You likely already know how important creativity is when it comes to digital marketing.
However, coming up with great ideas – be that through content or ads – is only part of the story when it comes to driving results online.
Another significant factor that will amplify your marketing efforts is the collection and leveraging of data.
In other words, to truly succeed with your digital marketing campaigns, you must utilize the best of the machine and human worlds.
But perhaps you’re not a data kind of person, which is where hiring an analytics company comes into play – an option you may already be considering.
Before you make this important decision, equip yourself with the information we’ve outlined in this article so that you can make the best choice for your needs.
The 6 Characteristics That Make a Great Analytics Company
When choosing the right analytics company to work with, there are certain characteristics you need to take into consideration.
Not all agencies are built the same. It is safe to assume that most companies put their best foot forward for their clients, but there will always be variance in terms of what results you will get from each one.
Consider the following factors.
They offer a full suite of marketing services
You may already have your marketing strategy under control and may only need help to understand and leverage your data.
But how can a company help you leverage your data if they have no experience in what the data should be used for?
The point of data and analytics is to improve your decision making and inform your strategy. So, if you’re working with an agency to help you do so, they need to have some actual marketing chops.
Make sure that the agency you want to work with offers other services besides analytics. This is a good indicator that the insights they produce from your data will actually mean something.
They have a strong technology stack
It goes without saying, but if a company is promising to help you leverage data (technology), they will likely have the technology to do so.
At the very minimum, your analytics partner should have their own proprietary platform that will be used as the central point for your data.
But in the best case, the partners will leverage more advanced technologies, such as machine learning, that can help make better sense of the vast amount of data that you will have.
You will find that the best insights from your data come after the raw data is analyzed by a machine, and then made sense of by a human.
The quality of that initial analysis, however, will depend on the quality of the technology that your agency partner has built.
They have an all-star team
Making sense of your marketing data is no easy task. It requires breadth and depth of skills as well as experience, all working together in a harmonious way.
Make sure you check out the team on the about page and on LinkedIn, taking into consideration these factors:
Skills diversity – Making sense of data requires a symbiosis between the human and machine side of business. A good agency will have social scientists (or marketing experts), data scientists, and statisticians.
Years of experience – How long has the team been operating? What are their backgrounds? The more industries and businesses they’ve seen, the higher the chance their insights will be valuable.
Founders – The founders set the tone for the culture of the company. Try to find information on the background of the founder to get a better understanding of how they conduct their operations.
They have a strong roster of clients
One of the most objective ways to evaluate a company is to take a look at the clients they’ve worked with – and, most importantly, what results they’ve gotten for them.
Keep these things in mind:
Similar clients – If an agency mostly works with Fortune 100 clients and you’re a small startup, they probably won’t be a good fit. They likely will have their processes and expertise optimized for analyzing data at scale.
Transparent results – Can the analytics agency demonstrate the results they’ve gotten in the past?
Experience with your channels – It’s no use to you if the analytics company you want to work with specializes in advertising analytics and you have a content-focused strategy. Check to see if they have demonstratable results and insights into your specific channels.
They have a great communication style
If you’re a marketing leader or business owner, chances are you aren’t well trained in understanding and interpreting data.
In this case, the analytics company you work with has to be able to make sense of your data and also deliver it in a way that you can actually use.
To get an idea of this, take a look at how the company communicates with its audiences.
Blog posts – Is the agency creating content and educating their customers? Do they do so in a clear and simple, yet value-driven way?
Visualizations – Does the agency value data visualizations? Do they have any examples of how they visualize data in a user-friendly way?
They take a holistic approach to analytics
It is likely your business has a lot of data to work with. Oftentimes, insights come from unlikely places, such as comparisons between seemingly unrelated data sets.
To get the most out of your data, your analytics agency will need to map out and architect your entire data ecosystem.
They will need to consider aspects of your business such as:
Customer profiles – Your customers will have data points in common, such as demographic information, which can then be used to inform PPC targeting, for instance.
Marketing channels – Each marketing channel has its own set of data to be analyzed. Social media, for instance, has metrics such as engagement and likes, whereas email marketing focuses more on open rates and click-throughs.
Website analytics – Your website will have metrics that can inform on everything from design to marketing. Data points such as website dwell time, page conversions, and heat map analytics come into play here.
What To Expect From a Great Analytics Company
Each analytics company has their own unique process when working with clients.
The best analytics companies, however, will ensure their process is tailored to your specific needs.
They will also go to great lengths to ensure that you are kept in the loop as much as possible.
Here’s what you can expect when working with a great analytics company.
Onboarding and integration
At the beginning of your working relationship, your analytics partner should guide you through an onboarding process.
Great onboarding sets the stage for future success, as it creates a solid foundation for your working relationship.
Manage expectations – Both you and your analytics partner should clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of your relationship at the offset. Make sure you flesh out all the details, such as communication hours.
Integrations and set up – Depending on your marketing channels, there may be different assets your analytics partner may need to access, such as your Facebook Pixel. You will also need to be onboarded to their analytics platform.
Goal setting – If you haven’t already, you should have a strategy call with your partner and decide on a strategy and timeline for results.
Auditing of processes and assets
Before you start moving forward, the first thing your analytics partner should do is conduct an audit of your existing processes and data assets.
Depending on your company stage, it is likely that you already have existing data that could serve as a starting point.
Existing data across all channels – Your analytics agency partner will consolidate all of your data across all channels, bringing them into a single platform.
Setting up tracking – In some instances, you may not have been tracking certain things. For instance, if you did not have Google Analytics installed on your site, your partner will help you set this up.
Problem solving – You may have attempted to leverage data and analytics before with limited effect. This could have occurred through your own means or another partner. A complete analysis of your previous attempts would need to be conducted to figure out what went wrong and how to get better results in the future.
Setting up marketing channels
The best analytics company will be able to offer you additional marketing services such as PPC, content and SEO.
The reason for this is simple: to better understand how to interpret the data and inform your strategy, your agency needs to have actual experience executing a marketing strategy.
Elements of your marketing strategy that your analytics partner should help on include:
PPC – Performance advertising, such as Google or Facebook ads, requires a combination of analytics and creativity. Your partner will help you come up with winning ad ideas that are rooted in data.
SEO – Analyzing the best keywords to target, as well as writing great pieces of content to rank in search engines, similarly reflects the importance of a holistic analytics partner.
Data management and reporting
Once your marketing campaigns are in full swing – and the appropriate tracking tools are in place – the fun part begins.
Now is the time to take a look at all the data you have been collecting.
If your agency partner is worth their salt, you should be looking at this data through their own proprietary software.
How this data is organized, analyzed and communicated is where you will really begin to see the difference in quality between different analytic agencies.
Dashboard – When logging into your partner’s platform, you should be able to organize and navigate the different data sets for your marketing channels.
Analysis – Depending on the technology used, you may be able to get instant insight into what your data means, or even compare it to other data sets in your industry.
Visualization – A powerful way to understand data is when it is visualized. Charts, graphs and potentially even custom infographics should be provided by your partner.
Actionable Insights and Results
However, collecting raw data isn’t enough.
You need to make sense of that data so that it becomes useful.
Although your analytics partner may have sophisticated number-crunching technologies, there is still a need for a human to look over everything and create real insights.
At the end-stage of the process, your analytics partner will need to communicate to you the real meaning behind the numbers.
Storytelling – Together, you will need to figure out what the data is really telling you. It is easy to point out that one advert is performing better than the other, but why? How do you find the logic behind the data?
Strategy – Once you really understand the data, you will need to turn those insights into a strategy. You may realize, for instance, that your entire approach has been wrong, or that there is an opportunity for a new product offering.
Execution – Finally, you need to put your new data-driven strategy into action – either through your own team or with the help of your analytics partner.
The Top 3 Analytics Companies in The World
With so many service providers to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow them down and finally choose one to go with.
We’ve broken down the criteria that makes a great analytics company and combed through dozens of companies to find the best agencies today.
Each have their strengths and weaknesses, but regardless of whoever you choose to work with, you will be in good hands.
#1 NP Digital – The Best for Marketing Execution
NP Digital is a marketing and analytics company founded by Neil Patel, and it is arguably the most recognizable and influential figure in the digital marketing space.
The company was founded in 2017 and has over 44,000 followers on LinkedIn and over 100 employees. NP digital offers a full range of digital marketing services in addition to analytics.
Here’s what makes NP Digital one of the best analytic companies in 2020:
Founder expertise – Neil Patel is a rockstar in the digital marketing world, having started out in the space in 2001 as a teenager. The agency he founded has his fingerprints all over it, which means that you will be working with world class marketers and analysts.
Marketing execution – NP Digital doesn’t just help you make sense of your data. They offer a complete suite of marketing services, from PPC to SEO. As digital marketing is the foundation of their operations, you can expect great results when combined with their analytics services.
Great case studies – NP Digital often receives great reviews and has retained big clients as proof of their success. One client, for instance, has said that “NP Digital is one of the few consultant companies worth their fee”.
Press coverage – Neil Patel himself has been recognized by Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and the United Nations as one of the most influential marketers of our generation.
Education – NP Digital regularly produces educational content about all things digital marketing. This carries over to their customer relationships, where they position themselves as a teacher as opposed to just a partner.
Who should work with NP Digital?
If you need help with marketing execution in addition to data analytics, then you can’t go wrong with Neil Patel Digital.
The company was founded by one of the most reputable figures in the digital marketing world, so when you work with his agency, you’re tapping into his years of insight.
There is, of course, a cost to this, however, so Neil Patel Digital is best suited for clients with a larger marketing budget.
Some of their clients include companies such as Viacom, Facebook and even Google.
So, if you head up a marketing team at a large organization and need an end to end marketing and analytics partner, look into Neil Patel Digital.
#2 Artefact – The Best for Technology
Artefact describes themselves as “marketing engineers” and puts particular emphasis on the technology behind digital marketing.
In line with this identity, they have gone on to build a powerful suite of technologies, which they use to help their clients transform their data into business value.
Artefact’s works across the entire organization to leverage data, tapping into the entire value chain of operations, IT, and marketing.
Here’s what makes Artefact one of the best analytic companies in 2020:
Technology stack – Artefact utilizes some of the latest advances in AI and machine learning to create custom algorithms that help businesses accelerate data transformation and optimize their business processes. Known as their “AI Factory”, Artefact also works with cloud service providers like Azure to ensure they have a robust infrastructure.
Big, diverse team – Artefact lists over 1000 employees on LinkedIn, which are composed of data scientists, software engineers, and business consultants. This allows Artefact to solve a wide range of needs across different industries.
Solid case studies – Artefact has worked with clients such as FMCG to improve their digital processes. In this particular case, they received an “extremely positive response from [the] client, internal stakeholders, Amazon and even the industry and other vendors on Amazon NL”.
Who should work with Artefact:
If you are a part of a large organization that is undergoing a digital transformation, then you should strongly consider Artefact.
The approach and technologies that Artefact uses are also beneficial for organizations that have a lot of data that needs to be optimized across the board.
For instance, companies that need to optimize their manufacturing processes or who need to react to market information.
#3 Adverity – The Best for Small Businesses
In some cases, you may not want to work with an agency partner. Particularly for small businesses that don’t have large marketing budgets, analytics software can bridge the divide.
Adverity is a platform that allows you to collect all your marketing data into a single place. Their analytics tools allow you to break down silos in your organization and uncover new insights so that you can improve your decision making.
Although the Adverity team will help onboard you onto their platform, you won’t get the tailored and guided expertise that you would get from an agency such as NP Digital.
Here’s what makes Adverity one of the best analytic companies in 2020:
Cost – If you want to delve into the world of analytics but don’t have a significant budget, Adverity will have you covered (to an extent). Their pricing works on a custom quote which is influenced by your industry, the size of your business, and what data sources you want to tap into. Keep in mind however that you won’t be getting the expert guidance of an agency partner like NP Digital or Artefact.
Holistic data analysis – Adverity has one of the largest data connector libraries on the market. You will be able to connect all of your data sources including your CRM, backend database, website analytics, and advertising. They’re always adding new integrations, so if you have a specific need they may be able to customize that for you.
Great reviews – On the software review platform G2, Adverity currently has a 4.5/5 star rating, with over 100 reviews. The reviews reflect a variety of businesses and use cases – from marketing agencies to political scientists. One of the most common aspects that reviewers noted is how great the connectivity of the platform is.
Who should work with Adverity:
Adverity is best suited to small and medium-sized businesses who may not have the budget to work closely with an analytics partner.
Keep in mind that as you will not have expert guidance, your marketing team will have to figure out how to make sense of all of your data, which is no easy task.
If you leverage the research we’ve done for you in this article, you won’t have much trouble finding the right analytics company to work with.
Regardless of your choice, remember that the goal of analytics is to inform your marketing strategy.
But data alone won’t guarantee that your digital marketing strategy will be successful. It must always be paired with creative ideas and rigorous execution.
To ensure you can’t go wrong when picking an analytics partner, always keep the end goal of increasing conversions in mind.