Top learnings from eMetrics NYC 2011

eMetrics was held in New York City for the first time this year, and co-located with a number of other conferences, including Predictive Analytics World, Conversion Conference, Google Analytics’ GAUGE and more.

Among some of the takeaways:

Big Data:

  • Companies like eBay and Expedia have been dealing with “big data” for some time now, and the volumes continue to grow. In fact, looking back at the data volumes they had just one year ago, eBay now laughs at the volume.
  • However, we’ll all start dealing with this more, in all areas of business, as companies continue to gather more data from a variety of channels.
  • This brings us to deal with the challenges of data integration and attribution, and we don’t want to – they’re hard! (-Bob Page.)
  • People are still a focus, we need analysts, but we also need technology and machines to support us. The needles are getting smaller, and the haystacks bigger. Machines will need to learn for us to keep up. <Insert Skynet comment here>


  • You will never get it right, your aim is to keep getting closer, and to make your models less wrong. (And if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.)
  • Not up to attribution modeling yet? Even just starting to combine your data sources in Excel is better than nothing.

Know your customer:

  • Your customers are telling you what they want and giving you feedback. LISTEN!
  • More than that, your customers are now in control. They can switch to your competitor at a drop of a hat, and most carry a “store in their pocket” via their mobile device.
  • And in case you’re curious, YOU are not your customer. Stop thinking you know what they want, and listen to them.


  • Mobile isn’t the future. It’s now. (-Bob Page – and with eBay doing $5 billion in mobile in 2011, you can see why!)
  • What was most interesting at this eMetrics was to see mobile become less of a siloed topic, as it has previously, and more just an aspect of the business.


  • User privacy is a challenge for all, but especially in Europe, as countries try to interpret the European Privacy Directive. For lack of a better way to describe it? It’s a mess.
  • There is no real way to summarise all the current views on privacy, because everyone who speaks of it differs. However, there’s one thing we can be sure of – privacy will be different, and perhaps unrecognisable, in ten years, because the current system is not manageable.

We are more than “web” analytics:

  • Multi-channel, attribution, holistic view of the customer – we should no longer be pure “web” analysts. In fact, when Bob Page from eBay talked about the types of analytics they do, there was no mention of web analytics. It is just a channel, and one place in which the company may look at customer analytics, loyalty analytics, etc.

Lessons for analysts:

  • From the mouth of an executive: If the business doesn’t care about the data or metrics you’re providing, it’s because you’re not providing anything that actually matters to the business. (Or in other words, “I don’t care about bounce rate!”) Executives don’t want your metrics, they want your recommendations. They’ll only take so much of, “This is interesting.” Tie it to revenue.
  • Translate data into actionable terms, and then you’ll get action. Don’t just count. Make decisions. Make mistakes. But DO something! There is, of course, a fine line between mistakes that impact your credibility, and mistakes that move your business forward. Make mistakes and learn, just keep moving forward. (-Joe Megibow)

And just for fun:

  • According to John Lovett, we’re all weirdos. (And proud!)
  • According to Jim Sterne, those of us who volunteer to help the WAA are idiots. (Said with love, of course.)
  • According to April Wilson, data is your breasts, and the tool is just the presentation layer. (We all know what matters most!) (Read more.)
  • And according to Keystone, everything is amazing.

If you’re like to read more, feel free to read through the archive of tweets.

#eMetrics Twitter Archive

Some of you may know that I tend to tweet a little at conferences. I don’t bother taking notes, but rather archive all the tweets for the conference hashtag (mine and others’) and use those as my conference notes. (A totally valid lifestyle choice, Jim Sterne! 🙂 )

Since I go the trouble of downloading a Twitter archive, I thought I’d share the archive from eMetrics NYC (held in October 2011), in case anyone would like to to read or analyse.

Twitter archiveemetricstweets.csv
(Happy analysing!)

From these tweets, I like to look at a few things:

  • Most popular words used in tweets (via a word cloud)
  • Number of tweets and retweets from the participating community and
  • Most popular contributors

Topic overview:

eMetrics Word Cloud





Total Tweets:

For 10/19 – 10/21 (the official conference days):

3081 total tweets, including 1176 retweets (38%)
That’s over a thousand tweets per day, and over 40 per hour!

Top hashtag contributors:









(I told you I tweet a little …)

For further information about the #eMetrics community, check out Twitalyzer’s Community Insight report.

Conference Overview

To read an overview of the conference, check out my Top Learnings from eMetrics post.


Career Development for Digital Analysts: WAA Resource Available

Are you a new analyst looking for a way into the digital analytics industry? An analyst looking for advice on how to grow in your role or be promoted? Looking for a new opportunity?

For the past year, the WAA Membership Committee has been working on an initiative to provide WAA members with information regarding careers in the digital measurement industry.

Now available is the WAA’s Career Guide for Digital Analysts, an overview of careers in the digital measurement industry, including:

  • The types of companies analysts can work for;
  • Typical hierarchy and responsibilities for each role;
  • Educational and skill set requirements, including the importance of emerging skill sets; and
  • Advice for those looking to break into the field, be promoted or find a new opportunity.

This was compiled from the insight of a variety of industry members kind enough to spend some time giving an overview of careers in their area – client, vendor, agency and consulting side.

If you are a WAA member, please use this link to download the Career Guide:
Download the WAA Career Guide for Digital Analysts

You will need your WAA website username or password.

If you have forgotten your WAA website username or password, click here to reset your password.

Not a member yet? Join the WAA here.

If you’d like to read more about the WAA initiatives around career development and encouraging careers in Analytics, please read more at the WAA Blog.