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September 2017 – Creative that Counts with Beth Sibbring

For our September event, Beth Sibbring from Tangible Impact walked us through the concept of a “creative intervention” when it comes to digital creative. But, before she could get to that, emcee Dave Culbertson closed his eyes and took us all the way back to 1979 — the year that Compuserve was founded:

He assured this was a number of years before he worked for Beth there!

Beth then walked us through common pitfalls she sees companies fall into when it comes to developing, testing, and optimizing the creative for their digital campaigns. She opened with this statement from comScore ARS Executive Vice President Jeff Cox:

“Based on our years of research…we’ve determined that the quality of the creative is four times more important than other characteristics of the media plan in generating sales.”

Yet, as Beth noted, a slew of other factors often drive the actual creative that hits the internet:

  • Adherence to production specs and brand standards…without the creatives being accountable for campaign results
  • Existing creative that already exists…even if it’s not the most appropriate for the campaign or tactic
  • Deadlines that slip in the planning and buying phases of the effort such that the creative becomes a “just get us something as fast as you can” exercise
  • The design opinions of one or more members of the brand team…who do not have training or knowledge about best practices for the medium

And, of course, Beth used several examples to illustrate the importance of testing multiple creative approaches and planning for and committing to mid-campaign optimization!

Beth’s complete slide deck is below:


As an added bonus for the (WAW) old-timers at the event, the third original co-founder of Columbus WAWs wayyyy back in 2008, Scott Zakrajsek, made his triumphant return to central Ohio after an 8-year hiatus in Boston. Three weeks after his return to Columbus, he returned to WAW!

(Is it, then, only a matter of time before Monish Datta, too, returns?)

July 2017 – Sports Marketing in Digital with Jeff Eldersveld

For our July event, we mixed things up by heading to Nationwide Arena to be hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets digital marketing team. Jeff Eldersveld, the Director of Digital Marketing an Analytics for the Blue Jackets, walked through the role of digital in a professional sports league — the dual calculations of immediate return (a ticket sale) versus lifetime value, the importance of being ready to respond to team news that fans will care about, and the challenges of marketing when a major driver of results is the team’s performance.

Click on the image below to view Jeff’s presentation:

Following Jeff’s presentation, we took a tour behind the scenes at Nationwide Arena, including walking out on center ice (well, center concrete — the season has been over for a bit at this point!):

We even had a few of the players stop by, and, wow, did their body proportions surprise us!

 

May 2017 Recap – Infomercial Principles in Ecommerce

For our May event, we were at Cardinal Solutions in the Arena District. We thought Tony Zara was going to tie the world of digital to the world of infomercials, which have been around since 1949. And he did that, but he kept going back… all the way to 1923. Attendees all received a reading assignment!

Tony walked us through the “infomercial formula” and how it can be applied to direct response digital marketing and eCommerce:

  1. Give the background / Set the expectation
  2. Demonstrate the solution
  3. Build trust
  4. Cross-sell / upsell
  5. Promise to exceed
  6. Ask for the order

Applying Infomercial Concepts to Direct Response Digital Marke…

Applying Infomercial Concepts to Direct Response Digital Marketing with Tony ZaraThis month hosted by Cardinal Solutions in the Arena District.“It chops! It dices! It slices! And it can be yours for $19.99!”Did you know that our WAW community has someone who was an infomercial pitchman in his younger days? Did you know he now runs digital analytics for Rogue Fitness?Tony Zara has taken some of the concepts that have been proven to work in the infomercial world and applied them to digital marketing… and it works! Come hear his tale, as it’s an approach you could apply, too.

Posted by Columbus Web Analytics Wednesdays on Wednesday, May 10, 2017

You can view the recorded video from the Facebook Livestream (courtesy of Mixt Media), or check out the slides.

 

February 2017 Recap – What the Hell Is R?

There were a couple of announcements before this month’s event kicked off:

  • Event dates for Columbus WAWs are set for the year, and there is now a link at the top of the Upcoming Events page that you can use to put placeholders on your calendar for the whole year.
  • The first MeasureCamp unconference ever in the U.S. will be in Cincinnati on Saturday, May 13th. It’s free! Register, and consider running a session!

Following the announcements, Tim Wilson from Analytics Demystified explained what the programming platform R is, why he spent 2016 trying to ramp up his skills with it, and how he quickly realized that, while he initially was just looking to learn a new language, he quickly realized that he really needed to broaden his horizons.

The below isn’t the exact presentation Tim presented, but it’s pretty damn close:

December 2016 Recap — Holiday Awesomeness with Tommy Plank

Our 8-year tradition has been “no formal presentation at our December event.” This year was no exception. This was also the third year that we held our December event at Plank’s Cafe & Pizzeria, and we can’t imagine holding it anywhere else!

Proprietor Tommy Plank circulated freely, telling stories as he does!

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We had a few web analytics luminaries from out-of-town stop by!

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But, mainly, we had Tommy Plank — a Columbus treasure!

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We raised a few glasses to the digital analytics community in Columbus, which is strong and getting stronger. We hope everyone has a happy holiday and a new year filled with personal and professional successes…and attendance at many WAWs!

April 2016 Recap – Collaboration in Columbus

Our fourth event of the year was on April 13th at The Ohio State Bar Association. Initially, we’d planned to have someone from The Columbus Collaboratory come in and talk to us about who they are and what they’re up to. After all, as a collaboration among seven of the most prominent companies in central Ohio, it’s one of the most exciting startups in Central Ohio. And one of their main focus areas is analytics!

Well, the “someone” we got was Ben Blanquera, VP of Delivery and Experience at The Columbus Collaboratory (by day; by night, he’s “Tech/Startup Connector Extraordinaire”), and he brilliantly proposed that we broaden the topic to be “Collaboration in Columbus.” He then proceeded to pull together a roster of speakers that managed to blow the attendees away with the breadth of exciting, scrappy, high impact collaborations going on in town. The firehose went something like this:

Tony R. Wells, The Wells Foundation

Tony spoke about the power of bringing together technology from OSU with a little bit of direct investment and then negotiations and partnerships with for-profit organizations to develop technologies and services that positively impact both central Ohio, but also national organizations.

Tony Wells

 

Roman Holowinsky, The STEAM Factory

Technically, Roman is a math professor at The Ohio State University — a local school you may have heard of. They pay his salary, at least. But, Roman spoke to us about The STEAM Factory, which is an OSU-affiliated, bootstrapped organization that pulls together lecturers and students from across many different departments at OSU to tackle innovative projects while also providing community engagement. Fun fact: a few ordinary citizens discovered they were color blind as a result of one of those community engagements last year!

 

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(Side note: the author of this blog post dropped a few of his favorite math jokes on Roman after the presentation. Roman graciously chuckled. One of the other co-organizers of WAWs later pointed out that he is sure — at a 99% confidence level — that Roman had heard those jokes many times before. The author of this post also realizes the the “99% confidence level” joke included in this side note is a statistics joke, and statistics is not actually math.)

Aladin Gohar, ICF Summit 2016

Aladin is a long-time community builder in central Ohio, most notably as one of the co-founders of IT Martini. But, he spoke to us about the Intelligent Community Forum, which is a global organization that promotes “intelligent communities.” Did you know Columbus was actually named the Intelligent Community of the Year in 2015? Pretty cool, right? As such, Columbus is now hosting this year’s ICF Summit, when the finalists and past finalists will be coming to our fair city and checking out many cool aspects of Columbus. And, the 2016 recipient will be named. If you’re interested in learning more, or if you’re interested in attending at a very steep discount, shoot Aladin a note at aladin at itmartini dot com. Just tell him that you found out about the summit through Web Analytics Wednesday, and he’ll hook you up!

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Ben Blanquera, The Columbus Collaboratory… and more

Ben gave us an overview of The Columbus Collaboratory, but he also spoke to a number of other startup- and collaboration-oriented groups and activities in Columbus:

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All in all, it was a pretty information-packed and energizing evening!

January 2016 Recap – We Came, We Shared

Our January WAW was a group discussion. Attendees filled in the blank in the statement:

By the end of 2016, when it comes to digital analytics, I’d like to be able to say ______________.

We spent 45 minutes discussing the thoughts shared by various attendees, which are summarized below.

Build R Knowledge and Apply It

The attendee felt like he had nearly universally heard, “It’s a steep learning curve…but totally worth it once it all clicks,” so he’s going to try to make it over that learning curve and see if he can get the tool clicking for him (and, he hopes, in a way that he can use some of the same scripts across multiple clients. This led to an “R vs. Python” discussion, as well as a minor diversion into “Tableau vs. Domo.”

“Solve” Referral Spam

Everyone working with Google Analytics is fighting referral spam, or, really, data quality issues writ large. This led to some very-near-to-cbuswaw references:

Despite the temptation to do so (because it was discussed), none of the links above have monkied-with campaign tracking parameters included.

Convert All Clients to Use a TMS

Rather than 2016 being the fifth consecutive “Year of Mobile,” how about making it “The Year of the TMS?” This was the third thought that was in the technical weeds, but we chatted about the value that a tag management system can deliver (and the lingering ill effects of TMS vendors initially leading with “no need to work with IT!”). We also discussed that a TMS is still just a tool. It can be a mechanism to think about and develop better data governance, but it doesn’t automatically handle data governance without some process development and on-going rigor!

Get Stakeholders to Use the Data They Get

The Analyst’s Dilemma: I built it…but they didn’t come. The two points attendees made here were:

  • Lead with “insights” rather than “the data” (full disclosure: the scribe/author of this post has a gag reflex he has to fight when platitudes use the “i” word…)
  • Include stakeholders in the measurement planning process (throwback WAW! February 2011 presentation was on campaign measurement planning)

“Figure Out” Facebook/Social Media Analytics

Oy. We were getting pretty ambitious by this point.

Figure Out the “Magic Number” for Each Stakeholder

What’s a magic number? In baseball, it’s the combined number of games a team needs to win or another team needs to lose in order for a team to win their division.

That is not what this attendee was referring to. Rather, it was a very neat little way of saying, “KPI:” figuring out what one metric is most critical for any given stakeholder, and then making sure it’s being measured and reported accurately.

Get a Better Understanding of Data Collection

Things used to be “simple” — a log file. Then page tagging (client side JavaScript) data collection came along. And then social media. And mobile. And now a drift back to server-side data collection. It behooves the analyst to have a good handle of where the bits and bytes are flowing and how they’re being grabbed and recorded.

It was a lively discussion overall!