Red Pill Analytics builds a serverless digital marketing analytics platform for Google Play Marcomms in the Google Cloud Platform

With more than one billion users, Android has the largest installed base of any operating system. A contributor to that success is Dom Elliott, prior Head of Developer Marketing Communications (Marcomms) and current Product Manager at Google Play, who spent his time improving engagement with Android developers. By examining data from services including Youtube, Twitter, and an internal email marketing platform, his team could see the efficacy of marketing campaigns targeting game and app developers on the Google Play marketplace.

Google Play Marcomms uses multiple digital channels to engage with developers, and each platform has it’s own siloed analytics capabilities. At least once a month, Dom would login to each platform and run a series of reports, dumping the data into Google Sheets, and manually compile and aggrege for final delivery into a Google Slides deck used to communicate engagement to his team’s management. It was a lot of wasted hours; the team needed a real-time analytics platform capable of showing general trends across all the different channels. Although Dom and his team worked for Google, they were not engineers and did not have access to development resources or other internal Google assets: they only had access to the Google Cloud Platform. For this reason, the final solution needed to be serverless, maintenance-free, and run entirely in GCP.

An iterative process, GCP event streaming, and data visualization tools

To solve the Marcomms requirement, Google partnered with Red Pill Analytics, led by founder Stewart Bryson. The project team utilized an agile and iterative delivery methodology enabled by the collaborative features in Google Data Studio, and serverless event streaming data developed using Pub/Sub and Cloud Functions. With no infrastructure to provision, the project team delivered the data processing and analytics of a new digital marketing source every week, with the entire project lasting only three months.

In the end, GCP event streaming and data visualization services addressed the client’s low maintenance requirements. Stewart and his team focused on serverless solutions that could scale and continue running once the implementation was complete. The team used Google’s BigQuery Data Transfer Service to load data from Google services, and a combination of Pub/Sub and Cloud Functions to access non-Google services with public APIs. Organizing all the digital channel information in BigQuery made it easily accessible from Data Studio, providing a single view of engagement for all of Google Play Marketing Communications.

Using analytical insights to improve efficiency

The analytics platform built by Red Pill Analytics allows for both a holistic and targeted understanding of Google Play users. Besides having deeper and more integrated analytics, the extensive time saving offered by the tool allows the Google Play team to focus on their core responsibility: enabling a more productive Android developer community.

One More Thing

In addition to Marcomms’ requirements for the project, Red Pill decided to add in sentiment analysis, which allows them to track attitudes and opinions on various channels. Dom found this feature to be the most surprising and beneficial feature of the entire project and particularly useful for LinkedIn and Twitter. Within a few hours of the latest Android release, Google knows whether the feedback is generally positive or negative and can respond accordingly.  Out of all of the features from this project, sentiment analysis was unexpected but provided the largest value to the Google Play Marcomms team.

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WHAT DO THEY THINK?

“I was constantly surprised at what was possible, really. It was really very helpful doing everything iteratively because I had sort of rough ideas at the very beginning, but I didn’t really know what was possible in these products. And so I’d sit down with Stewart and Phil, and we’d talk through various ideas, and they would let me know what’s possible. And then they could go away and just put something together straightaway, really quickly, something scrappy. And we’d have a look at that, and then we could keep iterating. So it worked really well.”
Dom Elliott, prior head of Global Development and Marketing and current Product Manager at Google Play

THE GOALS

  • Give the Google Play Marcomms team access to streaming digital marketing data in an accessible format they can easily understand and use to make well-informed decisions
  • Build an easy-to-use and self-sustaining data and analytics platform for all of Google Play’s digital marketing channels
  • Build in the Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

THE APPROACH

  • Use Red Pill’s agile and iterative Capacity Analytics service to define and capture numerous social media and digital marketing sources and land them in GCP
  • Move from discovery to dashboard for each distinct marketing source in roughly one week’s time
  • Deliver an event-driven and serverless ETL process to store raw source data in a data lake in Google Cloud Storage, and curate and aggregate analytics data in Google BigQuery
  • Utilize the interactive and collaborative capabilities of Data Studio to keep the customer engaged throughout the process
  • Use only GCP services that are truly serverless, ensuring the solution is scalable and maintenance-free post-implementation

THE RESULTS

  • An analytics platform measuring user engagement with the Google Play platform
  • Sentiment analysis allows the team to track attitudes and opinions over time
  • No more wasted time pulling data from each platform and creating reports for internal presentations

THE PRODUCTS

  • Google Cloud Platform: App Engine, BigQuery, Google Cloud Storage, Data Transfer Service, Data Studio
  • Google Products: Google Analytics, YouTube, Firebase, Google Sheets
  • APIs: Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn

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