The Grapes of Ideas

On from Analytics Culture, Web Analytics

As promised, here’s my personal account of the X Change event held last week in Napa Valley, thanks to Semphonic.

The event got its start with a keynote presentation by Eric T. Peterson who did an amazing portrait of the past, current, and future situation of Web Analytics. Although I don’t share his take on the “death” of the page view (to me, PV have always been clicks, i.e. actions/events), I certainly concur with him on the serious difficulties of collecting activity data from all the new “2.0” client-side interactions. He pushed it even further, warning us that the Web Analytics community was not ready for what coming soon, mobile analytics, which he called Web Analytics 3.0!

I then participated in the “Reports That Work”, facilitated by the impressive Clint Ivy from Visual Sciences. The discussion was quite animated, and one particular theme was the difficulty several participants had in producing impactful reports, or rather to make their colleagues react on the reports they knew were supposed to be impactful! It sure seems that the integration of Web Analytics in the interactive marketing culture is far from being achieved in still many organizations!

In the afternoon, I got to facilitate my first huddle, “Determining KPIs without a consultant”. I was quite tired from not sleeping well the days before, which made my English a little bumpy. Still, the discussion was quite interesting. I proposed my vision of KPIs and Drivers, which I think got many people think, but we all agreed that KPIs are still in need of some standardized definition. The discussion made me think a lot, and it will definitely help me revisit some concepts in the coming weeks.

The last huddle I participated in that day was the “SEM Analytics: Bring Measurement to Search” lead by Gary Angel. Although that is not one of the strongest part of my expertise, I totally enjoyed that session, and learned a lot, thanks to top guns in that field such as Craig Danuloff, Manoj Jasra, Paul Bruemmer, and of course Gary himself! SEM optimization has become incredibly complex, and its analysis is no easy feat either.

The next morning was my “Campaign ROI Analysis”, definitely the most successful of the two huddles I facilitated. The discussion was really good, with the majority of participants chipping in with great comments. One important topic was campaign cost calculation, which most people do “softly”, i.e. calculating the most direct costs of a campaign (placement, agency fees, etc.), with only one participant who told us they had to go all the way and factor in their own time!! That “hard core” calculation, more on the accounting side of things, is pretty rarely done in my experience.

The very last huddle I attended was Matt Belkin’s “Multi-Channel Optimization: Effective Integration of Online and Off line Channels”, but to read about it, you will need to go to The Big Integration blog!

In all, that was very much worth the trip as a consultant (Disclosure: Semphonic paid the hotel for the two nights in Napa, and I was not paid for speaking), getting to finally meet many of my peers, and definitely as a participant, getting back home with so many new ideas.

You should definitely make sure you attend next year…

2 responses to “The Grapes of Ideas

  1. Jacques, any chance you’ll be posting/sharing your notes from “Determining KPIs without a consultant”? Would love to seee what you said (as I wasn’t able to attend the event.

  2. Hi Benry,

    Unfortunatley, the sessions were discussions that we needed to facilitate through a couple of statements and several questions. I don’t have any substantial notes that could be read as is (the little powerpoint I used as a reminder is unreadible as is).

    I was bascially explaining how people could get together and start working on KPI definition without having to go through a very complex process. True, working with a consultant on that complex process produces excellent results, but KPIs are SO important that an organization shouldn’t wait for the consultant to be available, and start now! Also, my point was that in still many many companies, the Web just starts to be important, so that no manager would approve a $20k + project to do just that. Better take short cuts and adjust along the way, which is absolutely OK, as long as you go through the motion. This is the best proven way to get out of the basic reporting stage that can last forever if you don’t do it.

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