What is your favorite blog?
The Scott Adam’s Blog (creator of the comic strip Dilbert). I’ve been reading him for years and his pieces challenge current thinking and stimulate new and interesting ideas. Some of his posts have literally hundreds of comments which can be even more interesting to read than the original blog entry. The guy is super smart and is always able to articulate the strengths of both sides of an issue and then challenges the readers to come up with something better. In a way, it’s a great non-analytics blog for analytics pros to see how information can be best presented in order to have the greatest impact.
How is big data impacting your daily job?
Big data is my daily job! My goal is to pull out compelling insights from the over $5 billion in marketer spend on digital advertising that runs through the Kenshoo platform which includes hundreds of billions of clicks, impressions, and conversions. Big data was always just a buzz word and never really intimidated me until I started working in it every day. One of the biggest realizations I’ve had about big data is that I used to think computers could just “do anything.” Many people assume that their organizations can handle big data but they just don’t comprehend what that really means and what it takes to be “big data ready”.
What analytics tools do you find most useful?
The most useful analytics tools are the ones that help you focus on the insights you need and then take you beyond what you think you need. That may sound like a blanket statement, but after working with so many data tools over the years, it’s clear that many tools are good at going wide but not deep. To go beyond the surface level insights, it always seems like you have to push the envelope yourself and pull the vendor along. The best tools take you deep and let you mine insights that you just can’t get to with other platforms.
What analytics myth is the most common?
The biggest analytics myth is perpetuated by non-analytics professionals who think that their analytics team can find a single “golden nugget of insight” that will solve every problem. The idea that one chart, one table, one graph, etc. could somehow explain everything is a myth. Analytics is a practice, not a document. It needs to be an ongoing program that is a key input into decision making even if it seems to go against the grain and challenges the current thought process.
What is the greatest challenge facing the industry?
With regards to analytics in the digital marketing industry, the biggest challenge is still measurement. Last ad attribution is easy and objective, but everyone agrees it’s not accurate. However, multi-touch attribution is not easy and requires a bit of a leap of faith in a subjective methodology. In most instances, attribution is a bit tough to get unless you’re a math geek and we only represent 1% of the industry. The other 99% need to feel good about it too or we’ll never be able to move in the right direction. I think the next chapter in this issue is actionability because once non-analytics pros can easily get insights and positive results from better measurement, then all marketers will be able to embrace this change.
What is the greatest opportunity facing the industry?
Digital analytics is a virtually an open field right now. There’s always an opportunity for someone to leap ahead and break new ground. That’s what’s exciting about this relatively new discipline because as the world becomes increasingly more digital, there’s going to be a bigger need for smart people to mine the data.