How APIs Make Marketing Data Analysis and Reporting Infinitely Easier Ryan Gould August 2, 2018 Application programming interfaces are on the rise with B2B marketers. As far as data analysis and reporting is concerned, APIs are changing the game. Marketers are no longer required to crunch numbers, learn how to code, or even defer to experts in order to perform astounding analytical functions.APIs are especially becoming useful as today’s companies gather more and more data from consumers. Big data enables predictive analytics; meaning that you can analyze and try to predict what consumers will want before they even realize what they need.Case in point, Salesforce found that, by 2020, 57% of business buyers will depend on companies anticipating their needs. Otherwise, those wised-up consumers will have no trouble switching brands. The problem isn’t the data collection itself — it’s the analysis that gets challenging. Too much data quickly becomes a mountain that’s difficult to climb unless you have the proper equipment.APIs provide that equipment, as well as the means to collect data from a variety of sources simultaneously. That data can also be analyzed and acted upon with speed and precision. Here are just a few points to consider as we delve into the wonders of marketing data analysis using the power of APIs.Marketers Becoming More InvolvedMarketers used to pass technical projects to the their development teams, but now, it’s commonplace for them to adopt advanced tooling. With APIs becoming ubiquitous, tech adoption is simplified and also becomes more cost-effective.Only a few years ago, collecting and analyzing massive amounts of data would have been difficult and ridiculously expensive. Yet, such data must be analyzed or else collecting all that information would be useless, and your organization could risk falling behind.Instead of having to purchase multiple licenses to use the various analytics tools available, APIs allow you to utilize the functionality of those platforms without sacrificing quality, security, or familiarity. Once implemented, APIs allow anyone, from junior managers to CMOs, to easily understand the data being collected.APIs make cross-channel integrations a seamless affair, and many tedious tasks can be completely eliminated. With more data connections being developed every day, marketers can analyze the performance of their marketing campaigns, improve their team’s responsiveness, pinpoint issues, and capitalize on optimization opportunities as they occur.Also read: How APIs Have Transformed AdvertisingAll Data Under a Single RoofAPIs make big data more manageable. With a combination of APIs, you can track multiple marketing campaigns on one dashboard, all while keeping tabs on your data in real time. Native marketing integrations exhibit fewer errors and there’s no more logging into multiple reporting tools just to get an overview or update.Analyze Unstructured DataThe obsession with big data has caused some companies to mine value from an overwhelming amount of sources. The fact is, too much data can be a hazard if it’s not structured properly. Structured data comes from things like purchases, transactions, and sign ups. This type of data is easy to track and is typically organized in nice, neat rows and columns. Unstructured data, on the other hand, is variable and unidentifiable and difficult to analyze with conventional technologies.Unstructured data includes insights from social media posts, images, emails, and product reviews, to name a few. It’s not that straightforward to segment these elements into fixed categories due to their variability.There are now APIs available that allow this unstructured data to be understood and analyzed just as easily as structured data, which can be immensely valuable for marketers. Data that is unstructured tends to yield deeper insights, such as patterns and customer sentiment.For instance, APIs use NLP or machine-automated Natural Language Processing to understand “natural” language, thus making sense of the data by processing statements and categorizing them systematically.Another example are social posts which could be categorized as positive, negative, or neutral based on their sentiment. You could even identify the most common emotions expressed in support ticket messages or during sales calls.Related: 11+ Killer Open Data Sources and Free Visualization ToolsImage AnalyticsAI-powered image analytics APIs are available that allow you to listen in on more than mere text-based conversations. As social media continues to turn more visual, marketers should pay attention to what’s going on with the images that their target consumers are posting. “Listening” to images isn’t easy with conventional methods, but APIs can completely automate this process. Image analytics can identify and categorize faces, scenes, objects, logos, and even the actions that are taking place within the photo. As a marketer, this data could help you understand which products consumers are using and how they’re using them.Also check out: 4 eCommerce Industries That Hinge on API IntegrationAPIs Help Marketers Work SmarterIn the current climate of tech companies and privacy, most APIs don’t force you to give up your clients’ personal information. You can collect and review specific information about your target consumers in a single, unobstructed view. This helps keep your brand secure, compliant, and trustworthy.With easy-to-read reports and the ability to discern meaning from those reports, APIs help campaigns perform better by allowing marketers to rapidly respond to key issues while making all the right decisions. APIs can perform complex and custom calculations, and some can even provide impactful visualizations.With technology constantly advancing and machine-learning automating many tasks to scale, APIs are truly limitless in scope. High-volume data analysis is no longer something of science fiction. It’s here, and world-class organizations are putting it to good use right now. Is yours?