If someone comes to your site because they're searching for running shoes and you show pairs of boots instead, that's not a great customer experience. Today, data in systems is siloed and custom integrations are laborious, time consuming and often doesn’t work well enough.

In a world full of data, it’s imperative for marketers to be able to draw insights and be able to act on them. This is why earlier this year we introduced Google Analytics 360 to address the challenges faced by marketers. As part of Advertising Week Europe, I spoke about how the complete customer view has become the marketer’s holy grail and I do believe that the discipline of analytics has provided us with the killer insight that focus on the user will lead to better results.

Paul Muret is vice president for display, video & analytics at Google, he spoke earlier today at Advertising Week Europe on the ITV Stage as part of the 'Organising the World's Marketing Information, by the Guru of Google Analytics' session.

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