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The challenge with data is that it’s big. It’s scattered across platforms and devices. It’s messy. Yes, you’re thinking what we’re thinking: That’s more than just one challenge. But what if there was one solution? Well, there is - and it’s called ETL.

What is ETL exactly and what does it do for your day-to-day marketing operations?

ETL stands for ‘extract, transform and load’, and essentially describes a three-step process. Extracting data is about acquiring it from a particular source, and is arguably the most crucial step of the three. In order for ETL to be done efficiently, data needs to be collected directly from its source and in its rawest form.

Transforming data, on the other hand, is about stripping it from its various formats, cleaning and harmonizing it. The last step is loading the data into a target database, including business intelligence (BI) tools and database applications, ready to be analyzed.

In other words, ETL is the foundation of today’s data-driven marketing, even if it’s an abbreviation you don’t hear much about.

Just think about the data you work with every day: It’s diverse and often quite complex. Something as simple as a date can be formatted in a number of different ways. For instance,

  • 11-Aug-2017,
  • 11-08-2017,
  • 11/8/2017,
  • 2017-08-11,
  • August 11, 2017

all describe the same thing, yet they all look different. And clearly, your data is not made up of timestamps alone. Add location coordinates, customers’ names, devices IDs, sellers URLs and currencies to the mix, and you got yourself a full-time data-formatting job.

Thus, investing in next-generation ETL tools is key. Not doing so, in turn, would often leave you overwhelmed and under a pile of data that takes days, if not weeks, to collect and prepare for analysis. As a result, inefficiency prevails.

ETL and the cloud

While ETL has been around for decades, today’s fast pace of technology requires marketing professionals to keep up. The cloud, for one, has done away with many of the storage and computer processing constraints of the past, making it possible to automate and speed up a big part of the ETL process.

At Adverity, we aim to achieve just that, too. We understand that, nowadays, having a highly automated, fast and easy-to-use ETL platform is the only way to deal with the large amounts of data out there.

We have developed an API database of over 250 connectors, covering all major advertising and analytics sources. And in the (rare) case that we don’t yet have what our clients require, there’s a fix! We have a long history of creating our own API connectors to different data sources, and have always found a way to process our clients’ data regardless of where it is stored and whatever form it takes.

At the end of the day, ETL is there to make the job of marketers easier and more efficient. What we do, is take that process, bring it up to speed with the latest technology, and pass it on to our customers so they can do their job at the best of their abilities.

And what is your experience with ETL? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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Written by Eugen Knippel

Passionate marketer and travller. Loves sports, Thai Food and spending time with friends and family. Talk to him about videogames, datadriven advertising and internet pop culture on Twitter @euglilcious

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