Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thoughts on E Metrics Sydney - Day 1

What a wonderful treat it was when eMetrics returned to Sydney for its second year this week. Personally I can't thank Jim Sterne enough for bringing this valuable conference to Australia.

With around 50 people attending this conference was far more intimate than the ones that I have attended in Washington. It is a real joy to be able to participate so candidly and directly in such a small group.

Web Analytics is a small, vibrant community in Australia and the chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones should never be overlooked. eMetrics will return to Melbourne later this year so stay tuned and if you are interested in using data to make better decisions make sure that this event is on your calendar.

So what happened at eMetrics Sydney? Well it is too much for one post so here is a summary of day one. I promise to follow up with posts on each of the concepts covered. The key theme of the conference was to examine the human side of marketing analytics. Jim Sterne started the conference with a presentation that urged us as analysts to go beyond the simplistic channel based thinking and look at the big picture. Some of Jim's key messages were:

  • Tell stories with the data, otherwise no one cares,
  • Tie all analysis to the three primary business needs:
    • Increase revenue,
    • Reduce costs,
    • Increase customer satisfaction.
  • The role of the analyst as therapist; "so tell my why do you feel that you need this report..."

Jim relayed some telling stories about the use of data for data's sake. In one of these a new head of the accounting department decided to withhold all of the regular reports until someone asked for them. As the requests came in slowly the requests were prioritised and the reports delivered based on the priorities. The net result was that the 14 or so days that were required to produce all of these reports was significantly reduced, freeing up valuable time for the analysts to do what they do best - analyse.

Marty Weintraub quite simply blew us all away with his talk on social metrics KPIs and the use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc to find markets to sell services and products. I would have never thought that identifying groups of people with certain opinions could result in marketing divorce lawyers, chocolate, pizzas and much more to them. Marty gave excellent examples of how you can use the Facebook advertising system to estimate audience size and then how you can target them. If you get the chance to see Marty speak it is worth going, his energy level is amazing.

Lauren Vaccarello from Salesforce.com provided insight into how Salesforce uses its own systems to calculate actual return on investment from its campaigns across all channels. Tying in the offline sales process using the company CRM system with the online advertising data from AdWords and other channels provides a powerful way of checking the actual cost of acquisition of a customer. Without this data we are just left with a best guess on whether a campaign actually converts where the sale is completed outside of the website.

Speakers covering social meda included Ciaran Norris from Mindshare Ireland who discussed how to measure buzz from social media and James O'Toole from Social Media Chief who discussed how to track ROI and measure engagement from social media.

James Dixon from Atomic Search provided a way for companies to self assess where they are positioned in regards to the marketing optimisation maturity model and Will Swayne covered the analysis of display media across a number of different providers.

More to follow on day 2 later.

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    I'm a web UX specialist doing a lot of analytical stuff too, so I found Jim's topic of "human factor of analytics" was especially interesting. What we are trying to decode is users' online behavior. Data is the approach, not the goal.

    I always found beneficial to combine the power of UX study and analytics. UX is based on sampling technique and analytics is a statistical approach. However in a typical working environment, these two roles belong to two separate departments and rarely interact. How to bring in the maximum power of all related scope of works in an optimised working model, is a challenge but also an opportunity.

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