Archive | WAW Recaps

August 2016 Recap – SEM Best Practices with Joe Ebbeler

August’s cbuswaw found us back at Rev1 Ventures hosted by Clarivoy to learn about search engine marketing from Abbott’s Joe Ebbeler.

First things first, thanks to everyone for turning out — one of our best crowds in a while! And, while we all enjoy free food and beverages, it’s clear that the real draw was the topic. Search engine marketing, SEM, (which does include SEO y’know!) is responsible for most sites’ traffic, so hearing the approach to it from someone who deals with SEM every day for well-known brands like Ensure and Pedialyte made for a session with a return on investment too high to pass up.

In addition to the Chinese food, we were promised digital marketing sandwiches. That promise was fulfilled, in your choice of regular or open-faced:

Please join us again next month, when Drew Goettemoeller* returns to Columbus for a session on business intelligence reporting beyond Excel.

*Helpful spelling mnemonic from Drew – There’s an ‘e’ every third letter.

July 2016 Recap – Video Analytics with Tim Schmoyer

Deep in the catacombs beneath the German Village an inquisitive group of video optimization wisdom-seekers happened upon an oracular YouTubian dispensing analytical knowledge to all comers…

Or… in the well-lit and comfortable confines of Brick An American Kitchen, our July meeting with Tim Schmoyer of the Video Creators Channel was lively and informative!

Tim covered the important but often overlooked methods of measuring and improving our video efforts. YouTube is the second largest search engine around and its content is included in search results from the first, so it’s not enough to just upload any old video and hope that it gets found, because it probably won’t. We learned about the importance of video thumbnails, titles, and engaging with our viewers in order to try and improve our visibility in YouTube.

We also saw some of the video engagement metrics that YouTube provides to us as video creators and what kind of sense we can start making out of those metrics.

Are our users bailing out after just a few seconds? It’s not TV, it’s a “lean in” platform where users have their fingers on the back button. Why are there more than 100 percent of viewers retained at the start of the video? (Apparently that’s from users starting the video over again). We additionally learned to stop using the word “modules” (but only if our analytics tell us to!).

Tim’s slides:

And an intro video from his channel:

Thanks to Tim and everyone who made it out, see you all next time!

May 2016 Recap – Stats for Digital with Dr. Levin

♫ So no one told you stats were gonna be this way,  [ clap x 4 ]
♫ Your r’s a joke,  your model’s broke, your regression’s D.O.A….

Our May event was an engaging overview of statistics for digital practitioners from Dr. Michael Levin of Otterbein University. In a packed room under the watchful eye of the Winking Lizard, Dr. Levin covered some of the basics we should all want to know, and gave some good resources for next steps. Plus for added difficulty, all done with Friends metaphors.


If you are interested in learning more on the topic, you can register for Dr. Levin’s Inferential Statistics on Excel Workshop in July at Otterbein here.

We believe (with a high confidence level) that the number of pictures taken of the final reference slides were good indicator of a strong amount of interest in these resources, so here are the links:

The Cartoon Guide to Statistics
Statistics in Plain in English
Statistics (Dictionary)

Excel Websites:

Statistics Websites: (over Tim’s objection that it doesn’t contain statistically significant statistics content)

Khan Academy


And finally, some of the free dataset sources mentioned:
Survey Data from NORC at University of Chicago
List from Amazon Web Services

We’re taking June off, so we’ll see everyone next time in July!

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!

March 2016 Recap, Jim Sterne

March was an energizing talk from digital analytics legend Jim Sterne on how to become indispensable to your organization, complete with authentic #lobby-bar experience at local beer hall Hofbräuhaus.

Maybe we aren’t all indispensable yet (though we’re hoping not to be “a danger to ourselves and
a menace to society”), but we learned some great tips. Like how to think about where we are now and where our organization might be, as well as important thoughts on where the future may be headed. The future is either killer robots forcing us to do taxonomy for them (it’s worse than being a human battery, but as far as the robots are concerned while we are slow we are smart at that kind of stuff) and/or machine learning becoming more plugged into everything we do.

The cbuswaw “tweet-of-the-night” award, which is an award we are creating this very moment in lieu of a more lengthy and meandering recap is from Dr. Levin who summed up Jim’s points on communication very well as:

February 2016 Recap – Data Collection with Jason Packer

Our February WAW was a presentation by Jason Packer on the details of data collection, when that runs into trouble, and what we can do to clean up our data. A significantly below-average beers per attendee ratio confirms that indeed this is a very sobering topic.

Here are the slides (reference links on the final slide):


WAW regulars may recall in our January meeting that one of our goals for 2016 was to try and get a better understanding of how data collection works and where it’s headed. During said meeting Jason (who is totally not the one writing this recap, because that would be weird, right?) had such a good time that the next morning he woke up to realize he had volunteered to give a talk the following month on that very topic.

Next month, Jim Sterne on becoming indespensible.

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!