Omniture Summit 2011: My Highlights

I was lucky enough to attend the 2 day Omniture Summit EMEA this year in London and I thought I would write about it as it definitely was THE digital party of the year. The reason I loved that event so much was because Omniture have managed to make it constructive and entertaining at the same time. To put things into context, how many of you have been to a friend’s party which was constructive and how many of you have been to a work or career event which was truly fun?…
I think the 5 minute Youtube video is probably a good place to start.
Now, let’s cut to the chase and let me present you with my highlights of the Summit:

The constructive (and fun) highlights:
-Site Catalyst Improvements with Version 15:
1) Data normalization: this will allow us to visualize in a meaningful way sets of data belonging to very different scales. For example, let’s say that you want to graph your number of on site searches (assume you have 15,000 a day) and your number of sales (assume you have 50 a day). Without normalization, you would not be able to see your sales on the graph, let alone see any correlations between the two sets of data.
2) Real time segmentation: I have not used Omniture Discovery yet but I have had a demo of it and it was quite impressive what you could do with this tool from a segmentation perspective. Omniture were saying that some of the Discovery segmentation functionality would be present in version 15.
3) Integration with Test and Target: I think this is really cool to have your A/B testing tool integrated with your analytics tool. First of all because you can segment your tests based on previous on site events but also because you come one step closer to having all your analytics data in one place.
4) I should not be mentioning the fact that bounce rate is now a default metric, nor should I be talking about the unique visitor metric being available for any selected time range as these are not improvements in my opinion but rather problems that got addressed. Anyway, I thought I would mention them as I know they will make the life of many web analysts a lot easier…

-The web analytics framework byBrent Dykes:
I thought Brent’s framework was excellent as it showed all the parameters that are required for a company to be successful at web analytics. You need people, tools and process but you need to have a clear strategy around all this. Last but not least, you need to have the buy in from leadership. My thoughts on that would be that I would love to know how many companies have everything in place, particularly how many of them do have web analytics process in place. In my experience, process is the most challenging child of all…

-Optimize paid and organic search together:
I also quite liked this session, (partly because I like Search a lot). The session was all about how paid and organic search should be a lot more integrated with each other. Companies should have one search goal as opposed to one paid search goal and one organic search goal. I was struck by this because in essence this makes sense. After all, one could argue this is the search engines channel and there should be no separation. However, in my experience so far, I have always seen a clear border between these 2 channels: from the reporting side of things to the people who do the work.
The speakers then presented Search Centre +, this tool combines your paid and organic activities together; it is more than a traditional bid management tool in a sense that it allows you to shape your paid search bidding strategy around organic rankings: yours but also your competitors’.

-Provocative thoughts on web analytics by Matthew Todd:
I really liked Matthew’s session as it was so down to earth to the point where it became inspiring. He talked about the measurement problems that the web analytics industry should be addressing by encouraging a lot more transparency. As an example, we know that people use multiple devices to access the Internet everyday (I use 3 different ones on a daily basis) and this is bound to have a large impact on your uniques numbers.
Matthew then went into how web analytics can sometimes draw an incredibly harsh and simple version of the truth. For example, how many of us report on the success of a campaign by only looking at the number of sales and not pay attention to any other actions taken on the site, some of which could very much likely lead to a sale at a later stage?

-Social media by Brian Solis
I must state that his presentation was a true breadth of fresh air. At last someone talked about social media intelligently. Brian mentioned the existing gap between what companies think their customers want from social media and what customers actually really want from it. Brian then insisted on the fact that companies need to understand why they are doing social media otherwise they are bound to fail.

The fun (and constructive) highlights:
-Thursday night: the party with live dancing, painting, singing and great food all night.
-I really enjoyed Ann Lewnes talk, she is the SVP Corporate Marketing for Adobe. I liked it because first, it was good to see a woman on that big stage and also because she was saying that marketing was the new finance and as an online marketing person, it is very good to hear.
-Everyone got a copy of BOLD how to be brave in business and win by Shaun Smith right after Shaun’s talk.
-Brett Error’s talk, Brett is the VP and chief technologist for Omniture. Brett was the last speaker of the Summit and Friday afternoon was just the perfect time for him to come on stage, he really entertained all of us with his style, jokes and funny videos.
-I got to meet Adam Greco, Adam is a web analytics guru who currently works for Web Analytics Demystified. Adam and I had a chat about the different web analytics career paths that one can take; that conversation was very interesting.
-Finally, I ended my time at the Summit over a glass of wine with two web analytics consultants Peter O’Neill and Steve Carrod, both of them have their own consultancy, respectively L3 Analytics and Optibeat. We had a good chat on counter evars and tips on how to implement Site Catalyst.

So, to conclude, I can not wait for next year’s Summit!
PS: I have one thing to suggest to Omniture: why not have official networking slots? There were 1,300 attendants from all over the globe this year so what a fantastic opportunity to meet new people or to meet with your usual analytics geeks. The advantage of having official slots organized is that people can plan in advance who they would like to meet.

Thanks for reading


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