What Marketers Can Learn From the ‘Quantified Self’ Movement
Until very recently, marketers had to rely heavily on their instincts or ad hoc metrics cobbled together on their own to justify ad spend. It's historically been a challenge to demonstrate real value delivered by investment in various channels, which made board presentations awkward. Real-time digital analytics have infiltrated other aspects of life, inspiring movements like quantified self, in which people use self-monitoring technology (often wearable sensors) to gather health data like heart rate, food intake, exercise and other inputs and apply it to improve personal performance and wellness. Basically, the idea is to gather and analyze data to use for continuous improvement.
Today's app marketers are starting to take a page from digital transparency trends like quantified self, moving towards real-time data analytics that track and measure every campaign, ensuring that their efforts are results driven and finding a way to easily translate complicated data for the rest of the company. People have been gathering and analyzing data for years, of course, but technology is making it faster and easier to keep track of a variety of inputs and use analytics to drive decision-making. Call it the quantified self movement of advertising.
In the advertising era portrayed in the hit television period drama "Mad Men," ad executive Don Draper and his colleagues come up with catchy taglines and develop and launch campaign strategies over pitchers of martinis, but they don't spend much time measuring return on investment. They lacked the technology to track performance across multiple media channels. In the "Mad Men" era, people typically didn't spend much time monitoring their personal health data either or wondering if they were getting enough vitamins in their meat-and-potatoes diets. And they certainly didn't have Fitbit wristbands and tracking apps to ensure they were getting sufficient exercise.
Things are different today — more mobile focused and data driven. Not only can people track their health data to continuously improve personal performance, marketers can keep tabs on mobile campaigns and make adjustments on the fly to maximize ROI. In the quantified self movement of advertising, marketers can analyze multiple streams of data in a single dashboard to instantly see which promotions are driving traffic and allocate resources accordingly. Mobile tools make it easier to track and optimize campaigns and keep tabs on app installations.