In today's digital age, marketing has become increasingly data-driven. With so much information available, it can be overwhelming for marketers to make sense of it all and use it effectively to drive business growth. That's where marketing data tools come in. These robust software solutions are designed to help marketers collect, analyze, and act on data, giving them the insights they need to make informed decisions and optimize their campaigns. In this article, we'll explore some of the top marketing data tools available today and how they can help businesses succeed in the competitive world of digital marketing.
What are marketing analytics tools?
Marketing analytics is a broader category and has a wider range of tools than ETLs. In a nutshell, marketing analytics solutions are software platforms that help marketers understand how their marketing is performing, enabling them to manage and measure their campaigns. These tools allow marketers to improve their marketing efforts and prove the value that marketing brings to the business, i.e., their return on investment.
1. What do marketing analytics tools do?
Marketing analytics tools are crucial for businesses looking to understand how their marketing efforts are performing across all channels in their marketing mix. These marketing tools collect data from different sources and report on them holistically or through individual marketing channels. These analytics tools then provide marketers with a comprehensive view of their campaign performance.
With the help of marketing analytics tools, marketers can easily generate reports without relying on data scientists. The analytics tools enable marketers to track campaigns and perform competitive benchmark analysis, providing them with the insights they need to optimize their marketing efforts.
Some of the data that marketing analytics tools can capture are:
- Website analytics: This is one of the types of marketing analytics tools that provides data on web and landing pages. These analytics tools can track visitor behavior, empowering marketers to better understand how visitors interact with their brand and content online.
- Paid performance data: This includes marketing data on paid advertising campaigns, including pay-per-click campaigns, social media marketing campaigns, and display advertising campaigns.
- Customer purchase data: This includes data on customer transactions, such as what they bought, how much they spent, and when they made the purchase.
- Email marketing data: Email marketing data is another valuable source of information that marketing analytics tools work to capture. This encompasses data on email campaign performance, including open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
- Conversion rates: Marketing analytics tools can track how many website visitors take a desired action, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, or downloading something.
Marketing analytics tools can help you harness the power of some pretty amazing benefits, including:
- A personalized customer journey: Did you know that 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized? How do you know what your customers want? Data collection and analytics tools, of course. Marketing analytics tools provide information about how customers interact with your brand and social media and what they seek. These enable you to give them exactly what they’re looking for in the format they prefer and at the time and place that’s most convenient for them.
- Marketing data integration: Integrating marketing data can be complex as marketing teams often work on multiple campaigns across various platforms. It requires a high level of coordination and collaboration to effectively collect data from all these channels. A reliable marketing data integration tool can simplify the process by consolidating all your marketing data in one central location, enabling you to analyze it comprehensively.
- Improved cohort segmentation: Any marketer knows that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. Consumers just have too many different backgrounds, preferences, and personalities for one strategy or approach to be effective for them all. Cohort segmentation lets you break consumers into groups based on shared characteristics like age, behavior, and other demographics. When you divide consumers into these cohorts, it becomes much easier to develop targeted marketing strategies and tailor your offerings to each group’s unique needs and preferences.
- Better budgeting: The use of marketing analytics tools gives you a valuable opportunity to assess the effectiveness of your marketing strategies and understand how your budget is being spent. For example, if you have invested a significant portion of your budget in a specific marketing strategy, marketing analytics tools can reveal whether that strategy delivers the desired results. If not, you can stop wasting money on that strategy and divert the funds toward one that works.
As your strategies improve, you will collect higher-quality data to better your efforts and your ability to drive business. Consumers respond well to personalized marketing; with the right data, you can have highly effective personalized messaging.
Marketing analytics enables customer journey personalization
Each customer has their own journey before finally purchasing a product. Customer journeys have multiple touchpoints with your channels. Marketing analytics can provide information about how customers interact with your brand and social media and what they search for.
These insights enable you to provide customers with information at each stage of their journey. Once a purchase is made, you can continue mapping how customers interact with your content and message them accordingly to drive growth. Providing customers with this personalized information can help enhance their experience and satisfaction with your brand, potentially leading them to purchase more products/services from you or at least keep their existing business with you — something that can be a huge advantage, especially if your competitors aren’t doing this.
The best marketing analytics tools out there
If you’re looking for the best marketing analytics tools to optimize your marketing campaigns, these are some of the top choices that you should start leveraging today:
1. Web analytics tools
Web analytics is vital to growing your business and revenue growth. It helps you understand what visitors are doing on your website and how they interact with your content. You can use any web analytics tool to collect website data, but the most popular one is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is free and by far the most used web analytics tool. It enables you to understand your customer’s behavior, user experience, online content, device functionality, and more. With Google Analytics, you can gain valuable insights into your audience and their behavior, which helps you ensure your website and all online and offline marketing campaigns are aligned with what they’re looking for.
GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics. It lets users collect data from web and app sources separately or as a unified property. This new product is designed to eventually replace both Universal Analytics (UA) and GA360, which are scheduled to be phased out later this year.
With the insights you gain from Google Analytics, you’ll also want to combine it with one or more SEO tools to optimize your site and improve your search engine ranking. Some SEO tools you can check out are SEMrush, Ahrefs and Searchmetrics. And of course, use Google Search Console to understand how Google values your website in terms of SEO.
Besides GA, some other web analytics tools are:
- Adobe Analytics: Adobe's alternative to Google Analytics is a powerful platform and part of the Adobe Experience Cloud suite. It helps businesses and marketers gather, analyze, and visualize data about user behavior on websites, apps, and other digital platforms.
- Clicky: This platform provides real-time website analytics and insights. It offers a range of features, including website monitoring, heatmaps, conversion tracking, and split testing.
- Matomo Analytics: Matomo Analytics is one of the best marketing analytics tools for people looking for a free, open-source analytics platform that provides detailed insights into visitor behavior. It offers metrics such as page views, bounce rate, and user engagement, allowing businesses to analyze how users interact with their website or app.
2. Marketing automation tools
Marketing automation significantly helps with lead generation, segmentation, lead nurturing and scoring, relationship marketing, cross-sell and upsell retention, and ROI measurement. Also, most tools leverage data from a separate or integrated CRM to understand customer impact and preferences.
There are many marketing automation tools available, but some of the most popular include:
- Hubspot: Hubspot is one of the top marketing analytics tools with an impressive suite of automated data integrations, including lead generation, lead nurturing, email marketing, social media management, and the ability to store your data in one place.
- Marketo: Marketo is an Adobe analytics tool that creates, automates, and measures campaigns across channels through account insights and profiling that identify the right target accounts, automated emails to engage customers with relevant conversations in minutes, social integrations, Marketo Sales Insight to drive account and prospect intelligence to sales, and Marketo Sales Connect to coordinate sales and marketing.
- Pardot: Note: In April 2022, Pardot was renamed Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. Salesforce powers this marketing automation platform and its marketing analytics tools. Its ability to integrate data with Salesforce allows for better data synchronization, improved lead tracking, and more-effective sales and overall marketing alignment. Pardot also offers robust account-based marketing (ABM) capabilities, allowing businesses to target specific accounts with personalized messaging and content.
- Eloqua: Eloqua is Oracle’s B2B marketing automation solution. The data integration with Oracle allows for better data synchronization, improved lead tracking, and more effective sales and marketing alignment.
- Omnisend: Omnisend specializes in marketing automation for e-commerce companies. It is designed to integrate seamlessly with leading e-commerce platforms, including Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce. Some features that it provides to marketing platforms include cross-channel automation, workflow automation, and personalization and segmentation.
- ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign provides users with the ability to connect and integrate various channels used in their business, such as email marketing, social media, digital advertising, and website data. The platform also offers automation tools to segment contacts, personalize messages, schedule campaigns, and enhance customer experiences. ActiveCampaign integrates with more than 870 different applications, including CRM software, landing pages, content management systems like WordPress, and data integration tools, allowing for more comprehensive data tracking and management.
3. Social analytics tools
Social media analytics tracks, collects, and analyzes data from various social media accounts. Analyzing performance should be a breeze with the right tools in place for social media marketers. Most social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, have their own free in-platform analytics tools that help users track engagement. Other tools are available to help you collect performance data from every social network in one place.
Social media tools help you measure key metrics such as:
- Brand sentiment
- Share of voice/Mentions
Some of the most popular social media tools out there include:
- Hootsuite Analytics: Hootsuite is a handy marketing analytics tool that lets you keep your social data in one place. Some of its key offerings include boosting your follower count through reports that show you the best time and type of content to post, beating your competitors with reports that compare performance against your industry peers, identifying top-performing posts in seconds, and adjusting your strategy as needed.
- RivallQ: RivalIQ delivers on-demand analytical data, alerts, and custom reports from major social media platforms.
- Channelview Insights: This integration lets you analyze your YouTube video and channel performance alongside your other social media channels.
- Mentionlytics: Monitor and track mentions, keywords, and sentiment across multiple languages on social media platforms and other websites.
4. ETL platforms
What are ETL platforms?
ETL stands for extract, transform, and load and is part of a three-step data management process:
- Extract unstructured data from multiple sources
- Transform it into a business-ready format
- Load it to a target destination
ETLs play a crucial role in data analysis. They allow businesses to gather data from multiple sources and consolidate it into a single location. ETLs also make it possible for different types of data to work together or blend, so, for instance, your Facebook data can be used for analysis with your CRM data.
Many data-driven companies typically turn to an ETL tool, as it’s the first step in getting all business-essential data into one centralized repository. There are other ways to do this, and some tools may not fall into this category but do the same thing.
Here are the key steps that an ETL performs:
1. Extract your data
Most companies manage data from various sources and use data analysis tools to get marketing and business insights.
To unlock value from data and optimize marketing campaigns, you’ll need data to travel freely between your systems and tools. Before you can move data to a new destination, you must extract it from its source.
In this first step, structured and unstructured data are imported and consolidated into a single repository. You can extract raw data from a wide range of sources, including:
- Sales and marketing applications (e.g., Shopify, Facebook, Google Ads)
- Mobile devices and mobile apps
- CRM systems (e.g., Salesforce, HubSpot)
- Data storage platforms with your backend data
- Finance systems
- Analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics)
Although you can do this manually, hand-coded data extraction is time-intensive and prone to errors. ETL tools automate extraction and create a more efficient and reliable workflow.
2. Transform your data
You can apply various rules and logic to get your data in good shape and meet whichever reporting and analysis requirements you may have. With data transformation, here are the specific things one can do:
- Clean – fix any inconsistencies and missing values. For example, maybe campaign names were named differently on various platforms, and you want to clean this up and make it one consistent campaign name.
- Standardize – apply specific formatting rules to the data set. For example, this could be anything from using the same date format to standardizing how you name your markets, like the U.S. or the United States.
- Deduplicate – exclude redundant data.
- Verify – remove irrelevant or unusable data.
- Sort – organize your data and create groupings for you to analyze better, e.g., product groups.
Transformation is an essential part of an ETL. However, ETLs are increasingly becoming data loaders, where the typical data transformation occurs in the data warehouse.
3. Load your data
The last step is to send your data to a storage or data warehouse to start answering questions with your data using SQL. And you can prepare that data before sending it to your visualization tool.
The critical thing to note is that the data is nice and tidy but still in silos. So your Facebook data is cleaned and transformed, but you don’t have it unified yet with your Google Ads or Google Analytics data. You’ll need to do this step in a data warehouse.
ETLs are, therefore, just piping data through. And since data transformation is complex and requires specific skills, you’ll depend on a data analyst, engineer, or scientist to help out.
5. Data warehouses
What is a data warehouse, and why would you need one?
A data warehouse is a key marketing data management tool that provides a centralized system for BI and marketing teams to use for reporting and data analysis. The system collects and stores all the data from many sources and then transforms and organizes it into a format that’s optimized for analysis and reporting.
Some of the most significant benefits of having a data warehouse are:
- Helps you combine data from many sources. One of the primary benefits of a data warehouse is that it enables organizations to consolidate data from multiple sources into a single, unified view. This helps eliminate data silos and provides a holistic view of the organization’s data. This is especially important if your business uses multiple systems and applications because it enables them to combine all your marketing data to gain valuable insights.
- Reduces the load on an organization’s operational systems: By consolidating data into a separate system that’s optimized for analysis and reporting, you’ll reduce the load on your operational systems, which will lead to optimized performance.
- Keeps track of historical data: Historical data lets you analyze trends over time, such as sales or customer behavior. By storing historical data, data warehouses enable businesses to identify patterns and trends that would otherwise be hard to see.
Generally speaking, data warehouses help improve access to information, speed up query-response times, and allow businesses to fetch insights from big data. In essence, data warehouses provide a single source of truth, as you have one central place for company-wide data.
Before, companies had to invest a lot in infrastructure to build a data warehouse. Thanks to cloud technology, the cost of data warehousing is significantly less. Depending on company size and data needs, you may or may not need a data warehouse.
For more information about data warehousing for marketing data, read our piece explaining everything you need to know about marketing data warehouses.
Data warehouses are particularly handy for businesses looking to scale their operations and/or ones that manage huge volumes of big data. Today, there are cloud-based data warehousing tools that are fast and highly scalable. Here is a hand-picked list of some of the biggest players:
- Amazon Redshift
- Microsoft Azure
- Google BigQuery
6. Tools for data visualizations
1. What are data visualization tools?
Data visualization tools provide marketers, data scientists, and BI teams with an easier way to create visual representations of large data sets to draw insights from data and make decisions more quickly. When dealing with data sets that include hundreds of thousands or millions of data points, automating the data visualization process makes the job of whoever is in charge of marketing reporting and the dashboard significantly more manageable.
Example of a Looker Studio dashboard
You can use data visualization tools for various purposes: dashboards, annual reports, an overview of sales and marketing KPIs, investor slide decks, and any other use case where information needs to be understood immediately.
2. Why is data visualization important?
Data visualization is essential because of how our brains are wired and how we best take in and understand what someone presents to us. Imagine trying to draw quick decisions from sifting through numerous spreadsheets with a vast amount of complex data. With data visualization, you can convey a point you want to make more compellingly.
Data visualization can help you:
- Identify areas that need attention or improvement by highlighting trends, patterns, and outliers in your data. For example, a line chart showing sales trends over time can quickly reveal whether sales are increasing or decreasing and where there may be dips or spikes in performance.
- Understand which aspects are influencing customer behavior.
- Help you understand which products or campaigns are driving growth.
- Predict sales volumes and revenue.
Some of the best data visualization tools out there:
- Power BI
- Looker Studio
For a more detailed look at top visualization tools, read our dedicated blogpost about it.
7. A marketing data hub
Funnel is the leading marketing data hub designed to help marketing teams own their performance.
With Funnel, marketers can effortlessly connect data from any marketing platform, store and organize it, and share it with any data warehouse or visualization tool — all without the need for any coding. As a single source of truth for marketing performance, Funnel allows marketers to streamline their data management and make data-driven decisions with ease.
The benefits of a marketing data hub
When you count on a marketing data hub like Funnel, you'll reap the following benefits:
Connect all your marketing data in a single hub
Funnel is a powerful data collection platform that enables users to effortlessly gather data from over 230 marketing and sales platforms with just a few clicks. With its fast, reliable, maintenance-free, and robust solution, Funnel simplifies data collection and scaling across teams, regions, and brands. Funnel's platform allows for easy and seamless integration with multiple marketing platforms, enabling users to streamline their data collection and analysis.
Store your data in a hub you can trust
Funnel provides a centralized storehouse for all original data and custom fields created by users while meeting the highest standards for governance, security, and control. With Funnel, data is always up-to-date, complete, and accurate, so it's ready for reporting and analysis. Users can trust that their data is protected, organized, and easily accessible through Funnel's secure platform. Funnel's data management features allow users to optimize their data for analysis and decision-making.
Organize your data according to your needs
With prebuilt and custom rules, you can easily and automatically prepare your data for analysis. With Funnel's game-changing transformations, users can apply data transformations without affecting the underlying data, giving them unparalleled analytical flexibility.
Share anywhere effortlessly
Ensure your marketing data reaches any destination, reporting tool, or data warehouse. Users can connect their data to their reporting tools, build dashboards, conduct analyses, and more, all while maintaining complete control from the central marketing data hub.
Get your time back
We know how it is. Marketing may not even be your full-time job. Give yourself one less hat to wear when you use a marketing data hub to streamline your marketing efforts by enabling you to collect, transform, and stitch together data automatically. This will help you save tremendous time and effort otherwise spent on amassing information manually. You can then use that time on high-level and client-facing tasks to help grow your business even more while the marketing data hub goes to work automating your marketing campaigns and generating leads for your business.
Handle complex data without a hitch
Your marketing department and business have to handle vast amounts of data, both intricate and diverse. Multinational companies have data from numerous markets, campaigns, and products and will most likely want to map their customer acquisition costs and customer lifetime value.
If you’ve managed a range of dimensions and metrics, you may end up formatting data all day long. A data hub can help streamline your workflow by simplifying data cleaning and prep.
Kiss errors goodbye
Even if you’re meticulous by nature, you’re prone to making errors when handling data manually. And even a tiny misstep can have a domino effect. For example, enter the wrong currency conversion, sales figures, and commission rate, and your entire marketing report will be wrong.
A data hub automates essential steps in data processing, reducing manual intervention and the likelihood of errors occurring.
Gain one source of truth
Manually managing multiple data sets is heavy work, inefficient, and time-consuming. A data hub takes away the headache of a task by combining databases and different data types into a single, unified view.
The business outcome? A digital marketer can more easily analyze, visualize, and make sense of large data sets.
Keep historical context
You have the flexibility to combine legacy data with data collected from new platforms and applications. You can view older data alongside new data sets and gain a broader perspective.
Improve efficiency and productivity
A data hub automates the process of data collection, transformation, and migration. Instead of spending internal resources to get your development team to do this, they can focus their effort on corporate innovation.
Skyrocket your marketing intelligence and ROI
A data hub ensures that the data you get for analysis is high quality. Thanks to this, you can make better decisions and increase your marketing ROI.
Marketing analytics tools play a pivotal role in helping you streamline and optimize your marketing efforts through tools that work to collect, analyze, and interpret data. These analytics tools allow you to glean valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and market trends to continuously evolve your marketing strategies to meet needs and demand.