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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!


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


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


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!



(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!


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:


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!