Last week, as part of a trip to visit the Yahoo! mother-ship in Sunnyvale and other goodness, I attended the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in San Francisco. This was my second time attending eMetrics in San Francisco, a city that is getting up there with potatoes on my list of “Things Wot Emer Thinks Are Neat”.
As the opportunity to attend eMetrics succeeded my travel arrangements, I sadly missed part of the first day, thereby adding to the list of “Things Wot Emer Should Have Done Wot Didn’t”. I missed Peter Fader, who was part of a keynote panel called “Data Driving for a Good Cause”. This is the second time I’ve missed the opportunity to see Peter “Nerd Crush Time” Fader speak, so I must concede that he is trying to avoid me. This is understandable.
The first presentation I saw was by the lovely Hila Strong from Keystone Solutions. Hila’s topic was “How I find Optimization Opportunities by Cheating on my Web Analytics Vendor” during which she illustrated how to simply find optimization ideas. This included videoing her adorable (and sharp) son testing site usability in sites relevant to his age-group. This and other videos of users interacting with site functions really resonated with the audience and it was mentioned to me several times as a key takeaway for usability optimization over the next couple of days. At scale, this may have its difficulties (in that it is, as Hila said, time-heavy activity) but it is a great way to understand what elements of your site are losing you conversions or impacting your brand.
– If you are planning to present – find a way that humanises you and moves away from standard slides –
Following Hila was a great panel discussion on “Making a Career in Big Data”, featuring Bob “I’ve got earrings” Page, Joe “My name is a short poem” Megibow and John “Thank goodness I don’t have a nickname yet” Elder. This was fantastic because it featured people with real experience in the industry who have caused actual positive change to business success. These boys are titans. There was nerd-swooning everywhere – it was like The Beatles had been reborn as nerds.
– Before you talk about working successfully in the industry, change the industry! –
Something I missed in person on Monday was the announcement by Jim Sterne that the Web Analytics Association had just been rebranded as the Digital Analytics Association. This was not a surprise, given Jim’s message to the membership in January in which he said that the web analytics industry was too narrow a description and we were working in the digital analytics industry. What did surprise me was the reaction from the membership and industry non-members. Even though this was, to all intents and purposes, a label change, this simple thing appeared to inspire current members and attract new members. I’m enough of a branding/marketing squint to understand some of the “why”, but this re-brand appeared to make people really feel a new surge in relevance for the association – which is great!
– Don’t underestimate the power of perception –
During eMetrics, I was mercilessly (and fairly) teased for having the biggest camera at the conference, despite running from every camera that was pointed in my general direction. You can see the pictures I took here.
The Tuesday of eMetrics was filled with Digital Analytics Association goodness. The Membership Committee hosted the regular industry meeting which featured updates from the various committees, a question-and-answer session on the re-brand, news that there are now more than 100 Certified Web Analysts (who will become Certified Digital Analysts) and much more – including a free lunch. Although, there is no such thing as a free lunch – so now I wonder what that asparagus-esque stuff was.
That evening was the second annual Digital Analytics Association Awards for Excellence Gala (or DAAAfEG for short). A LOT of work went into putting this event on. The work was taken on by a clowder of cats herded by the ever-stoic Aaron Maas. One of the highlights of the night was the keynote by Ryan Zander of Sportvision. ”Changing The Game: How Data and Analytics Moved from the Boardroom to the Clubhouse” included case studies from major League Baseball on data collection and analysis challenges. I kid you not, every boy in the house (and a good 98% of the girls) was agape at just how entertaining and engaging this talk was. I’d love to share a video of it, but, you know, you really should just have bought a ticket. Next year’s Gala will be during the April eMetrics in San Francisco, so get ready!
The best part of the night was, of course, seeing all the award nominees take the stage to accept their finalist awards and then watching the winners being announced. The competition featured some amazing companies and individuals this year. The winners were:
Web Analytics Rising Star: Anne Cable (Dell)
Practitioner of the Year: Isabelle Mouli-Castillo (Dell)
Most Influential Industry Contributor: Gary Angel (Semphonic)
New Technology of the Year: Tableau Software
Most Influential Agency, Vendor or Group: Web Analytics Demystified
- Eric Feinberg’s Hair
- Stephen Few’s presentation on dashboards
- April Wilson (generally)
- John Lovett’s smooth presentation on Social Media Metrics Secrets
- The amazing artists who were creating art during some of the presentations (see below)
- Bursting balloons to win prizes at a lunch sponsored by Stratigent
- Seeing June Dershewitz win the DAA President’s Award (and being “lost for words” because of laryngitis)
- Meeting Jim Novo and Peter Sanborn in person
Many thanks for the memories to: Jim Sterne, Mike Levin, Shannon Taylor, the Membership Committee, the Gala Committee, the Committee Committee, Mr & Mrs Potato-Head