You Ask, I Answer: Favorite Marketing Data Tracking Tools

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You Ask, I Answer_ Favorite Marketing Data Tracking Tools

Magdalena asks, “What are your favorite tools to track data and which one are you using on daily basis?”

I’m a huge fan of source data, so whenever a practical API is available, I’ll use it.

  • For social media, I use Brand24 and Crowdtangle almost daily.
  • For owned digital, Google Analytics is my one source of truth.
  • For earned media, I use IBM Watson Discovery and GDELT, the BigQuery database that stores the back end feed of Google News.
  • For paid media, I use the APIs of individual ad platforms.
  • For search/SEO, I use AHREFS.

Almost all these platforms are data sources. That’s an important distinction; most of the analytics in these platforms doesn’t suit my needs. In my day to day work at Trust Insights, I do most of my analysis in R, MySQL, and Tableau today. For reporting, when practical I use Google Data Studio.

You Ask, I Answer: Favorite Marketing Data Tracking Tools

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In today’s episode, Magdalena asks, What are your favorite tools to track data? And which ones are you using on a daily basis? I am a huge fan of source data. So whenever API’s are available, I will use them. In fact, one of the criteria that I used to decide whether or not I wanted to work with a particular tool or vendor is what sort of data export Do they have Do they have the gold standard which is CSV, comma separated value files Do they have a JSON API that they have other forms of API’s, soap, XML, etc, do they have direct database access, where you can work directly with the back end. And the more data sources that a company has an the more that they are open and available to work with, the more likely it is I’m I’m going to use that tool because one of the things I found with a lot of marketing tools is that they are intended for the layperson marketer. And they are not intended for the the data driven marketer, the data driven marketer who would need to manipulate the data in ways that might not be foreseen by the vendor. And so that’s an important criteria. For me, I am a big fan of source data, like I said, so let’s take a look at some of the tools that I use on a daily basis. And on what data they supply. In terms of social media monitoring, I use brand 24, because it is relatively comprehensive, especially on the social networks less on on news and things and video because those are much more difficult API’s to parse. But it does a great job. And I can spit out into Excel, CSV formats and things and, and get data white Alba platform. This is the source platform I use when I make influencer graphs. Because I can

drop a keyword in pull the data from an event that’s occurring, something like that, and, and get a really good insights from software I wrote to process the data a second what they use a ton more so now than ever is crowd Tango, which is a piece of software that was an independent company once, and then Facebook bought them. And it is bar none. One of the best data sources for Facebook, for Instagram, four Twitter and for Reddit, they can can export data, again, spits out in very nice CSV format. It also has an API, the CSV format, is actually more robust than the API with the API is, is heavily throttled. But you can get data out of crowd tangle that frankly, you can’t

get anywhere else, including really good Instagram data

for owned media media that are your digital properties. Is there any other source than Google Analytics? Well, I’m sure that you know, for some companies there are, but for what I use, and for what I recommend for clients, Google Analytics is is the one source of truth for owned media properties owned digital properties, where you can slap a tracking code on them. As part of that, of course, Google Tag Manager and the entire Google Mark marketing platform is is the tools that I use to track data there for earned media tracking the news specifically, I love Watson discovery. Watson discovery has a rolling 60 day window of news articles that are automatically tags, sentiment, concepts, hierarchies, and thanks. So it does a really good job of categorizing the news and then you can go right into Watson discovery and query the database and ask very specific terms builds queries and stuff. So it is a fantastic platform pay very powerful and for the first thousand queries every month totally free. So if you are a an earned media relations or program professional, if you’re a PR professional, this is definitely a data source you should be using.

It has a learning curve to it. But once you get the hang of it, you will find that its ability to do really good analysis of data is fantastic. The other one I use is called g dealt G. Delta is

an actual nonprofit project powered by Google. And it provides you with a back end to Google’s database of all the major news events that Google News sees 300,000

stories day like yesterday, yesterday was the 12 when I’m recording this. So the yesterday 302,892

news stories, which is just a phenomenal amount of news, but because it has a sequel interface, you can actually query the database as a data scientist or as a as a data analyst and get exactly what you want out of it in ways that you can’t do with traditional Google News. And of course, you can then dump it to your own Google Cloud account, and then export it to your own database for further analysis. But it’s a fantastic source

for paid media. I, of course, use all of the different paid platforms like AdWords and stack adapted stuff, that they all have individual API’s and tools. And then for search and SEO, I use RF, the folks were kind enough to gift marketing over coffee with a a membership. So we’ve been aggressively using that to track and extract data, some fantastic tools,

good data export. So again, data export so important, all these platforms that use all these tools, they use arm my data sources that and I I can’t explain emphasize that enough. It’s an important distinction. Most of the analytics in these tools and these platforms, they don’t suit my needs, I am admittedly not a normal marketer, I’m not the average person just

trying to figure out what to put in, you know, this month’s slide deck that goes to the board. I am a data analyst, a data scientist in my day to day work at Trust Insights, I do most of my analysis of data and are the programming language, my sequel database and tablet, the visualization software. And then

for reporting, particularly for clients. When practical, I try to use Google Data Studio only because it’s, it’s is an easily supported cloud environment for for great reporting. But for me, for my criteria of what is a favorite tool, it has to have robust data export, and it has to be in common, it used to work with formats and the date has got to be good, the data has got to be clean, and good and reputable. And that’s that’s another important distinction is all these tools because you’re very, very close to raw data, or in cases like Big Query that is absolutely raw data, you can validate that what you’re getting is the real deal is the good stuff. Same with crowd Tango, for example, and brand 24, you’re getting the individual pieces of data that you then have to go and summarize. But because you’re getting the you’re getting the the raw data, you can also look at and go, okay, something’s right or not right in it. And that is an important criteria as well for someone like me, where I need to be able to look at the raw data itself and, and validate Yep, this is good, or Nope, this is not good. Something’s wrong when you have a tool that just kind of side summarizes everything in in any easy to read chart. Cool. But you can’t decompose that chart and look inside and go, Hmm, something here doesn’t pass the sniff test. So

great question. Magdalena. As always, please subscribe to the YouTube channel and the newsletter and I’ll talk to you soon. Take care

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


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