Back from a fantastic trip to San Francisco!
My jet lag is fainting away a little but my brain still buzzes with lots of ideas and things I need to follow-up. While all this is still fresh, I thought I’d share with you some of the insights from last week’s eMetrics Summit, the world’s largest gathering of people working in online measurement and optimisation.
There are numerous tracks to satisfy beginners as well as more experienced practitioners: Web optimization, Marketing Optimization Management, Campaign optimization, Search Analytics, Email metrics, Advanced Web Analytics and Integrated Marketing.
My three key summit findings demonstrated me that the “way” web analytics is used these days, is gradually changing and some of these changes are setting the path for the future. Here are my three outcomes:
Testing & optimization
Bringing the “testing” culture and the right tools (software and methodologies to do it) into a web-enabled project (website, e-mail or ad campaign) is a key process step in order to optimize and achieve success. The web also allows us to quickly deploy these and continually improve as such.
Jason Carmel, one of my Wunderman colleagues at ZAAZ demonstrated the balance needed between testing & optimization in his presentation “Effectively using kittens for Optimization and Usability”. Jason made me laugh although his presentation was serious shit! I was allergic to your kittens though.
It’s all about money! For many companies, the only action that matters is driving revenue into the company and profit to the bottom line. But since we live in an Age of “Accountability” and Sarbanes/Oxley we should take web analytics serious in order to prove the value of online initiatives are well spent.
In order to be accountable, you should present the right data and not spend 90% of your time on reporting on “What happened” and only 10% on “What you should do next”. Therefore some mistakes you should not make during the route:
- Misuse of data or data overload to analyze
- Not-saying-anything reports
- Inconsistent KPIs
- Stuffed Top x/Y dashboards
- Incomplete web analytics implementation
- Lack of testing or endless debating about visual design and copy
Instead, you should hunt for the insights and be “Web Analytics Ninja” as Avinash Kaushik stated in his presentation “Hunting Actionable Insights“:
- Analyze “What has changed”
- Try to share the “Context” of these changes next to the numbers
- Give insights, advice, recommendations or steps to take
This will help you in taking action based on the actual behavior of site visitors and as such support the decision making processes
My last outcome highlights Thomas Davenport’s great keynote that describes the transition from web analytics to business analytics.
Just like the web, web analytics started in IT, and then marketing found out about it and took control. We are there now, but successful data-driven businesses (and they do exist!) understand the value of the web and have optimized some of their most important business processes around it.
These companies do not manage their data in silo’s but integrate and combine it with web metrics; all because of the accountability that Web analytics delivers to business metrics. The web is infinitely measurable and now more than ever we have data to support our marketing assumptions.
Although web analytics represents only a debatable small percentage of a business’s spending, the value of analytics data is working its way upstream.
The industry is maturing to a level where we will not only talk about using web analytics for marketing optimization, but we will be talking about analytics for business processes optimization and strategic level changes. As such Web analytics and e-business will finally receive their own seat at the board room table as deserved.
- We can say that most companies still impose to project optimization or testing cycles because they cannot find the flowers by crunching in tons of metrics weeds.
- But for those companies that understand how to optimize based on actionable web metrics, insights and recommendations, huge benefits can be demonstrated.
Besides my outcomes, the Emetrics Summit is not only a great event to learn and see what’s going on but also great for networking. Everybody who practices or is interested in Web Analytics should be there.
Congratulations to Jim Sterne for once again putting on a great event and see you next time!
Be sure to track us back, since more eMetrics stuff will be posted in the forthcoming days.