How automated cross-channel data harmonization provides bespoke project delivery

The new digitally conscious consumer is always on. For performance marketers this is an opportunity to build even more sophisticated campaigns. Easy access to multiple digital touchpoints enables much deeper cross-channel insight. One of the challenges is harmonizing all the data in a way that enables flexible and advanced analytics.

netzeffekt, a digital agency for performance marketing, runs data-driven campaigns for their customers. Campaign performance analytics are made available to customers via granular dashboards.

Customers frequently required dashboards that show campaign performances from multiple channels, for example for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. However, dashboard tool restrictions on merging data were forcing the team to develop separate dashboards for each campaign channel. Calculating metrics across individual channel dashboards was messy, time-consuming, and error prone.

The Digital Analytics & BI team was working closely with IT. The team would define customer specification requirements but was dependent on IT to implement them. Harmonizing campaign data from multiple sources involved hard-coding the database in certain cases. They couldn’t achieve their goals due to data access rules and the limited data processing capabilities of their BI tools.

“We were able to produce performance dashboards for our customers, but our analysis options across channels were limited. Meeting our customer’s analytical requirements has been a tremendous amount of effort,” said Tanja Messmer, Director Digital Analytics & BI at netzeffekt.

The team needed a way to build a more flexible dataset on their own to provide their customers with cross-channel performance campaign dashboards.

Self-service analytics independent of IT

The KNIME solution enables the Digital Analytics & BI team to harmonize and enrich data. The team can now build flexible, multiple-channel datasets independently of IT efforts. As a low-code tool, KNIME was easy for the BI team to learn. Building workflows by drag and drop is intuitive and the self-documenting nature of each workflow facilitates easy sharing of work. Additionally, all standardized, repeatable operations are bundled into so-called components to plug and play.

Uniform harmonization of data

One application fetches the data automatically at 2 AM, combines the cross-channel sources, harmonizing, and enriching the data. When the BI team comes to work, the data is waiting for their analysis. KNIME has merged the data, taking care for example, that all rows and column headings are uniform. Instead of the team having to calculate the metrics from “Organic” in one channel and “organic” from another, KNIME ensures all metrics related to “Organic/organic” are combined in a single, consistently named location, providing the team with reliable, accurate data.

Bespoke project delivery

The new solution gives the team more time to invest on their analysis. The team can now manage the data and define their dashboards entirely according to customer wishes, free from the predefined settings of their BI tools. The dashboards are updated automatically with actual data and their customers can view it live. Any required changes to the underlying data can be implemented by the BI team themselves immediately.

“The ability to automate the complex process of harmonizing data from different channels enables us to deliver refined campaigns to our customers fast,” confirmed Messmer.

Greater trust in the data

The new solution means less miscommunication between requirements and actual implementation. With the ability to access and understand the underlying dataset, the BI team automatically spends less time worrying about the integrity of the data and can focus on gaining more insight from it. With this sophisticated data-driven insight, the team can adjust and improve campaign performance, e.g. shifting budget allocations to higher-performing channels or specific ads.

Why KNIME

Usability and price were the two convincing factors to opt for KNIME. netzeffekt wanted to enable their business analysts the flexibility to work with the BI tools of their choice and not need to purchase additional licenses for this or that tool. Universal connectivity through free access to 300+ data sources ensures their solution remains flexible in the future. KNIME provides integrations with all the relevant tools and environments.

“The open source solution allowed us to explore the tool without making an upfront investment. After achieving initial positive results, we made the decision to invest in KNIME Server to handle automation and job scheduling,” explains Tanja Messmer, Director Digital Analytics & BI, netzeffekt.

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