eMetrics started for me on Monday, Oct. 20, pre-conference, since I was leading the WAA BaseCamp session, Introduction to Web Analytics. We had a full room with 20 attendees from Lafarge, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Destination D.C, Fannie May, Consumer’s Union, Nuclear Energy Institute, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, EMC corporation, and more. The majority were not complete Web Analytics newbies, so we had lots of thoughtful probing questions from start to end, through breaks and lunch.
Main event conference keynotes were truly energizing. Fabulous examples of how analytics (web or otherwise), when part of strong integrated business process, intelligently informs and influences business operations in a very positive way:
- James Robinson described how The New York Times leverages all of its deep content (every NYT word written) to provide a highly searchable repository. Themed sections are the result of analysis of visitor interest. And nightly, the Times determines the copies to print by the heat of the headlining story the evening before.
- Mike Marvel shared with us how Home Depot optimizes integration of front end retail with back end fulfillment not just using web analytics but also call center and online customer feedback. Home Depot evaluates the success of online and offline marketing promotions not just on the basis of increased revenue but also the impact on fulfillment and delivery options, i.e. supply chain to customer.
- Joe Megibow demonstrated with great energy that Hotels.com is fanatical about listening to customers and taking action. If you have a compliment or complaint about Hotels.com, Joe will know. Hotels.com has invested not only in web analytics and voice of the customer feedback, but also in customer experience monitoring, which they’ve found extremely worthwhile. In one example given, a lone complaint about discrepancy in “booked nights” triggered an analysis that indicated a problem experienced by 250 people per day. With customer experience monitoring, it would be difficult to dig for this historical data to quantify the problem reported.
- Kim Johnston took us on Symantec’s journey, beginning at the point where they thought getting the “5 key metrics” would be the easy end to managing through a cultural change where analytics is now “contagious fun”. Analytics isn’t an off to the side activity, it’s a part of achieving abnormally high marketing campaign results and revitalizing “cold prospects” to record conversion. The “new normal” at Symantec.
As usual, I wish I could clone myself to attend the Concurrent Sessions. Too many tough choices to make in the concurrent sessions, such as Matt Bailey on Keyword Attribution and Kristen Findley’s case study, Sibel Satiroglu on Web 2.0 tracking, I would have loved to attend but were concurrent with my session CSI: Conversion Scene Investigation. Of the sessions I did attend, the top 3 were:
- Brian Klais, Netconcepts, presented Essential KPIs for Search Engine Optimization. Interesting SEO funnel metrics and excellent use of email analogy to context SEO process and value events.
- Mark Ruzomberka, Traffic.com and Gary Angel, Semphonic, presenting DIY SEM: Your Agency May Not be the Best Resource. Mark’s intimate knowledge of traffic influences (priceless!) and fully engaged management of Traffic’s in-house paid search campaign ensured the move in-house would be (and continues to be) successful.
- Sam Ee, Miva Direct, shared details of his multivariate testing of the ALOT weather toolbar download page; variants, unexpected learnings, testing constraints and results, and how heused the outcomes to restructure the download page.
A hidden gem which only a crazy few of us managed to attend were the 8 am Email Marketing Labs on Day 2 and 3 moderated by Angel Morales, Lights Out Marketing. Both sessions didn’t cover brand new tactics as they have been described before, but I found the sessions very useful because they were live demos showing howto do it, if you have an opt-in email list:
- Day 2 Lab focused on re-marketing to those with abandoned shopping carts. Demonstrated by WebTrends and ExactTarget, daily automated web analytics extracts and email scripts could be enabled re-engage stale, unconverted carts, without being overly intrusive or creepy. This tactic could also be applied to a B2B/Lead generation situation, where a person has signed up for a webinar but not attended, or signed up for a download but not downloaded (it happens).
- Day 3 Lab focused on using onsite search engines to create email landing pages. Based on past retail purchase history (product or whitepaper download history for B2B) or stated product preferences, emails could be semi-customized to highlight new products or product sales. To manage the “creepiness factor”, only one of the three or four highlighted products are typically what was purchased before. Angel constructed the emails live, using audience names and preferences, and we were able to preview them.
As always, it was great to meet up with friends from past eMetrics and meet many, many new optimization fanatics.