5 Must-Haves for Your Data and Analytics Toolbox

Here at The Brandon Agency, we’re huge believers in the business-boosting power of data. In fact, it’s our opinion that — in an age when enterprises can track, compile and evaluate market information more quickly and in greater depth than ever before — one of the biggest brand differentiators and a leading driver of sustained success in the modern business world can be seen in the way brands harness and utilize their data.

The marketplace certainly supports this position. Reflecting the critical nature of data collection and analysis in the digital age, there is an amazingly extensive list of tools available for collecting and analyzing business data, especially when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of brands’ websites. Indeed, there are so many tools available for this and similar purposes that it can be challenging to decide which ones to employ. But considering the stakes, the decisions should not be made lightly.

“It’s important to use tools that take raw data and turn it into meaningful insights so that businesses can use it for more effective decision-making,” said Mark Harrison, Optimization and Analytics Specialist at The Brandon Agency.

To help brands better gather and analyze their website-related data, Harrison has composed a list of what he considers to be the five most valuable tools in his data-gathering/analysis arsenal. So, without further ado, here are the five data collection- and analysis-oriented service and software offerings that made his final cut:

1. Google Analytics

The world’s most popular and robust web-analytics platform, Google Analytics offers a range of website-traffic tracking and reporting services to its users — and many of them are available free of charge. The platform can be used to track valuable website-related data such as the pages users visit, their session durations, pages per session and individual pages’ bounce rates, in addition to providing details on where a website’s traffic is coming from. Other powerful platform capabilities include measurement of campaign traffic, goal implementation and tracking, audience reports, visualization of website visitors’ navigational pathways, and a range of custom-reporting options.

No matter what industry a business resides in, Google Analytics can deliver valuable and actionable insights regarding how consumers are engaging with a brand’s website and its content, along with what website tactics are proving effective and ineffective with visitors.

2. Google Data Studio

Once a business has collected a set of Google Analytics data it would like to evaluate and dig deeper into, the free Google Data Studio tool enables a broad range of visualization options, including the ability to create interactive dashboards and customized, easily shareable reports. The Data Studio platform delivers a much more robust version of the Google Analytics dashboard, increasing the number of widgets that can be incorporated into a single dashboard from 12 to an unlimited number in a single page or report. Other key benefits provided by Google Data Studio include improved reporting and analysis via calculated metrics, and a number of built-in (and customizable) design themes that can ramp up the visual appeal of reports. Other benefits include easy sharing and viewing of reports among a number of users, consolidation of a broad range of data from a number of varying sources such as Google Analytics, Google Ads and Google Search Console with Data Studio’s “Partner Connectors” feature, and an abundance of filtering capabilities that can be applied to individual charts or entire reports.

3. Tableau

With a focus on business intelligence and analytics, Tableau is a popular, AI-driven data-visualization platform that was acquired by Salesforce in 2019. Because this acquisition led to integrations with the widely used Salesforce platform, it made Tableau even more attractive to businesses that utilize Salesforce to manage customer relationships and coordinate the activities of their sales, commerce, marketing, service and IT teams.
Tableau, with a stated mission of helping users better “see and understand data,” gathers information from wide-ranging sources such as spreadsheets, databases and analytical processing cube models to create graphical data visualizations in a broad array of formats. Just a few of the formatting options available through the Tableau platform include bar charts, line charts, pie charts, histograms, treemaps, density maps, scatter plots, Gantt charts and bubble charts. Some of the many benefits brands can leverage using Tableau are AI-powered predictions and insights, intelligent pre-analysis data prep, intuitive data analysis and exploration, and easy sharing and collaboration across teams, departments and entire enterprises.

4. Microsoft Excel

A long-utilized tool for storing, organizing, analyzing and sharing data in a tabular format, the spreadsheet is an indispensable part of the analyst’s toolkit — and Microsoft Excel is a longtime leader in the table- and cell-based computer application. (Google Sheets is another spreadsheet offering that has seen a big rise in popularity in recent years, largely thanks to it being free and web-based for easy team sharing, no matter where team members may be.) With either application, users can easily share, edit, analyze and collaborate on data with colleagues, all of which are critical capabilities for data analysts.

5. Microsoft Power BI

A leading platform for cloud-based business-intelligence and -analytics services, Microsoft Power BI makes it simple for users to create reports and dashboards that deliver interactive data visualizations for enhanced self-service analytics. Using the advanced tool, businesses can enable a data-driven work environment that helps team members discover the powerful insights often buried in their data. Among the data warehouse capabilities that Power BI can deliver for brands that leverage it are interactive dashboards, data preparation and data discovery.

Could your brand use the help of a team of seasoned marketing professionals to ramp up its website analytics … and, in turn, elevate its marketplace and consumer knowledge? At The Brandon Agency, our team of certified brand strategists and data-driven marketing experts has a wealth of experience gathering and analyzing brands’ website-based data — and turning this critical info into powerful, business-boosting insights. To get started with help ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost the performance of all of your marketing campaigns, contact us today.


Nick McNeill

Interactive Director

Nick uses his talents in computer science and graphic design to grow the online presence of brands such as Santee Cooper, Southern Tide, frogg toggs, Farmers Telephone Cooperative and Blue Force Gear. A serial marathon runner, his steely determination shines through every brand he grows. As lead user interface designer of the GuestDesk software suite for online hotel reservations, he watched it explode from $1 million in reservations to over $400 million annually.

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