Performance Marketing

How to Combine BI Tools and Real-time Data to Give Your Partner Marketing an Edge

Connor Sliva

In the performance marketing industry, real-time data can mean the difference between a successful partnership and a lost opportunity. Yet too many brands still pair business intelligence tools with delayed or incomplete data, hindering their optimization efforts at best — and completely derailing them at worst.  

In this post, we’ll explain why real-time data is a must-have for performance marketers in 2022, how TUNE Firehose addresses this need, and how customers use our solution to combine streaming data with business tools to make truly intelligent decisions. 

Business Intelligence Is Booming 

The emergence of business intelligence (BI) tools, big data, and data scientists in modern business have allowed brands to bring various departments together to see and understand their data. Just in the last 10 years, amazing strides have been made to better collect, clean, store, and display various data sets. Delegating these tasks to specialized tools and services has allowed brands to remain agile, where previously this was not possible. 

Marketers especially stand to benefit from BI tools that enable them to make data-driven decisions in high-stakes situations — for example, when optimizing and scaling million-dollar campaigns. Previously, this data was stuck in silos and distributed into multiple interfaces for consumption. This left too many marketers with gaps in their data, and no choice but to make ill-informed decisions (or their best guess) with only data assumptions to guide them. 

A Unique Opportunity in Partner Marketing 

Throughout the past five years, traditional media buys have become saturated and increasingly competitive. As a result, more businesses have been discovering partner marketing as an effective new channel for growth.  

Unfortunately, brands looking to add data-driven methodologies to their partner programs have seen limited innovation from the traditional affiliate network model. In this model, each network dictates its own data sharing and collection policies. These policies often limit the level of granularity provided to customers and make real-time access to data difficult. And since they have the final say on who actually “owns” the data, it’s not uncommon to see networks hide or aggregate data from brands and use it for their own gain.  

While most marketing channels have data sharing and analysis tools built in (think Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.), the partner marketing channel has lagged. Marketing dashboards usually have limited data integrity for this channel. Brands now expect real-time data across their marketing mix; lacking it here is a limiting factor in true optimization of this profitable channel. 

TUNE’s Real-time Data Solution 

Today, all the traditional affiliate networks in the industry simply provide an API call for pulling data out of their platforms. Brands that want to access this data have had to use costly development resources to build and run extract, transform, load (ETL) scripts, which pull data out of one system and convert it for analysis and storage in another.  

The problem with this one-way approach is that it can only provide a historical view, as you are basically running a script that pulls data at a set cadence (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.). Pinging a network’s API more frequently can quickly increase server costs, which is why many brands settle for once-a-day API calls in exchange for lower server bills. This process requires constant monitoring and makes it nearly impossible to get real-time data access. 

In 2016, we took a look at how TUNE customers were using our industry-known two-way API. What we found was hundreds of customers running ETL scripts non-stop, 365 days a year. We knew there had to be a more efficient approach, so we did what we normally do when confronted with a challenge: We innovated. 

Enter TUNE Firehose, our proprietary data streaming platform, where customers can enable TUNE to automatically push every impression, click, conversion, and adjustment directly to a customer-owned database, in real time. Firehose makes it possible for TUNE to essentially create a carbon copy of every data field and event collected for this channel and deliver it to your business intelligence solution as it occurs. No waiting for results, no incomplete datasets from your growing partner marketing channel. 

TUNE Firehose Use Cases 

Firehose has been a pivotal feature for TUNE customers over the last five years. In that time, we’ve seen them employ this data streaming technology for a variety of use cases. 

After moving to Firehose, brands on TUNE can receive every data field from every impression, click, and conversion in real time. This results in more accurate insights into the channel, and no lag between digital activities and reporting reflection. 

While some brands may use Firehose for simple data warehousing and dashboarding, other customers are using this data stream to enable real-time optimization and automation. These use cases include deploying artificial intelligence to look for anomalies and automatically making changes to campaigns in real-time. 

Because the TUNE platform provides more than 90 data fields on every impression, click, and conversion, other customers choose to use this data to monitor each partner and sub-partner to power automated fraud detection and dig further into this channel than ever before. 

In Conclusion 

Traditionally, brands in the partner marketing space have had to piece together limited data and access to their network’s reporting API, resulting in delayed results in internal reporting and incomplete data models. But modern marketers don’t want their data to be held hostage; they want to quickly and easily access more datapoints than ever.   

To do that, they need a partner marketing platform that complements their BI strategy just like TUNE does. Every TUNE customer owns 100% of their data on our platform, and we don’t hide, limit, use, or aggregate this data for our own gain. Instead, we provide solutions like Firehose to empower marketers to access their data in real time and use it to the fullest of their capabilities in business intelligence tools, custom integrated solutions, and their owned and operated databases.   

If you would like to add Firehose to your account, reach out to your dedicated success manager. Not a TUNE customer? Email us at [email protected] for more information. 

Connor Sliva

Connor is a Sales Executive for TUNE who received his BA in Marketing and International Business from Washington State University. He focuses his time and energy with our lead-generation clients and enjoys rolling up his sleeves to solve complicated technical configurements. Outside of work he is an avid snowboarder, surfer and sailing enthusiast.

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