Say what you will about robots taking over our jobs, it's hard to deny that machines have helped us humans to do our jobs faster and better than we ever could have imagined possible.
Take marketing, for example. Isn't it mind-blowing that, with sufficiently deep pockets, I could get millions of people on Facebook to see an advertisement I'd just created half an hour ago?
It's something we take for granted today, but I bet even "The Father of Advertising", David Ogilvy, would have given an arm and a leg to get that kind of near-instantaneous reach.
With that in mind, Singapore-based startup Nugit is betting that technology can help marketers to make better sense of the deluge of data that they face everyday. What it does is to take data from platforms such as Facebook, Google Analytics, Yahoo, and so on, and "turn them into easy-to-digest reports that clients can make decisions on," explains David Sanderson, CEO and founder of Nugit.
Their aim: "to humanize every aspect of the data experience and empower people with clear and relevant insights."
From data to report
On Nugit, the time-saving process of turning data into beautiful reports involves the use of artificial intelligence and natural language generation technology.
First and foremost, Nugit's AI technology "powers data cleaning, integration, and harmonization of data sources in real time." According to David, this step alone typically takes up 70 to 80% of analysts' time:
"It combines data from over 20 different data platforms and potentially thousands of accounts, identifies similar metrics which may be named differently across platforms and combines them automatically, thus removing the need for manual data wrangling."
Then, Nugit's natural language generation technology kicks in, automatically identifying the most important insights and trends, and providing intelligent captions for charts.
The end-result: decision-ready reports in the form of various visualisations, such as PowerPoint presentations or infographics. From here, analysts can go on to edit and enhance reports with additional insights via the interactive report builder interface.
"All the groundwork is done automatically in a highly efficient and scalable manner, allowing you to decide on your strategies based on the insights provided," adds David.
Having raised US$5.2 million in funding last October, I was curious to know how far Nugit has come since. Happily, David notes that they are "doing great." Currently, they manage over 146,000 connected ad accounts for over 500 brands, across 34 countries.
One reason why they have so many ad accounts under their care might be because their tool is highly scalable for enterprises. "Our single largest account uses 8500 different accounts from platforms such as Google, Adobe Analytics, Facebook, and DoubleClick," David says.
Clients, he explains, "appreciate how much reporting time Nugit saves them [...] it enables them to stay on top of their data nimbly and provide quality insights for their clients, efficiently."
As an example, David recounts how Nugit enabled a team to "generate their regular 37 reports in just one day, a task that used to take a little over a week, with different components handled by a team of four."
"The time saved allowed them to focus on optimizing the campaigns for better performance."
Not surprisingly, Nugit's team has been growing exponentially to keep up with the demand, doubling in size to 32 employees in the last year. "Nugsters" hail from 14 countries across the globe, making up an eclectic mix of data scientists, designers, sales, strategists, and storytellers.
In fact, David shares that they are still looking to grow the team further - in particular, keeping an eye out for "smart folk who share our passion for data storytelling."
While their technology is impressive, David emphasizes that what differentiates them from others is not just the tool, but the service they provide.
"One of the biggest areas of feedback we receive from customers is how great our service is - they say it's a differentiator," he explains. "Even though we're a technology company, we are really just people dealing with people."
The tech industry, David adds, is "way too technical." He reiterates Nugit's main goal, which is to "make data more accessible and manageable for everyday users."
The future of marketing analytics
Of course, this doesn't mean that technology will be disregarded entirely. Bringing data to life through engaging visualisations and presentations, David says, is "a key part of what makes us the leader in data storytelling."
Engineers in Nugit, for example, will get "to build out an SDK and other services using ReactJS, Flux, and other new technologies."
When asked about what he thinks the future of marketing analytics will look like, David believes strongly that it will get easier, "with more and more marketers being able to do the analytics themselves, as opposed to relying heavily on data scientists."
Before that happens, "data management will mirror the evolution of today's consumer technology." He elaborates:
"We went from typing in command lines to touchscreens and swiping, so humans could get what they needed, faster. Instant gratification is key. Consumers are now spoilt for choice as they enjoy an unprecedented level of personalisation. This in turn will result in higher expectations when it comes to brand interaction."
"And Nugit wants to be part of that change," he concludes.
As a marketer, I can't wait for that future to arrive.
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