Advanced Analytics: the Winning Formula

In February Kirk Goldsberry of Grantland reported on a research paper presented at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. The research paper, produced by Harvard PhD’s Alexander Franks and Andrew Miller, will change the way NBA’s players play, the way coaches coach, and the way fans understand defense. You can see the research here, but this is the high level: Winning teams are using advanced analytics to holistically determine an individual’s impact on the game.

Winning teams are investing in software tools that provide meaningful influencer analysis and ROI. In the summer of 2013, the NBA installed player-tracking systems in all 29 arenas. The backend modeling and computation software provided by Stats LLC is a “complex 80 gigabyte pain in the ass” with thousands of hours of coding. In short it’s the beauty of software-as-a-service with all the actionable benefits and countless hours of time saved.

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The method quantified the performances of defenders during every millisecond of the 2013-2014 NBA season. It’s a winner’s formula, but the methodology isn’t new. Remember how magical Butler’s 2011 NCAA Final Four was? This 2011 article in the McKinsey Quarterly features an interview with Coach Brad Stevens.
As an early adopter of advanced analytics in basketball, Coach Stevens invested in actionable and responsive analytics; then he took Butler to the Final Four, and now he coaches the Celtics.

If you’re a marketer reading this, you’re probably not interested in Defensive Shot Charts, Disruption Scores, or weighted averages of points scored against a defender per 100 possessions.

But as NBA front offices prioritize software solutions to win games, marketers are taking note of the advanced analytics that accompany visual commerce to drive online sales. Per 1,000 UGC posts, Word of Mouth Marketing generates 1/2 million brand conversations and in 2015 will influence 50% of purchase decisions.

The concept first received international acclaim when GoPro began to publish vastly popular consumer generated videos on its YouTube channel. The success of their user generated campaign was seen when the company spent $50,000 in marketing campaigns to more than double its income to $24.6 Million from 2010 – 2011. In 2013, GoPro repeated the performance by reducing marketing costs to $41,000, while simultaneously making $28 Million more in net income.

As the NBA invests in tools to track player efficiency, brands and agencies have capitalized on software tools scale the ROI blueprint set by GoPro. Now in 2015, software is available that aggregates pictures and videos shared across every social media channel, and then moderates the content and obtains the digital rights all in one dashboard.

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The content is optimized with advanced analytics tracking; impressions, views, clicks, and most importantly sales lift, conversion rate, and increases in average order value on ecommerce sites.

From the MLB and Moneyball, to the new hard data behind performance in the NBA, to the ROI of 2015 digital marketing strategy, advanced analytics provides the solution to organizations seeking more effective ways to maximize the impact of each individual at a greater scale by harnessing data for real-time targeting and optimization.

The marketplace of visual commerce has finally evolved beyond ubiquitous grey spaces. Brands and agencies aren’t investing in isolated social channels without advanced analytics that measure return on investment. As social media content is aggregated and featured directly onsite, this final takeaway should sound familiar: winning brands are using advanced analytics to holistically determine an individual’s social impact on sales.

Topics: UGC, Trends, Industry News