Analytics is not only challenging for enterprises from a process perspective (from ensuring correct implementation to the required ongoing monitoring), but the data that is derived from an omnichannel digital presence can be dry, confusing and often, as a result, simply overwhelming to the majority of Web workers including those directly and indirectly responsible for 'Net success.
Most marketers and Web professional ultimately opt to stay away from analytics entirely and it is to the detriment of their promotional campaigns as well as the underlying business itself as a result. In the past, most have simply made a rather shallow virtual patchwork of data in order to convey to stakeholders and interested parties the key performance metrics of their initiatives, producing simplistic charts and basic diagrams via often difficult to manage and cumbersome spreadsheets to do so.
Over the past few years, however, data visualization tools have emerged to minimize this rather significant issue and optimize reporting for those that while interested in how websites and applications perform, do not have the time, energy or inclination to really dig into the data and deliver useful insights that could propel their respective companies forward.
Today there is an abundance of rather well-known tools that have emerged to make performance and conversion data (business intelligence) infinitely more meaningful via data visualization.
Solutions including Domo, Tableau, Chartio and Microsoft's Power BI (to name but a few) provide an incredible opportunity to efficiently and effectively query multiple data sources simultaneously, aggregating and processing information once inaccessible entirely (or at least somewhat difficult to pull together) and producing analytics reports that can be easily understood.
One of the more intriguing data visualizations tools to have emerged over the past year comes from Google. The company's Data Studio offering, introduced in March 2016, was initially part of the Google Analytics 360 Suite (the paid enterprise-level package) but is now available for free to all.
What's so appealing about Data Studio is that not only does it enable users to turn analytics data into information-rich, customizable data visualizations and collaborate with others within their organization, but Data Studio reports are dynamic so when there's an update at the data source, the new information shows up automatically. What's more, the solution also makes it possible to cleanse, combine, and essentially transform data without writing code or creating SQL queries.
Another capability of Data Studio, and arguably one of its most appealing, is its set of data connectors. The system makes it possible to not just import data from Google Analytics, but AdWords, YouTube as well as databases such as BigQuery, Google Cloud SQL, MySQL and PostgreSQL.
Most recently, Data Studio made available a connector for Search Console. This specific connector will make it possible to build reports that help track and analyze performance on Google Search (how search traffic changes over time, where traffic is coming from and what queries are driving traffic), and combine those reports with data from other sources (including Google Analytics and AdWords) to provide a more holistic view of an online presence.
Google's Data Studio, or any data visualization tool for that matter, will not provide any actual value if they are not used and integrated into enterprise reporting processes. As these systems become more accessible from a cost perspective and easier to use in general, now is the time to explore using them for your business.
Digital marketing executive with proven experience in all aspects of search engine optimization (SEO), performance-based advertising, consumer-generated/social media, email marketing, lead generation, Web design, usability, and analytics. - 20-year Internet marketing veteran, currently serving as the Digital Marketing Campaign Manager at Antenna Group (formerly Chicago Digital). - Former Editor-In-Chief of Website Magazine, and a regular speaker on Web technology digital marketing strategy - Author of several books on digital marketing Including Web 360: The Fundamentals of Web Success; Affiliate 360: The Fundamentals of Performance Marketing; Domains 360: The Fundamentals of Buying & Selling Domain Names, and SEO 360: The Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization.