eMetrics Toronto 2011 was excellent. A huge thank you and congratulations to Andrea Hadley, Jim Sterne, my colleagues on the advisory committee, Syncapse for putting on a great Web Analytics Wednesday, and the Rising Media team for putting it on and pulling it off.

Many points of view were generated and shared.

The top five that generate the very most interesting questions (for me) are:

5. Laura Callow delivered a convincing arguement in favor of testing regardless of much traffic a given site or page is doing. Traffic will eventually accumulate for significance. She also presented the relationship (dare I say correlation?) between page load time and conversion on site, and, in a delightful twist, linked it page tagging and the impact on conversion. Brilliant. Does the a culture of testing, if sustainable and feasible, drive incremental improvements in usability simple because the organization becomes more aware of usability?

Ie. The testing may generate returns, but the institution of testing itself generates better results overall because the institution simply exists.

4. Patrick Glinski reminded / told analysts to structure their analysis so that an experience designer will actually want to use the output. The message was taken very seriously. We need to really talk about how analysts communicate with others more broadly, and his design-optimization cycle. Why don’t/won’t designers and analysts work together more often?

3. Amy Sample spoke compellingly about the role of video and linking it to their objectives at PBS. 1/3 of all visits to the site are motivated by video. How should intra-video navigation (scrubbing) be isolated, treated and considered?

2. Simon Austin identified four types of social media measurement and how he treats each one. Most notably, monitoring (buzz, listening, so on) is separate from counting (fans, actions, so on). He talked about some metrics that have credibility with the CFO and generally about how we treat money in marketing performance. Will accountants and people in finance reach a point where they’ll be comfortable with the ambiguity in marketing analytics?

1. Dan Quinn, Angus Frame, and Louis-Jacques Darveau gave excellent pointers on how analysts should speak to decision makers and executives. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard such advice delivered from decision makers themselves at a conference. Dan Quinn argued convincingly that marketers are irresponsible in their budget allocations to digital relative to TV, and showed empirical evidence to that effect. He was realistic in an assessment of how far MMM can get us. Angus Frame reminded everybody that conversations amongst analysts about methodology and definitions, are not a value add when outsiders are present. Angus advised that analysts must always bring them a point of view, and while honesty and transparency is appreciated, a clear point of view is essential. They urged analysts to use executive-speak, not analyst speak. Does that mean we ought to sacrifice descriptive accuracy (accounts, http cookies) for descriptive simplicity (lead, customer, person, people)?

The questions are open for discussion. I’m asking you – what do you think?

Namedropping Ahoy!

It was Hemash Bhatti’s first time as an expert panelist, his second eMetrics conference, and he did delivered. Congratulations on a great presentation!

Mark Dykeman presented relevant data about the size of digital relative to TV. His point was to remind us just how massive TV is in marketing. I got it.

Dave Hamel wrote out an action list throughout the entire conference. He placed a check box next to each point. This, I think, is an absolutely brilliant way to make something actionable. He has posted his own link-baiting article about eMetrics Toronto – “The Six Things I learned from eMetrics “they” don’t want you to know about“. It’s increasingly some what of a meme among frustrated analysts. The sad reality is…such tactics really work. We’re both seeing strong incremental lifts in traffic as a result.

It was great seeing everybody again – Jason Dong and Jose Davila (WAA Research Committee and serial contributors), June Li, Stephane Hamel (Now at Cardinal Path with Alex and John – who were also nice to see), Jacques Warren for his excellent advice on securing a publisher and for asking about Granovetter, which was a highlight. I really enjoyed seeing Alex Brasil and our labor market and leadership troubles in Toronto. I enjoyed meeting Angie Brown and her contribution to the KPI panel. Gscott is the most on brand analyst in the world. No slight to the names I may have missed – I remember many faces but I’m horrid at names.

You can see how much value there is from attending an eMetrics Toronto. See you next year!