The Difference Between Data and Analytics

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What is the distinct difference data and analytics?

Opher Kahane
Opher Kahane

Today, the insights received from data and analytics by marketers and brands is essential to performance. On the surface, data and analytics allow a company to see how its products, themes and locations are being received by consumers. But beyond that, data and analytics have the power to guide a company's direction, campaigns and innovations.

Yet, is there a difference between data and analytics? How do brand's perceive data versus analytics? DMN spoke with some of the leading organizations in the field to determine the best way to analyze the distinction and position of these two hot-button marketing words.

Opher Kahane, CEO at Origami Logic

“We view data as all of the marketing signals brands receive as a result of activities they are executing. Brands receive thousands – if not millions – of marketing signals each day when somebody likes a social message, clicks on a banner, opens an email, visits a website, etc.

“Making sure there is consistent, broad and deep collection of these raw marketing signals across all different channels is now a critical component to any successful data science effort. However, much like crude oil, the data generated by these signals gains incredible value when it is refined.

“Effective marketing analytics – the process and computations that turn data into actionable insights – depend on the refinement, integration and organization of data. As marketing organizations embrace data science models, data and analytics need to go hand-in-hand.”

Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson, vice president of marketing at DataSift

“Data is the information, including facts and statistics, an organization can access from various sources - web sites, social networks, blogs, news sources, connected devices, the list goes on. On the other hand, analytics is the process of making sense of this unstructured raw data and translating it into actionable insights. There's little value in simply having data if you can't turn it into something meaningful for your business.

“The data should be there to serve a purpose and deliver answers for businesses - the way to do this is with analytics. Analyzing data can reveal a wealth of insights for businesses and enable them to make more informed, intelligent decisions. The combination of data and analytics allows organizations to create more successful campaigns, much more relevant content for target audiences, and enables them to identify new audiences that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

“At DataSift, we leverage billions of data points created daily across numerous data sources to bridge the gap between data and analytics. Our partners and customers are then able to gather actionable insights from the anonymous and aggregated human-generated data to derive meaningful conclusions."

Katrin Ribant, chief solutions officer at Datorama

“Think of data as a raw material, like crude oil, that requires processing or refining to turn it into something that can be put to use, like gasoline. Though there's been much noise about Big Data in recent years, the reality is that in of itself, data is virtually worthless — insights are only as good as the data they're created from and raw data is "dirty.

“Although analytics is thought of as a way to visualize what's going on in a marketing organization via pretty pie charts, that is merely scratching the surface of what's possible. Analytics really should be thought of as a way to bubble up insights to the surface so a business user can take action on information that was previously unknown and undiscoverable — humans can only do so much with our respective brain power. We're working on new ways to accomplish this by applying artificial intelligence.

“Today, marketing professionals are being hit with an onslaught of data sources as their marketing technology stack is ever-increasing. Each piece of technology in the stack produces its own set of data — as in statistics — relative to the marketing programs they're executing upon. Although the marketing department has access to plenty of information it is of zero value until it is made sense of. This requires a single source of truth where a MarTech stack's source systems can be converged. Once the marketing team's data is integrated, analytics can be applied not only to visualize the latest happenings but also better manage and optimize marketing campaigns.

“If a marketer can better understand the behavior of segment "x" and the exact incentive that will trigger a purchase, a cutting-edge professional can optimize their respective campaign on the fly and better meet modern customer expectations.”

Michael Dub, partner at DX Agency

In the world of internet marketing, data is fuel for analytics.  They go together, with analytics being a step higher on the ladder of meaning.  Data, millions of points and thousands of lines of information that touch on anything from geography to preferences to IP addresses, is mined for analytics like Open Rate, Site Traffic, Traffic Sources, etc.

Data and analytics exist on a continuum from information to understanding, and the goal in collecting and interpreting both is to derive deeper knowledge about your brand, your consumers and their behavior.  The trick is not to lose sight of the question you're trying to answer, and not to confuse amassing data with divining meaning.

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