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SEMangel
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“Where are we going?” is one of those questions that seem essential to our human way of thinking. Immediately followed, of course, by the childlike, “Are we there yet?” A big part of our job as analysts is to answer those questions for the organizations we work for. But when it comes to our own profession, there’s no simple forecasting method or tool for telling us where analytics is going. Is big data and machine learning our future? Or will we all be story-tellers, making analytic movies, on location? Who knows? Awhile back I blogged briefly on a topic I’ve... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at SemAngel
What are the top issues in Digital Analytics? It's hard to ignore the tidal wave that is big data, but Data Democratization, Optimization, Personalization and Talent are my top four choices. Here's why, along with the conversations at X Change that are worth joining if you agree... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2014 at SemAngel
Gary, I’ve written so much already, I hesitate to summarize the series as you suggested. The 8 points you pulled out do a pretty good job in and of themselves. Instead, let me focus on the 5 things companies can do right now to optimize their optimization program – and I will include some of the key themes and take-aways from our conversation. Stop listening to consultants. There is no such thing as “one-size-fits-all” best practices in digital optimization. Stop listening to consultants who try to tell you there is. Best practice blogs and books should be considered “one size... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2014 at SemAngel
Gary, I’m going to do my best to “bring it home” as you requested in your last post but that’s a lot to cover in a single post. Hopefully, I won’t lose folks along the way! Stick with me, everyone – I promise to make it worth your time. Measuring the success or ROI of any program or team can be challenging. Analytics teams have struggled with this for way longer than optimization teams have even been in existence so you know very well how challenging it can be to devise a way to measure both operational efficiency and impact.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2014 at SemAngel
With our much abbreviated timeline, now is indeed the time to register for X Change. What makes X Change special? The answer is simple. The format. When I started X Change eight years ago, my idea was pretty simple. I go to a lot of conferences. I speak at a lot of conferences. I’ve gotten to almost enjoy the speaking (I’m a nervous Nellie by nature) and I try to add real value. But sitting in an audience listening to anybody’s presentation is, even at its best, a somewhat dissatisfying experience. There are questions you’d like to ask, things you’d... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2014 at SemAngel
Kelly, It’s been hugely fun to do this this series (and the one on Personalization with Jim – who still owes me a post!) – so thanks. I don’t know about you, but the back-and-forth sure seems to make it easier to write this much content. As I mentioned offline, I’m hoping we can put all this together into a Whitepaper for Q4 as a little something to remember our initial Analytics Club foray by. Before we wrap up, though, there are a few final issues I wanted to get your thoughts on. I’ll start by picking up a thread... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2014 at SemAngel
Gary, Sorry for the delay in my reply! It’s not due to lack of interest, I assure you. In fact, your last post really hit the nail on the head of one of my biggest pet peeves around optimization programs – namely that they so often fail to recognize and/or adequately communication their incredibly important place within the analytics and business intelligence organizations. Advanced analytics are so important in understanding the past and present and in helping to guide what should be the focus of the future. But as you so rightly point out, you can only analyze data you... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2014 at SemAngel
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Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (but not too long) It’s been a long wait, I know, but X Change registration is now open. So take a break from college football, grilling, and back to school and REGISTER NOW! Getting the Website up on the new architecture took a while, but all systems are go. We have the most Huddle sessions ever, an incredible array of topics, the usual A-List of enterprise measurement leaders across every industry, and a spectacular setting and venue to enjoy. If you're focused on digital analytics, this is the one Conference you should not... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2014 at SemAngel
Kelly, Terrific post. I think your five steps capture a large and important part of how enterprises ought to think about the integration of testing and analytics. Everything, from the deep integration of segmentation to the use of customer satisfaction impact is, I think, dead-on. In fact, I think we’ve done such a good job covering this that I want to delve into a slightly different topic; namely, the way that a testing program can be used by an analytics team (and an organization) to answer fundamental questions that are impossible to cull out of any analytics method, no matter... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2014 at SemAngel
Hey Gary – Whew! Back from my week long family vacation to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest beaches and ready to dig back in (after digging OUT from the work waiting upon my return). I’ve read through your most recent post a few times to get me back on track and I think I’ve answered all the lingering questions in this post – though don’t hesitate to call me out if I miss something. I am still at least partly day dreaming of the windy, cloudy, beautiful shores of Washington. Let’s start with your assertion that a good creative brief... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2014 at SemAngel
Jim, Great post – there is so much stuffed in here that I hardly know where to begin. Like deciding which present to open on a particularly good Christmas morning! Maybe here: “Real-time decisioning probably isn’t over-rated but real-time scoring is.” I think that’s a good re-statement and, in fact, I think it’s true to the original intent of what you wrote. Real-time scoring is at the heart of most fancy personalization solutions, but because it involves some pretty daunting technical challenges, it usually ends up being both difficult and expensive. So if you’re right and it can be dispensed... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at SemAngel
Hi Gary – First off, and I am being dead serious, is Kelly outsourcing her blogging efforts? Because she is killing me so far in this endeavor, there has to be a team of writers at her disposal or something. All I have is the infinite monkey theorem at work (hence the delay in my retort). To answer your first question, YES! Cardinality is key. If you only have 3 possible offers then it’s not hard to use your run of the mill testing platform and do a hack job to pipe in nightly model scores as one of the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2014 at SemAngel
Whew. This keeping up with the Joneses (or Wortham’s and Hazen’s) is hard! I know I keep promising that we’ll move on to discussing how analytics should drive testing and get past the ways it doesn’t (and I’m hoping this post will be transitional to that), but I can’t help myself from throwing out a few more thoughts around creative briefs. I liked your thoughts on telling a story – particularly around audience segments and use cases. No big surprise. That’s how our two-tiered segmentation is supposed to work and it’s specifically meant to find and help flesh out testing... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2014 at SemAngel
Jim, You’re right, of course, the vast majority of companies don’t do even the most basic personalization. Given that, I think you’re point about real-time decisioning is intriguing. You said: “I honestly think true real-time decisioning is overrated unless you are in select industries. I really do. I think you can do a lot with nightly models and reference the scores in conjunction with rules you have set that are grounded in behavioral analysis. Often that stuff probably doesn’t drastically change intra-day.” I think that’s huge. I laid out a ton of different personalization options in some earlier posts and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2014 at SemAngel
Hey Gary – You’re absolutely right that companies continue to tell us that the greatest bottleneck to their testing process is creative. Should it be? NO!! Bottlenecks should be due to your site traffic – never your analytics, creative or development or you’re not getting maximum benefit from your program. So why is creative most frequently the bottleneck? If we’re talking copy only – there’s really no excuse as you point out. BUT – when we’re talking UX and design – well – that takes more time and those people tend to be very busy folks being pulled every which... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2014 at SemAngel
I hate being only mostly right! Before we dive down into what we mean by analytics driving testing and how that might/should work, I wanted to talk a little bit more about pure-creative testing. I saw a presentation recently by one of the 2012 Obama team and she talked extensively about the email testing they did. They had four full-time writers cranking out emails. This was just on the donor side of the house. Four full-time writers! God knows how many people there were generating creative for the whole campaign. Naturally, the writers had different styles and often took very... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2014 at SemAngel
Indeed, Gary it has been a long road to finally put fingers to keyboard to talk virtually about this topic. I am not sure you truly want me hijacking your blog for a while but away we go….release the Krakken! Let me somewhat correct you in what I was finding with regards to personalization. A lot of this experience comes prior to EY but still holds true for the most part. The honest truth is most organizations aren’t doing a lot of personalization at all, nothing. Not even low hanging fruit like looking at previous purchase or content-consumption behavior to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2014 at SemAngel
Talking Personalization [Jim Hazen and I have been talking about Personalization and the appropriate technology stack since his days at SAS before he joined Semphonic/EY. Back then, we talked about doing a white paper together on the best approach to creating a personalization stack. Since that never quite came off, we’ve decided to tackle the topic as a dialog in my blog. So over the next 1-2 weeks we’re just going to exchange posts and thoughts on the topic.] Jim, First, let me say how excited I am to be talking this over – it’s been a long time coming!... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at SemAngel
Gary, First, let me say you’re right….mostly. Second, a caveat – many optimization experts will claim that everything they say is the Truth and the only way forward. I do not claim that is the case with any of what I’m about to say. Rather – I claim it is *mostly* true and following this philosophy of testing and learning has a nearly 0% likelihood of failing to provide not just good results – but long-term, continuous improvement for your digital properties. It is not the ONLY way. I do believe it is the best way. Now – with that... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at SemAngel
Analytics Club Latest Post - Series Finale by Kelly Wortham Like most of us, I waste a fair amount of time reading on the internet. Some very small portion of this reading is legitimately useful. Most is just distraction. But among the most pleasant of those distractions is something called the Slate Movie Club. I’m a regular reader of Slate but more for the cultural and arts stuff than the politics, and among the features I like the best are the times when Slate assembles a small group of critics and they sustain a multi-day dialog on a topic. The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at SemAngel
[Kelly Wortham and I have been talking optimization at X Change for years. Now that she’s part of the team here, we’ve been working on a piece together around building an Optimization Center of Excellence in the enterprise. Kelly also leads a regular group of testing folks who meet every month or so do discuss enterprise optimization programs.] Kelly, We’ve been working on a piece that captures a key theme for our practice – that analytics should drive testing. Naturally, we both believe that’s true, and it’s a theme I want to explore in some detail. But I wanted to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at SemAngel
Personalization may not be as controversial, discussed, or intriguing as attribution, but it’s ultimately rather more important. I didn’t really intend it this way, but framing attribution as a problem around lift also makes attribution and personalization more closely related. Every marketing touch is a kind of personalization – singling out a distinct pathway to conversion that may generate incremental lift. Personalization is the set of techniques you use to tune a specific touch to generate maximum lift. So personalization and attribution aren’t, like “hot” and “cold” - the same concept along a subjective relation – they are more like... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at SemAngel
My last post on attribution generated quite a bit of comment. The comment thread on LinkedIn (where I’ve just recently begun posting) was particularly robust. I don’t usually have time during the week to review comments or reply, but I think there’s enough thought-provoking material in the various comment threads to warrant some additional thoughts. In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary of my thoughts on attribution. Essentially, the need for attribution analysis has been driven by the frequency of multi-touch behavior in an acquisition life-cycle. Traditionally, we’ve given credit to the marketing campaign that sourced a visitor... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2014 at SemAngel
Attribution – assigning the proper credit for a conversion to a campaign - is a critical part of digital analytics. After all, digital is inherently multi-touch. And in a multi-touch environment, you can’t optimize properly unless you can assign credit accurately. That’s why nearly every digital analytics professional and every digital marketer knows that simplistic attribution methods like “last touch” don’t work. We’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about and working on attribution in our practice recently, and before I continue my series on Personalization I wanted to capture the gist of a hot internal discussion that is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2014 at SemAngel
I spent most of this past week in Berlin at the Digital Analytics Hub. It was great to see the EU crowd and get at least a few chances to experience early summer in Berlin. You might think that in a flat, digital world, the differences in practice between the U.S. and Europe would be slight. But in tribute to the amazing stickiness of culture, that's just not the case. In general, the perception is that Europe is still a few years behind the U.S. when it comes to digital analytics and that’s largely true – at least outside of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2014 at SemAngel