eMetrics Boston 2014 Recap: A Web Analytics Consultant’s Perspective

dalmatianLast week I had the pleasure of attending eMetrics Summit Boston at the Seaport World Trade Center as both an Edgewater Web Analtyics consultant and an attendee. For those of you reading this that may have been there yourselves, we were the booth with the cute Dalmatian. 😉

Overall, I really enjoyed the event and was motivated by some of the topics covered. Below are a my highlights:

  • It’s All One Big Decision: AB Testing, Predictive Analytics, and Behavioral Targeting
    Speaker: Matt Gershoff
    I thought Matt brought an interesting perspective to these topics and really came up with a great title for this session. All too often marketing departments decide to get into AB Testing or Behavioral Targeting for the wrong reasons – someone told them they should, or they heard a particular tool was good. It is important to step back and think about the WHY before the WHAT. There are a lot of great tools out there but ultimately optimization is all about positioning your business with the ability to make better decisions.
  • Boston Red Sox – One Year Later
    Keynote Speaker: Tim Zue
    As a Red Sox fan and New England native I must admit a bias here but it was very interesting to see some of the measurement issues a huge sports organization like the Boston Red Sox faces. While most of us can’t directly relate to same specific issues, Tim’s presentation illustrated the importance of out-of-the-box thinking. I found it particularly fascinating how Fenway Park has been transitioning from traditionally more flat pricing into more flexible ticket pricing based on true market value data imported from after-market ticket sales. Seats that have proven higher value have increased over time while others have decreased. Analyzing after market prices to make these adjustments to the primary market was a very clever strategy. Kudos to you Tim Zue.
  • Five Big Analytics Project Lessons
    Speaker: Jim Cain
    Everyone can learn from what someone else has already learned from. A few quick takeaways I found particular useful:

    • Utilizing “Active Community Members” as a social KPI.
    • Making sure web analytics data matches internal systems, “If the CFO doesn’t agree with your numbers, no one else will either.”
    • “Most social analytics tools stink.” It was reassuring for me to hear this from others in the field and I heard essentially the same sentiment in multiple sessions in the two days I was there. I would agree with this in most cases and I have also found most social tools to be extremely overpriced. Working directly with social APIs whenever possible certainly seems like the way to go. It saves money in the long run and allows for greater flexibility. Win win!
    • And while maybe not useful but particularly amusing, “BIG DATA – It doesn’t refer to font size.”
  • It was great to have a break from the normal day to day and attend eMetrics. I’ve personally been inspired to write a few more blog posts on various analytics topics so more on that soon. See you next year Boston!

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