What Is a Data Warehouse

What Is a Data Warehouse & How to Build One for Your Agency

A data warehouse consolidates data from multiple sources into a single, centralised repository. In simpler terms, it acts as a single source of truth, allowing agencies to analyse their customers more comprehensively. 

But what exactly is a data warehouse, what does it do, and how would your agency go about building one? It can be daunting, we know. But worry not! We’re here to answer all those questions. By the end of this article, you’ll feel like a data warehousing expert.

In the meantime, we’ll start off with this: think better quality data, cross-channel reporting, faster insights, and perhaps most importantly—more time to focus on innovative solutions!

What is Data Warehousing? 

Although most digital marketing agencies would benefit from data warehousing, the truth is that many still feel intimidated by the tech. This means that account managers continue to spend countless hours pulling and cleaning data for reporting, which in turn affects the profitability of their agency.

With a data warehousing solution, however, all the repetitive, click-intensive tasks your team spends hours on are automated, and the benefits are endless.

A data warehouse is essentially a cloud-based central repository that collects and manages data from varied sources. By pulling data across several marketing channels and automatically merging everything it comes across into a single, central hub, a data warehouse gives you a 360 view of your clients and their customers. 

Let’s start with a real-life scenario: how many times do programs like Data Studio or Sheets fail you when you are in the middle of reporting? The truth is that these tools were simply not built to handle huge amounts of data, and the more your agency grows, the more they will let you down. 

When it comes to digital marketing agencies specifically, a data warehouse allows you to integrate data from numerous advertising channels, such as Google Analytics, CRM systems like Salesforce and HubSpot, Facebook, Google, and more. This means less manual reporting for your team and faster, more accurate analytics. 

And the best part? Once your custom data warehouse has been built, it’s yours to keep—forever. 

How Does a Data Warehouse Work? 

A data warehouse works by collecting and sorting large amounts of data into a comprehensive database that you can use for big analytical queries. 

A data warehouse is usually made up of multiple databases, each organised into tables and columns. Once a data warehouse has pulled data from multiple sources, it then stores it into numerous tables and columns, as described by the schema. 

Because data warehouses automatically clean and prep all the data they ingest, the data stored in the data warehouse is extremely accurate, meaning it can be used by your agency as a trusted, definitive source of data. 

Data Warehousing Architecture 

A data warehouse is typically made up of a three-tier structure, otherwise known as its ‘architecture.’ 

In most cases, the bottom tier of a data warehouse server represents a relational database system in which back-end tools digest and feed data into this layer. 

The middle tier consists of an OLAP server, which is used for fast querying of the data warehouse. The OLAP server is implemented in one of two ways: 

  • The Relational OLAP (or ROLAP) model maps multidimensional data processes to standard relational operations. 
  • The Multidimensional OLAP (MOLAP) model, on the other hand, directly implements multidimensional information and operations. 

The top tier is the front-end client interface of a data warehouse. It holds various data-mining tools, as well as query, analysis, and reporting tools. 

Data Warehousing Types 

Three types of data warehouses exist, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The type of data warehouse your agency needs depends on your business requirements and long-term goals.

#1. Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW)

Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) is a centralised warehouse. It provides decision support services across the enterprise and offers a tactical, unified approach for classifying data according to the subject.

#2. Operational Data Store (ODS)

Operational Data Store (ODS) is a central database used for operational reporting as a data source and acts as a complementary element to an EDW. It is refreshed in real-time, making it the preferred choice for routine activities, such as storing employee records.

#3. Data Mart

A data mart is considered a subset of the data warehouse and is specially designed for a particular line of business, such as finance or sales. A data mart is subject-oriented and can collect specific data from various sources, providing organisations with critical insights extremely quickly.

What Is a Cloud Data Warehouse? 

A cloud data warehouse is a database that is stored as a managed service in a public cloud that is optimised for analytics and scale. Cloud-based data warehouses offer limitless storage, on-demand computing, and the ability to scale so that users only pay for what they are actually using. 

There are many cloud-based enterprise data warehouses to choose from. One of the most popular systems—and our personal favourite—is Google’s BigQuery, which offers an industry-leading 99.99% uptime SLA. This essentially guarantees less than 5 minutes of unavailability per calendar month. Or, in simpler terms, it translates to you never noticing any delays! 

BigQuery makes it easy to push data out to Google Sheets and popular data visualisation platforms like Data Studio, Tableau, Looker, and Microsoft BI amongst others, which your agency is probably already using.

Top Data Warehouse Solutions 

With so many data warehouse solutions out there, it’s hard to know which one to turn to for your company’s specific needs. Keep reading to learn more about what we believe are the top 5 data warehousing solutions available. 

​​#1. Big Query

As mentioned, Google’s BigQuery is our preferred data warehousing tool. It integrates seamlessly with tools like Data Studio and Sheets and offers enterprise-level performance while being cost-effective. 

Because it’s hosted on the Google Cloud Platform, you get the same massive processing power and infrastructure that Google uses. This means that you can process huge amounts of data in no time. 

​​#2. Snowflake

Snowflake is one of the most popular and straightforward data warehousing solutions available. Its main selling points are flexibility, fast response times, and the fact that the tool requires zero management and no infrastructure, making it extremely easy to use. 

​​#3. Amazon Redshift 

Amazon Redshift launched almost ten years ago and is one of the first cloud-based data warehousing solutions to exist. It undoubtedly played an important role in developing the data warehousing industry and continues to be a great tool for many businesses. 

Important to note, however, is that it is a very technical platform and isn’t necessarily easy to manage without an in-house tech team. 

​​#4. Azure Synapse

Azure Synapse Analytics is a cloud-based data warehouse from Microsoft that boasts unmatched time to insights. It’s a limitless analytics service that merges data integration, enterprise data warehousing, and big data analytics. Azure is fairly easy to use, but probably best suited for larger companies. 

​​#5. Oracle

Oracle Autonomous Database is a cloud-based data warehouse service that does exactly what its name suggests. It eliminates almost all manual tasks by automating provisioning, configuring, securing, tuning, scaling, and backups. Oracle also enables queries across multiple data types and machine learning analysis. 

Top 10 Benefits of a Data Warehouse 

A data warehouse is an incredibly powerful tool that is relatively expensive when compared to alternative analytics solutions. 

One of the many benefits of a data warehouse is that it saves you precious time by automating otherwise extremely time-consuming procedures. By collecting and managing data from many different sources into one central repository, agencies can also recognise patterns, identify efficiencies, and make better-informed business decisions. 

#1. Enables Data Automation

In a data-driven discipline, advanced automation and analytics are a weapon. Today, data warehouse automation tools provide a wide range of benefits, including real-time data extraction, analysis of cloud data, and web application services. 

#2. Saves Time

How often does your paid media team grow frustrated when dealing with repetitive, menial tasks? 

One of the best things about a data warehouse is that it automates all of the—let’s face it—boring administrative tasks your team would usually spend hours on. This means that account managers can refocus their energy on innovative strategising, whilst also reducing your cost per client!

#3. Improves Data Quality and Consistency

Dispersed, siloed, and incomplete data continue to be a very real obstacle for many digital marketing agencies. A data warehouse replaces tedious and error-prone copy and paste procedures so that account managers can deliver accurate and unique insights. 

#4. Combines Data From Various Sources 

What you really get with a data warehouse is a powerful technology that can make your agency stand out with unique insights that are based on your client’s current and historical data.

Need a Custom Data Warehousing Solution? Book a free data session and connect with one of our experts.

#5. Enables Cross-Channel Reporting

A data warehouse allows you to pull data across various marketing channels into a custom-built advertising repository. The best part is that it cleans the data for you so that even your non-technical staff can query, interpret, and communicate the data like never before.

#6. Lets You Create Custom Analytics Dashboards

One of the main benefits of a data warehouse is that it allows digital advertisers to view huge amounts of data in a single, concise dashboard consisting of charts, graphs, and easily digestible metrics. 

This means that you can run straightforward queries, reports, and predictive analyses all in a matter of seconds, which enables your business to make key decisions in a short time frame.

#7. Advanced Segmentation

How great would it be if your team could easily compare the differences and similarities between customers, or identify what was driving results for a high-performing group so you could simply duplicate that success with others? 

A data warehouse lets you do just this by allowing for advanced segmentation. Essentially, this means that you can analyse audience ‘segments’ (such as gender, age, and user behaviour) to better understand your client’s target audience.

#8. Enables Historical Insights

One of the best things about your own data warehouse is the fact that you can access historical data. Gain valuable insights with access to all of your customers’ behaviours—current and previous—so you can uncover trends and identify efficiencies that may otherwise not be obvious. 

#9. Enhances Business Intelligence 

Most digital agencies out there continue to manage their data manually. By doing so, they are acting on business intelligence reactively and losing valuable time while doing so. 

Another key benefit of a fully automated data warehouse is that it is specifically designed to enable and support business intelligence activities, such as machine learning, analytics, and reporting software. 

#10. Generates a Higher Return on Investment (ROI) 

A data warehouse helps marketing agencies get a better handle on ROI and other important metrics by consolidating data into a centralised database. 

By using ROI formulas and unlocking new strategies for your campaigns that require advanced insights, your agency can both justify and quantify the positive impact of data warehousing technologies to its clients. 

Why Does Your Business Need a Data Warehouse 

If we have yet to convince you that a data warehouse will change your life as an account manager, we think we might be about to. 

We’ve come up with five key questions that should tell you if investing in a data warehouse is the right choice for your agency. 

  1. Is your agency’s data siloed and is it hard to compare channels?
  2. Are Data Studio and Sheets consistently slow, and does your team frequently face performance issues?
  3. Would it make your life easier if you could pull data from across a wide range of sources in order to accurately compare them?
  4. Do you want a proprietary tool to automate optimizations across channels? 
  5. Are portfolio-level performance insights across channels valuable to you?

If most of these questions resonated with you, you’ve got your answer! 

Think of it this way: a data warehouse provides a 360 view of your clients and their customers. 

No more repetitive clicking, hours spent frantically pulling and cleaning data, or waiting for Data Studio or Sheets to unfreeze. Imagine all your agency data but in one place. That’s the big differentiating factor.

Let Acuto Create a Data Warehouse For Your Business 

Every digital marketing agency out there has its own unique strategy. And as an agency, your data is spread across various channels: Google Ads, Data Studio, Analytics, as well as social media. 

So what if we told you that we could help you consolidate all that jumbled data into a single, unified data warehouse, and—more importantly—that it wouldn’t break the bank?

It used to be expensive for smaller agencies to build custom tools. But the underlying technology has changed, and we’re here to tell you that the size of your agency no longer matters.

Acuto is a new type of service company that builds solutions tailored to your agency’s unique strategies—delivered by a team of developers and cloud engineers with a PPC background. 

Because very few agencies have in-house specialist cloud engineers, we offer a managed advertising data warehouse service. And just to be clear: you own everything

We help you set up and manage a BigQuery data warehouse tailored to your business, so you can sit back and focus on what you’re great at. Our data warehouse services have helped agencies from the planning phase all the way through to implementation. We keep working with them to implement data and automation solutions that set their agencies apart.

Get in touch if you would like to learn more about our flexible, infinitely scalable, and cost-effective data warehousing services.

Key Takeaways 

If you’re ready to automate your data and are looking to show your clients that your approach to data-driven is truly unique, then a data warehouse is definitely the way forward. 

Data warehousing makes accessing data straightforward, hassle-free, and pushes your agency towards innovation.

So, to wrap it up…

  • A data warehouse is a powerful tool that centralises and stores all your agency data in one place. 
  • Data warehousing allows for agency-wide reporting, consistently high-quality data, faster insights, and advanced analytics.  
  • Data warehousing helps you save precious time wasted on repetitive, manual, and click-intensive tasks so that you can focus on strategy and creativity instead.
  • There are many types of data warehousing solutions available, all with their own advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right one is crucial and depends on your business’s specific needs.
  • Data warehousing is cost-effective and is no longer reserved for large businesses! Any agency that deals with data, big or small, can benefit from a custom-built data warehouse. 
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