We recently caught up with Avinash Kaushik, the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google, and a passionate teacher who shares his perspective frequently via multiple channels: a weekly newsletter (The Marketing Analytics Intersect), a bi-monthly blog (Occam’s Razor) and two best-selling books that have been translated into over a dozen languages (Web Analytics: An Hour A Day and Web Analytics 2.0). He will also be speaking at our upcoming Marketing Analytics & Data Science Conference in San Francisco this spring.
Avinash helps executive teams, marketers and data analysts leverage innovative digital strategies and emerging technologies to outsmart their competitors. Currently, he is delving into all the ways artificial intelligence can speed up the generation of insights to inform strategy and automate day-to-day decision-making. Over the last couple years, he has lead and contributed to application of machine learning algorithms, both inside Google and for external developers.
Here’s what he had to say:
What has been the biggest change in data science in 2018?
Avinash: The trend of everything getting instrumented is continuing to accelerate. There is more data about individual humans, there is more data about your car, there is more data about every part of your business, etc. etc. It is not all clean, it is not all well organized, and for now it is still a little bit in the mode of data puking. But, data science needs data. Hence this acceleration is of value.
What will be the biggest data science trend in 2019?
Avinash: In 2018 I felt for the first time we had applications of deep learning algorithms that were beyond just theory. We've have great success handing over massive amounts of mostly classified data with tens of millions of data points to algorithms that have extracted patterns to help shift our thinking about what it takes to drive success. Considering the assumptions and biases that creep into our models today - from the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns - this is a promising trend that I expect to head towards center-stage in 2019.
What is the one thing that has impacted marketing analytics the most this year?
Avinash: It is hard to pin it down to one thing. 2018 was the year where the ability to solve for identity broadly continued to be a challenge, and if anything became harder. All the advancements at the edge of technology only highlighted the massive gap in the human talent we must overcome (and Universities are not really stepping up so solve it, yet). And, of course, there was the old favorite of: A complete lack of strategy - asking for answers without knowing what the question is.
Why has data become the greatest enabler in business today?
Avinash: There is more of it. We are smarter in how we use it. It is clearer that strategies based on faith fail to deliver. If digital has contributed to one thing - for any type of business - it is the shortening of the life-cycle of a company. It took a long time for companies to die, say, 25 years ago. It happens a lot faster now. In that type of broad business environment, the expectation of accountability consistently ratchets up... Delivering a demand to complement faith with data.
What is your favorite marketing technology right now?
Avinash: I'm not sure it qualifies as technology, but: Bayesian belief networks.
What are you most looking forward to about MADS 2019?
Avinash: An expansion of imagination. The best thing about these lovely gathering is to be exposed to smart people with a diversity in smart thinking. I cherish the opportunity to be challenged and new ideas added to my imagination for what's possible (and what's complete crap!).
Want more from Avinash? Don’t miss him speak about Artificial Intelligence – Revolutions in Marketing & Analytics at Marketing Analytics & Data Science 2019 on Tuesday, April 9th at 9:00 AM.
The MADS conference empowers you with practical applications to achieve better bottom line results in a data-driven future. As consumers demand more personalized communications, experiences and products; and internal stakeholders require more predictive intelligence to inform decisions, a disciplined approach to analytics and data science is the silver bullet to unlock opportunity and growth. Learn more and register here: http://bit.ly/2H51CYe