I asked five questions flowing out of eMetrics Toronto, posted on May 1, 2011.

Some editorial to contribute. No hard evidence by way of a survey yet. (You’re all surveyed out anyway.)

Does the a culture of testing, if sustainable and feasible, drive incremental improvements in usability simple because the organization becomes more aware of usability?

  • If the dependent variable is clear, uncontested, and lends itself to a direct attribution model, a culture of testing is likely to drive incremental improvements.
  • There exists a ‘bathtub’ point where the marginal returns on optimization are consumed entirely by headcount and technology attempting that optimization.

Why don’t/won’t designers and analysts work together more often?

  • The Excel communication medium hampers the relationship.
  • The Photoshop communication medium hampers the relationship.
  • The distance on the org chart between creatives and analytics/intelligence folk is the greatest barrier.

How should intra-video navigation (scrubbing) be isolated, treated and considered?

  • Time spent scrubbing and waiting to load should be recorded and non-additive to total time spent. The entire purpose of the Time Spent Watching metric is to make traditional broadcasters feel good and smart (it’s a cooptation metric). Since time spent scrubbing (changing the channels) is of marginal value to TV broadcasters (pre-Tivo, though some executives absolutely love this kind of analytics), it should be of marginal concern in digital, especially since you can’t scrub through commercials online (a horrible design pattern since I’ve already seen the Ontario Trillium Fund commercial 45+ times in two weeks, and guaranteed, the Government of Ontario is ill serviced by such an idiotic saturation model.) The insight that may be harvested from such behavior is of analytical interest, which is why it ought to be, ideally, recorded as such.
  • Great shows are cancelled based on another metric, not on scrubbing.

Will accountants and people in finance reach a point where they’ll be comfortable with the ambiguity in marketing analytics?

  • Likely. I’ve met one person who has made the finance-analytics transition. He’s okay with it.

Does that mean we ought to sacrifice descriptive accuracy (accounts, http cookies) for descriptive simplicity (lead, customer, person, people)?

  • Likely. If you accept commercial success as a leading indicator, simple descriptive wins every time.

I’ll test this editorial on you, the reader, before I’ll seriously start putting together a survey or some experiment.