EPL Digital: Combining On-Demand and Centralized data to enable client growth

EPL Digital: Combining On-Demand and Centralized data to enable client growth

Key takeaways

  • EPL Digital is a New York-based marketing agency that does in-depth analyses of their client’s data infrastructures to identify growth opportunities
  • The agency started their journey with Supermetrics by accessing on-demand data in spreadsheets and dashboards to make tactical decisions and optimize client campaign performance
  • Over time, they evolved to build a centralized marketing data warehouse in BigQuery enabling them to get bigger picture insights to support more operational and strategic decisions
  • Using both on-demand and centralized data, EPL digital have improved the accuracy of their reporting and analysis, leading to faster decision making and yielding a better ROI for clients

Quick facts

Industry: Marketing agency

Founded: 2013

Size: 10 employees

Markets: Global, with headquarters in New York, USA

Products: Supermetrics for BigQuery

EPL Digital is a New York-based marketing agency specialized in paid media and SEO performance analysis. The agency’s core offering is in-depth analyses of their clients’ digital marketing data infrastructures to identify and prioritize improvements for growth.

With such a data-led specialization, EPL Digital trusted Supermetrics to ensure the right people are getting the right data where they need it.

Athan Tsakalakis, Co-Founder & COO, and Robin Eckerblad, Head of Data and Insights, have been at the core of EPL’s data transformation journey with Supermetrics where they have evolved from accessing marketing data on-demand in spreadsheets and dashboards to building centralized marketing data warehouses in BigQuery. This evolution to combine both on-demand and centralized data models has enabled EPL Digital to better serve their clients over time.

Phase 1: Accessing on-demand data with Supermetrics

EPL Digital have been long-time customers of Supermetrics. They started off with Excel and Google Sheets where they could instantly bring client data into spreadsheets to do their in-depth analyses. Then they added Looker Studio where they used Supermetrics to bring data into client facing dashboards.

“We started using Supermetrics so we could access data instantly. We use this for quick, ad-hoc work, whether it’s a spreadsheet to do a deep-dive analysis or a dashboard to show how results and performance are progressing,” Athan says.

By using Supermetrics for on-demand data, the EPL Digital team has access to the data they need at the touch of a button. It’s quick to deploy, they can bring data from all the platforms they need, and it’s available for their marketers to self-serve.

EPL Digital uses on-demand data to support tactical decisions, such as budget pacing and reach/frequency monitoring, as well as optimization decisions, such as on-page SEO and conversion rate optimization.

Realizing a need to work with larger data volumes

But over time, Athan realized EPL Digital needed more than just on-demand data to support their work and deliver better results to their clients. A key factor was the need to work with larger datasets for all their clients, which is something the on-demand set up alone wasn’t able to support.

Athan says, “In order to carry out all our projects effectively and efficiently, we’ve constantly tried to advance the ways in which we do our analysis and reporting. In addition, the team has always tried to improve the accuracy of our insights. To do that we needed larger datasets. We initially used spreadsheets but the cell limit prevented us from building reports with more data. The team needed to have 10 different Excel files to get all the data they needed, which was inconvenient. In addition to that, many queries were breaking in Excel and Google Sheets as the data sets had become significantly larger.”

This is when Athan and EPL Digital began looking into a data warehouse to store and access all their centralized data.

Phase 2: Accessing centralized data with Supermetrics

Athan and his team started to evaluate different data warehousing options and eventually landed on Google BigQuery.

“As we are a small, rapidly growing agency we have the philosophy of always trying to stay agile. After evaluating different options, we found that using BigQuery together with Supermetrics allowed us to stay flexible and not have to hire a certified, traditionally trained expert with a deep background in database management. It also felt like Google BigQuery was well suited for our needs as a marketing agency, allowing us to manage different types of client data, and the UI is easy to use, well-defined, and intuitive,” Athan explains.

On-Demand and Centralized data 1

BigQuery & Supermetrics: Improving analytics by getting more granular, centralized data

EPL Digital’s first impression of Supermetrics for BigQuery was very positive. Robin, Head of Data & Insights, says that, “It was pretty easy to just set up the first transfer. We got the tables we needed and started fetching data from Google Ads, Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads.”

Meanwhile, Athan adds that, “Because of our experience and trust that we had with Supermetrics, and because we knew that BigQuery is a really legitimate product and service, we decided to go all in with it.”

With Supermetrics, the team could successfully import large datasets to get more detailed campaign data from their centralized data access model. This has allowed EPL to improve the accuracy of their reporting and analysis, leading to faster decision making and yielding a better ROI for clients.

“Previously we were limited by the dataset size because spreadsheets did not allow us to store that much data. With Supermetrics for BigQuery, we started doing larger transfers that allowed us to get more metrics and dimensions. This, in turn, enabled us to slice the data in a variety of different ways to get more granular,” says Robin.

The ability to centralize all their data and break down the metrics on a more granular level allowed the team to arrive at the insights they couldn’t get to purely with an on-demand model.

“If we are running a campaign in many different US cities, it’s understandable that we will have a lot of data since the United States is a large country. After we export all the stats with Supermetrics, we can break the metrics down to see how many clicks we had from each city during a given timeframe. This level of granularity is available to us,” Robin adds.

Now with centralized data, EPL Digital can use it to make more operational decisions, such as in-channel budget allocations, as well as strategic decisions, such as audience segmentation and demand forecasting across different regions in the United States.

Using on-demand and centralized data to power client reporting

EPL Digital’s dashboard building process depends on how technically savvy their clients are. Generally, the team builds campaign overview reports to show performance metrics, such as cost per lead and cost per customer.

“The reporting process depends on how advanced the client is with their data. We always strive for 100% automation but depending on the client we may still need to add a manual step to the process,” Robin says.

Whether there is a fully automated process or a solution with some manual components, the team imports the data to their centralized data warehouse in Google BigQuery.

The team uses SQL statements in Google BigQuery to join tables and re-format columns into tables that can quickly be loaded into their dashboards, whether that’s Looker or Power BI. Here, they can do some more cleaning of the data and use other lookup tables that they need to create relationships and connect all the dots.

The end product is a web-based interactive dashboard where the internal team, as well as the client, can have 24h access to performance insights.

“The biggest improvement we have noticed is that with the adoption of BigQuery and Supermetrics, large dataset transfers are not failing anymore like they used to. Even in cases they fail, the fix comes around pretty quickly or the issue was on the original data source side,” Robin says.

“We have access to more data and can slice it on a much more granular level with dimensions like geographic location available. Now we can create much more powerful automated reports and overcome the volume limits to make our reporting more accurate. In case the team is missing some dimensions or metrics, we reach out to Supermetrics directly. The Supermetrics team has always been very helpful to add these,” Robin adds.

EPL Digital now has the best of both worlds in that they can not only access on-demand data like they always have, whether it’s a spreadsheet or a Looker Studio dashboard, but also centralized data via BigQuery to unlock bigger picture insights and opportunities they might have otherwise missed.

On-Demand and Centralized data 2

Supermetrics & EPL Digital: A long-term outlook

The team intends to use Supermetrics for BigQuery as a primary pipeline to get campaign data to the marketing data warehouse. In addition to that, Supermetrics supports the company’s future vision. “We are a small but rapidly growing team and as we continue getting more clients we need to keep up with the workload. Using the best technology is very important for us as this is where we see the biggest impact,” Robin adds.

Athan shared that the company’s plan is to continue to be marketers, leverage marketing technology, and work with appropriate systems and tech stacks. This use of the best tools allows the team to focus on marketing as a core competency.

An affordable and scalable solution for agile marketing teams

“We’re not technologists, we’re not building technology, and our team wants to invest more in marketing strategy versus investing in producing technology. We believe that to be effective marketers and to be able to compete in a very competitive marketplace, you have to focus on the strategies and consumer behavior versus building tools that you might use within marketing. By working with Supermetrics, we do not have to spend time building and managing marketing data integrations,” says Athan.

“I am always trying to find the most efficient way to work with data. I think our team will keep evolving and our processes will keep evolving as we keep using Supermetrics,” Robin says.

“In terms of pricing, Supermetrics is extremely affordable. I could absolutely substitute a data analyst on an annual basis for all the costs that are going into the data warehouse marketing reporting process,” Athan concludes.

Want to combine on-demand with centralized data just like Athan and Robin from EPL Digital? Book a demo with a member of our team and we’ll be happy to show how Supermetrics can help you.

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