Automate and visualize marketing data with Looker and Improvado

Paul Hampton, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Sales at Improvado

May 28, 2020

In times of necessity, marketers may be asked to work with smaller budgets than they’re used to. While some can work through this challenge and continue making data-driven decisions, others may be left operating in silos of ad hoc reports and gut feelings. This may leave marketers wondering ‘How can I make data-driven marketing decisions if I don’t have a handle on all my data?’

In this article, we’ll share how marketers can get from silos and spreadsheets to data-driven decisions by automating and visualizing their marketing data with Looker + Improvado.

Step 1: Aggregate marketing data

The first step any marketer looking to get a better handle of their data should take is to centralize all their data in one place — and not just paid media data. By aggregating all types of marketing data, including organic social data, website analytics, email service providers, CRM tools, and other non-performance data, marketers can view their data holistically, across all channels.

To help marketers do this, Improvado has more than 180 out-of-the-box data connectors built specifically for the most common sources companies use as a part of their marketing operations. Improvado extracts data from various sources, standardizes it, and makes the data user-friendly so that analysts can focus on analyzing it for actionable insights, rather than spending the majority of their time cleaning it up. From there, users can choose to either query this standardized data directly from Improvado or move it into a data warehouse where the rest of their data lives.

Step 2: Standardize data definitions

Once your data sources have been plugged into Improvado, the next step is to address the heterogeneity of the incoming data. Because marketing data isn’t designed to be compared across channels and against other platforms, it’s important that data definitions are established for consistent and scalable analysis. For example, say a marketer wanted to compare dollars allocated to campaigns on both Facebook and Google Ads. In Facebook, this metric is defined as ‘spend’, but in Google Ads that same metric is defined as ‘cost.’ Without an organization-wide, standard definition for key metrics like these, analyzing this data together ends up being more difficult than it needs to be.

This is where Looker comes in. By defining your key metrics with LookML, Looker’s data modeling language, everyone can be sure that the metrics they’re analyzing are the same as those being used throughout the entire organization. So in the above example, while the Facebook and Google Ads terms don’t match between platforms, by defining “[cost/spend]” as one metric in LookML, data unions and more sophisticated comparisons across these platforms can be done.

Step 3: Visualize marketing performance across channels

Now that the marketing data is aggregated, centralized, and governed by standard definitions, visualizing marketing efforts and results across channels can lead to data-driven actions and decisions. For marketers operating on a fixed budget, having access to real-time data visualizations can be the difference between continuing to spend money on underperforming campaigns or doubling down on low cost-per-click (CPC) campaigns that add quality leads to the marketing funnel. Plus, by enabling continued automation of your data sources with Improvado and leveraging alerts and reports through Looker, you can take a lot of routine manual work off everyone’s plate, with Looker letting you know when something interesting happens that warrants your time and attention.

Make data-driven decisions with your marketing data

As a marketer, you want to be confident that the decisions you make are based on trusted, real-time data rather than gut feelings. By equipping your teams with the ability to analyze, test, and measure marketing performance across channels, you’ll be able to adjust to any industry, organizational, or departmental changes that may come your way and keep taking action with confidence — and with data.


Learn more about automating your marketing data pipeline with Improvado and real-time data visualizations for in-depth analysis with Looker.

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