[White Paper] Interconnections via API: Improving the performance of digital analytics

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Discover our white paper "Interconnections via API" or how to improve the performance of digital analytics.

Text of [White Paper] Interconnections via API: Improving the performance of digital analytics

  • Interconnections via API:improving the performance of digital analyticsby Marion Joffre, Product Marketing Managerand Bernard Segarra, Editorial CommunicationsOnline Intelligence SolutionsW H I TE P A P ER
  • 22SummaryINTRODUCTION3The API:a promising data exchange template 4How can connecting differentplatforms help digital analytics? 8CONCLUSION13AT INTERNET / WHITE PAPER / Interconnections via API
  • 3IntroductionNowadays digital marketing must include the new uses andtrends of the fixed and mobile Internet: the social networkboom, the rise of web and mobile applications, onlinecommerce (e-commerce, m-commerce, f-commerce),Smart TV, gamification, the Internet of things etc. Thesedifferent phenomena are completely changing the way inwhich we use the Internet and the way in which we interactwith brands.Data is becoming an essential element, making the linkbetween user/brand interaction to provide users withan increasingly targeted, relevant and personalisedexperience. Data is becoming a competitive advantage byproviding companies with better knowledge and a betterunderstanding of their market, and will also have an effecton the companys overall performance. Data is no longer aluxury but a true necessity for survival.If we consider data as being a central element, it willcreate an environment whose existence will revolve aroundthe data. This environment is known as a digital ecosystem.A digital ecosystem can be defined as an environmentwhich is made up of multiple items that continuallyinteract with one another. For marketers, the goal is toidentify market trends, view their audiences behaviour,identify new opportunities and communicate with users aspersonally as possible.The challenge is rather about synchronising all of the dataso that it can be put into perspective, analysing the linkbetween cause and effect, and establishing correlations.The aim is to take a reliable piece of information from theabundance of data available which can then be used tomake appropriate decisions. With this is mind, a digitalanalytics project can help companies rise to this challengeby playing a more or less central role within the digitalecosystem.API (Application Programming Interface) technology makesit possible to programme the different systems within acompany so that they communicate with each anotherautomatically. This fast-growing communication channel isstarting to become integrated into web analytics and looksset to vastly improve the performance of digital audienceanalyses.The aim of this white paper is to deal with the mainchallenges associated with interconnections and tounderstand the potential of using APIs in digital analyticsprojects.AT INTERNET / WHITE PAPER / Interconnections via APIThe challengeis rather aboutsynchronisingall of the data sothat it can be putinto perspective,analysing thelink betweencause and effect,and establishingcorrelations.
  • 4The API: a promising dataexchange templateGoal: synchronising dataCompanies have to accept one of the most complex andcomplicated challenges out there: to be increasinglyeffective, proactive and personal when communicatingwith each of their clients. Nevertheless, companies arestill confronted with another problem: size. The lack ofhomogeneity of the different internal environments withina company means that information is not shared correctly,and as a result affects the smooth running of exchanges.To make things more complicated, the number of contactpoints with brands both in the online world and in the realworld have increased dramatically over the last few years.The digital world has experienced a dramatic increase andcompanies nowadays are required to consider the onlineworld as part of their strategy and operations. As a result,we demand marketing teams to be very versatile, and usea wide range of marketing levers which makes reportingincreasingly difficult, and also reveals problems associatedwith making budget-related decisions for the differentmarketing channels used.Lets take the example of television. For many yearsmarketers understood and mastered TV advertising as theaudience was spread out over a small number of channels.Advertising costs were, of course, prohibitive and for somechannels this is still the case today, but companies wereguaranteed the positive impact that this advertising wouldhave on sales. Today, the introduction of satellite television,digital terrestrial television, pay as you go and replaychannels etc., have seen the same audience be distributedover many more different channels, making it more difficultto predict audience needs.Potential customers can now view brands on a wider rangeof media than just the traditional media such as TV, radioand newspapers for which brand advertising is no longerexclusive. User/brand interaction has clearly becomeincreasingly complex. Some people will use a brandswebsite, maybe even the online store to find out consumeropinion on discussion forums, ask questions directly onthe companys blog, keep up to date with the companyslatest information on social networks etc. Other people,however, prefer to contact the customer service directly bytelephone, fill in a request for contact form or go directly tothe shop etc.AT INTERNET / WHITE PAPER / Interconnections via APIPotential customerscan now view brandson a wider range ofmedia than just thetraditional mediasuch as TV, radioand newspapersfor which brandadvertising is nolonger exclusive.
  • Lets not forget the different technological channels usedin the process! Tablets, mobile applications, Smart TVs,the Internet of things all represent the different channelswhich online operations have to be adapted to. In a certainway, the customer takes control of what they are exposedto, meaning that they have become increasingly volatileand are not as easy to influence as before.From a brand perspective, these exchanges are more oftenthan not separate from one another as they rely on theuse of different management tools (email campaign tools,CMS, CRM, hotline management software, cash registersoftware in shops) which are management by differentdepartments (marketing, sales, supply chain, customerservice client etc.). With such a wide range of toolsavailable, information providing details on the differentinteractions with users starts to get lost, preventing thebrand from implementing any automated actions accordingto a set of engaging criteria.According to the 2012 Brite/Nyama Marketing inTransition study 36% of marketers in the USA know thatthey have lots of customer data but dont know what todo with it.http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/null/2012-BRITE-NYAMA-Marketing-ROI Study?exclusive=filemgr.download&file_id=7310697&showthumb=05AT INTERNET / WHITE PAPER / Interconnections via APISales history Call center E-Commerce Real time Maintenanceand repairsEmail Saleforces SupportCompetitorweb contentRefunds andrebatesCredit rating RelatedaccountsLocation Purchases Demographics AccountspayableExistingcustomerExistingcustomerPotentialcustomerPotentialcustomer
  • 6The large increase in the number of data sourcesavailable today has forced companies to implement datasynchronisation solutions, whilst taking into considerationthe diversity of the different environments and differenttechnological platforms used.Popularisation of the APIAs we have just seen, it can be very difficult to make allof the different marketing tools communicate with oneanother, simply because they were not designed for thispurpose. Up until very recently a lot of effort had to bemade so that data could be shared.Today, however, this constraint is disappearing, little bylittle. The arrival of new man/machine exchange protocolsallows us to foresee connections which, not so long ago,were not possible on increasingly large volumes of data.The advantage of these new exchange protocols is that theyallow any tool to communicate with another irrespective oftheir technical structure and the language that they havebeen developed in.The term synchronisation is no longer used to refer todata duplication or data replication. The challenge ismuch greater as it requires a much smoother exchangeof information between the different systems in place.The aim is to optimise the flow of data and to improve theresponsiveness of those involved.This is where the idea of API becomes key, as it offers alevel of operability between software components which upuntil now had been unmatched. What exactly do we meanby APIs?An application programming interface (API) is a protocolintended to be used as an interface by software components tocommunicate with each other. An API may include specificationsfor routines, data structures, object classes and variables.Source : WikipediaNumerous economic models based on APIs exist includingfree, fee-paying, and limited models. After Ebay, Amazon,SalesForces, GoogleMaps, Facebook, Twitter, there werealmost 8,000 APIs in October 2012, in other words a 100%increase in the space of one year (source: FabelNovel,6reasons why APIs are Reshaping Your Business,November 2012).AT INTERNET / WHITE PAPER / Interconnections via APIThey allow any toolto communicatewith anotherirrespective of theirtechnical structureand the languagethat they have beendevelopedin.
  • 7The Gartner market research company predicts that 75%of Fortune 1000 companies will have an API in 2014 with anestimated 1 million APIs in 2017.It cannot be denied that the openings generated by theAPIs will greatly impact the different brands. Lets takethe example of Facebook and its Like button. Before2010 the button was only availa