7 Data Analytics & Visualization Tools for Digital Platforms

Considering Data & Analytics as the most important factor when gaining insights from your marketing technologies.

First Things First

Business is not business done right without the proper data analytics and visualization tools to guide your decision making.

Lacking the right measurements to track your endeavors and progress leads to less informed decisions and missed opportunities.

And there's nothing businesses regret more than missing out on a lucrative opportunity.

Below, we're going to outline 7 data analytics and organizational tools you can take advantage of to propel your business forward — all while remaining scalable.

Privacy and GDPR

Servers with the text

Before diving into things, it's important that we mention consumer privacy and data security. This includes how the data is going to be collected, preserved, and utilized.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the way in which businesses garner personal consumer data. This regulation applies to all companies and consumers conducting business in or living in the EU (European Union).

Felix Sebastian of Termly adds:

"The GDPR applies to US businesses, regardless of their size in terms of revenue or staff, if at least one of the following two conditions are met:

1. The company offers good or services (even in the absence of commercial transactions) to EU/EEA residents.

2. The company monitors the behavior of users inside the EU/EEA."

Commonly collected personal data protected by GDPR compliance includes name, email address, home address, device information (IP address, model of phone), photos, age, birthday, etc.

Consumers have more accessibility to see what data of theirs is being used and how it's being applied.

They can even go so far as to contact the company to see what data they've gathered. Individuals may request companies to remove certain data or request they stop using it for marketing promotions.

Of course, the cooperation you receive from the company will vary depending on the GDPR requirements they’re bound by. As some companies, in defense, may withhold that they do not have to disclose such information.

And in some cases, they may be right if they're a smaller firm.

"GDPR compliance requirements vary depending on the characteristics of the company. For instance, businesses with fewer than 250 employees do not need to maintain a record of their data-processing activities." — Felix Sebastian, Termly

User Experience

Ensuring that your customers can traverse your site with ease is vital for keeping retention rates high and bounce rates low.

Knowing where your customers are becoming frustrated, confused, and overall unsatisfied puts you ahead of the game.

This is where implementing Fullstory's innovative "Session Replay" features take charge.

1. Fullstory - Session Replay

One of Fullstory's frequently used company logos

To put it short, Fullstory answers the long-running question of "what kind of activity is happening on my site and how are my users interacting with it?".

Fullstory's Session Replay allows you to see where your customers are experiencing difficulties, running into obstacles, and indications as to when they're considering leaving the site (or app).

It essentially recreates a given user's time spent on your website by piecing together the HTML, CSS, Javascript and other important assets that build what customers see and interact with on the site.

Sounds like a great way to improve user experience, right?

Some of its powerful and beneficial features include:

  • Captures user's experience on your site; including mouse movement, where they initially navigate to, what they find interesting to read first, where they click, the extent of user scrolling, and more.
  • Allows admins to take note of what works well, what features are not working out well, and which aren't getting enough attention. This includes interaction errors, i.e. bugs, encountered by customers.
  • Gives a more thorough insight into as to where, when, and why users experience frustration.
  • Excludes the capturing of private data such as passwords, IP Addresses, and other personal data.
  • Understand where your customers are failing to convert and what you can do to optimize conversions and better reinforce your Call To Action ("CTA").
  • Provide higher level of customer service by being able to see exactly what the customer means by common feedback like "it's not working" or "I keep running into the same problem".
  • Fullstory adheres to GDPR compliance and proudly expresses privacy as being of utmost importance.

2. Heatmaps - Hotjar Hotjar's heatmaps capturing user activity and displaying it as hot or cold thermal energy

Similar to Fullstory's Session Replay, Hotjar's Heatmaps summarizes a unique perspective of your users' experiences on your website or app.

Heatmaps quite literally uses a "heat map" — think thermal energy here — that indicates the more popular segments of your page with hotter red shading and less popular segments with cooler blue shading.

This gives your team a distinguishing perspective towards how your visitors are interacting with your page's intended value.

Heatmaps shines a light on the assets of your site/app that are receiving the most attention, those that are on the uprise, and those that could use some refining to better improve user experience.

Clearly see down to the percentage how many users are traversing the scope of your page.

Here are just a few activities Heatmaps tracks and questions it aims to answer:

  • Click map - examine where your users are clicking on the page.
  • Move map - monitor where your desktop users are navigating their mouse to.
  • Scroll map - displays the extent to which a user scrolls down a page.
  • Why aren't my users converting and where can I optimize conversions on my site?
  • Will renovating my website prove to be more user-friendly and engaging?
  • Is my landing page unappealing? Is it affecting the amount of incoming traffic I'm receiving now compared to last month?

In addition to Heatmaps, Hotjar offers 6 other unique tools upon signing up:

  • Recordings: Capture what real users are experiencing, tag recordings to describe the problem occurring, take notes, share recordings, filter recordings, hide keystrokes/text
  • Conversion Funnels: Take note of where users are failing to convert, and where exactly they're bouncing off your site. Watch recordings of drop-offs.
  • Form Analysis: Uncover which of your site's forms are being left blank, take too long to complete, and why users depart from your form or page.
  • Incoming feedback: Allows your visitors to leave immediate visual feedback along with a brief description of the issues they faced.
  • Feedback Polls: Develop custom polls that can be targeted at specific users on your site/app. Multiple question types, adjust when the poll should appear, etc.
  • Surveys: Construct your own surveys, receive responses in real-time across any device, distribute the surveys via web links, email, or nudge your visitors before they leave to discover their complaints or problems.

Meaningful Data Analyses: Data Organization & Presentation

3. Tableau An assortment of Tableau graphs and other data analytics and visualization tools

When it comes to sifting through data and making it presentable and sensible, Tableau takes the cake for meaningful data analysis and data configuration.

Tableau is among the finest data visualization tools on the market.

It offers an amazing array of different angles for picturing and analyzing your data in refreshing ways, all while allowing you to scale your business.

I like to put it this way; it's where simply seeing data meets extensive understanding and value of data.

Experiment with data by dragging and dropping it to unveil new trends and previously unseen outliers. Confused on what you want to see or create? Use normal language in the query to quickly go from question to answer.

With the help of Tableau, you're able to reshape your data into a medium that creates interactive visualizations for your team.

Sharing your data and dashboards can be easily done through Tableau online.

So your team can inspect the data, formulate questions and find answers to their own questions. Everyone can access data and dashboards, opening the door for intuitive discoveries in a reliable and secure atmosphere.

Furthermore, your data can be easily connected to spreadsheets, big data, data warehouses, and cloud data for your convenience.

The avenues you can go down with Tableau to better optimize your data are virtually endless; and so are its organizational and analytical benefits.

4. Remarketing - Google Ads A diagram of how Google Remarketing works and functions as a digital analytics tool

If you're dabbling with Google Ads, it's imperative that you're aware of the importance of its retargeting features.

There's nothing more disappointing than seeing a user who's already visited your page never fully convert through the funnel. Enticing these types of customers takes knowledgable insights, strategy, and patience.

So, why might a visitor fail to fully convert?

  • Lost internet connection during checkout
  • Decided against buying the product — not the right time
  • Got distracted and had to abandon session
  • Functionality was broken on the website
  • Found a competitor with a better deal and smoother UI

Retarget visitors who have already come to your site through the following methods:

  • Standard Remarketing: Your ads are presented to previous users who are browsing websites and apps on the Display Network.
  • Dynamic Remarketing: Bring the process full-circle by showing customers ads of products/services they previously viewed on your website or app.
  • Remarketing Lists for Search Ads: Show ads of your product/services in Google search, as customers look for what they need with similar search queries after leaving your website or app.
  • Video Remarketing: Put your ads in front of previous guests who've either seen your videos on your website/apps, or have been to your YouTube channel. Ads can also be presented to users in the Display Network as they browse videos, sites, and apps.
  • Customer List Remarketing: Using the contact information your customers have shared with you, create customer lists. When they're signed in with Google, ads can be shown to them throughout various Google products.

Taking advantage of these remarketing tactics can greatly improve your buyer retention rates and can dramatically increase sales if implemented properly.

Be mindful of and optimize the factors that comprise Ad Quality — Landing Page Experience, Ad Relevancy and Expected CTR.

Facebook Pixel Analytics & Tag Management Platforms

Stay well-informed and organized, keep up with maintenance, and hold the upper edge against competition with tools like Facebook Pixel and Tag Management platforms.

Let's dive into how these assets can help efficiently allocate your time, money and available resources.

5. Facebook Pixel Animated graphic of the Facebook Pixel with animated people

Defined by Facebook, the Pixel is:

"A piece of code for your website that lets you measure, optimize and build audiences for your ad campaigns."

Understanding this is important for realizing its maximum potential for your Facebook ads and audience comprehension. So what happens with the Pixel?

Let's say a customer browses through Facebook, stumbles upon one of your ads, decides to click on it and fulfills a CTA.

This CTA is dependent on your ad's goal; it could be to get a customer to sign up for something, to get them to purchase your product, etc. On your end, the Pixel will inform you of the action taken and what Facebook ad triggered it.

Curious to see the performance differences of your ads between mobile, tablet and desktop devices?

With the Pixel, you're able to analyze how your ads are performing across various devices and how they impact conversions.

As more customers fulfill your CTAs and the Pixel generates more reports, it becomes a smarter piece of technology.

Its reliability strengthens and begins to better acquaint itself with the types of users interacting with your ads. In return, your ads start to be shown to qualifying individuals more likely to fulfill your CTA.

Maintain and customize your own custom audiences from those who have already come to your website. Target them with dynamic ads, which are directed toward visitors who've already been to your site and have viewed a product/service.

Then, they will see a similar product/service as a means of reminding them where they left off!

Lastly, use the Pixel dashboard frequently to see a nice overview of your Facebook ads with insights regarding how your audience utilizes your website.

6. Google Tag Manager The blue, rhombus-shaped Google Tag Manager logo

Is the marketing team allocating too much time micro-managing your domain's tags?

Is it becoming a hassle managing the context of individual tags?

More likely than not, your company is occupied with undertaking the day-to-day operations of your business.

Smaller aspects, like tediously managing numerous tags, hinder you from making optimal use of your team's time and skills.

Not only that, but having multiple domain tags on your website plays a significant role in decreasing the speed and performance of your website.

And with speed and performance weighing on your website's search engine results page ranking, keeping domain tags to a minimum on your website a sure-bet strategy.

Look no further, this is where Google Tag Manager (GTM) comes into play — it's tag management solutions made easy.

Websites should be developed in a manner that allow the sending of valuable insights to the website owner(s).

This is fulfilled through applying tags to the website. Using multiple tags on your website is common, thus it tends to become difficult to oversee all of your tags in an organized and cohesive manner.

One of the biggest conveniences is the "container" in which all of your website tags are stored.

You'll start by creating a new GTM Container. Next, copy the tracking code for your tags (Google Analytics, Google Ads, Hotjar, Facebook Pixel, etc.) into this container.

From there, you'll simply just add the GTM Container ID to your website and leaving the execution of your tracking tags to happen within GTM.

Then, you are able to set rules for when you'd like each tag to fire and where on your website.

For example, a Google Analytics tag should fire on all pages of your website to analyze overall performance. Other tags, like Google Ads, may be assigned to fire on specific pages to monitor key conversions, like a confirmation order page for example.

So, what are some of the advantages of GTM?

  • Significantly decreased page load times due to condensed tag code.
  • Much of the work is drag-and-drop, user-friendly interface.
  • Eliminates reliance on developers → saves time and money.
  • Collaborate with your team to reaffirm tag optimization and performance.
  • Enhanced flexibility; add, modify, and delete tags whenever you want.
  • Smart error-checking technology and easy to understand diagnostic messages alleviate unnecessary worrying.
  • Allows the inclusion of custom tags, and support the use of all third-party tags.

7. Adobe Experience Platform

Adobe Experience Platform logo with white logo color and red background

Similarly, Adobe has their own tag management platform with an array of features comparable and arguably more versatile.

Although a newer tag management system, Experience Platform has several interesting integrations that make it a worthy adversary of GTM.

First, if any of your content lives inside Adobe Experience Cloud ("AEC"), integrating Launch will feel seamless and more comfortable than opting for GTM.

Experience platform is free to use with a valid Adobe Analytics contract or with other AEC products.

Offering a variety of ways to simplify tag management, Adobe's platform allows your team to focus less on tedious details and more on profitable plans.

Check out the following qualities and benefits of using Adobe Experience Platform:

  • Utilizes rule-based systems to flexibly trigger tag actions as described by yourself; These integrations — called extensions — can be easily accessed, modified, and maintained by your devs.
  • Harness the advantage of advanced control by constituting what makes up a tag, giving you more control over individual parts, such as fire event & fire page view.
  • Prompt multiple tags and technologies simultaneously rather than customizing distinct rules for each part.
  • Properly assign access to the corresponding person, and allow efficient execution of work through separate accounts — no need to worry about unwanted or accidental changes.
  • One, cohesive view of all your data being collected, whether on web or mobile apps → enhanced control over your data & easier to share.
  • Users can upload and download new extensions via the Extension Marketplace. Simply share and download new templates that suit your optimization needs.

Hopefully by reviewing these tools, making smart and swift decisions will feel easier than ever before.

Keep on top of competitors by having concise, insightful, and organized results that allow you to drive more action and ease your team's mind.

Finding which tools will benefit your business's needs most will allow you to take advantage of the new revenue generating opportunities made possible through their application.