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.

4 thoughts on “Top learnings from eMetrics NYC 2011

  1. Pingback: #eMetrics Twitter Archive :

  2. In self defense…

    John said we’re weirdos because we understand the analytics AND the business. AKA: purple squirrels. So – very proud, yes.

    I said that people in front of you who drive too slow are morons and people behind you who drive too fast are idiots. We all know that.

    Well – WAA volunteers, who have day jobs, regular lives, and are willing to work for the WAA for FREE… are people who drive fast and are leaders!!

    And Keystone is right – everything IS amazing.

  3. It’s much funnier OUT of context, Jim 😉 hehehehe. But I loved it. Proud idiot AND weirdo!

  4. Pingback: This Week in Social Analytics #22 at TweetReach Blog

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