Let Marketers Focus on Campaigns—Not Advertising Analytics

Marketers aren't technologists and they aren't data scientists—let's get back to what we're here for.

The advertising industry is flush with talent—imaginative creators, analytical thinkers, ingenious problem solvers. These talented people have an intrinsic desire to do great work. They are often charismatic, inspiring and fueled by smart and curious thinking.

However, thanks to the ever-splintering fragmentation of the advertising ecosystem, these individuals and teams often end up taking on duties and tasks that don’t align with their interests or expertise. In order to survive in this ecosystem, they’ve been forced to become (for lack of a better word) “technologists.” They spend more and more of their precious time vetting the explosion of technology tools at their disposal and then navigating the massive sets of advertising analytics as a result.

Let me take a moment to illustrate.

I was recently on the phone with an agency that employs 15 people and invests around one million dollars per year in digital advertising. When discussing its current technology stack, the agency owner listed 13 different technology partners off the top of her head. These technologies touched each part of her advertising business—ad management, ad buying, analytics, attribution reporting, etc.

The owner of the agency then went on to describe the current state of her agency’s analytics and reporting system. In short, the process for ingesting, organizing, cleaning, and visualizing advertising data depended heavily on manual processes and tribal knowledge.

I couldn’t help but recognize that the team members she hired for their marketing expertise were also responsible for the reporting process …. requiring them to spend the majority of their time managing mundane tasks outside the scope of their normal roles, yet critical to the success of the agency.

Wrangling data, harmonizing it across channels, organizing it in a way that makes sense to stakeholders, making it available for analysis, and ultimately compiling a digestible report is a massive undertaking—by the time one monthly report was out the door, it’s basically time for her team to start the next round. It’s a vicious cycle in which frequent, small tweaks to the process compound over time until the reporting process itself is so complicated and nuanced that it lacks any scale or efficiency.

Ultimately, this lack of reporting efficiency causes problems across the agency. In order to please their customers and continue securing advertising revenue they rely on an inefficient system heavily dependent on people to meet its reporting and advertising analytics goals. The complicated system is understood by a small number of individuals at the organization taking the majority of their time and energy. While it ultimately meets the needs of the organization’s customers, the path is littered with problems that might lead to data inaccuracy, false conclusions, or worse, burnt-out employees.

The agency owner and I went on to discuss potential improvements that are key to any advertising intelligence system—aligning business objectives with KPIs, systematizing the way the agency talked about strategy and media mix, locking in data normalization methodology, building analysis plans, etc. How, if her team could escape the “customization” that they feel chained to, would they drive more revenue for the agency? If they were alleviated from day-to-day “technologist” work, could they spend their time focusing on building relationships, delivering valuable insights and digesting data to make strategic and creative decisions?

So here’s where I shed light on how to fix an inefficient and cumbersome reporting process, and ultimately empower their team to be the marketers they were hired to be.

Shane Dowaliby

Shane is Lumenad’s VP of client services. He is a creative at heart that applies his out-of-the-box thinking to keep Lumenad on the cutting edge of the digital advertising industry. Before Lumenad, Shane was a video producer at Toy Soldier Productions and later served as the content production manager at Storm Mountain Media. He has a BA in Film & Photography from Montana State University.