Omniture Summit 2010 In London

Last week I attended the first day of the Omniture Summit 2010 in London, so I thought today I would give my feedback of the day, the things I’ve learned and what I am going to do in the future because of the stuff I’ve learned.  Firstly I should point out that I did something similar for the Omniture Summit in 2008 when we were moving from HBX to SiteCatalyst, so this is a different glance at the subject.


First off, I should mention that there were way more people at this summit than the last one.  I’m reckoning this partly because Omniture has moved away from ‘Web Analytics’ and is far more focussing on Business Analytics and particularly how this feeds into Marketing (hence there were a lot of Marketing execs there).  This theme started the whole thing off with the keynote speech from Josh James – Senior Vice president and general manager of Adobe’s Omniture business unit (he’s still there after speaking last time).

Well this is going to be the decade of the CMO according to Josh James.  Too long have we sat under the decade of the CFO as the optimised their financial systems and processes in the recent years.  Or even the preceding decade of the CIO as the technical systems underwent six sigma review.  Now it is going to be the decade where Chief Marketing Officers are going to be telling the rest of the business what it is that they need to be doing.  And they are going to do this using four steps:

  • Creating engaging experiences so that the users/customers are in touch with the brand
  • Creating a multichannel experience for the user so that not only is the movement from online to offline is smooth, but then to mobile, social, etc
  • Moving from Marketing metrics to proper Business Metrics (like describing page views to how much money we made) – something I am a big advocate of here on this blog (it’s all about outcomes)
  • Strategically informing the other business units what they need to do in order for Marketing to fulfil its role as the salesman
With this in mind Paul Weiskopf joined in the discussion and described how his company (Adobe) acquiring Josh’s (Omniture) is going to help this marriage.  Specifically he was talking around the integration of what he saw as Art and Science.  I’ve never used CS5, so I couldn’t tell you whether it is art or not.  I have used Omniture, although I’m not sure I would describe it as ‘science’.  It’s more an enabler to allow you to do science.  At university we had vacuum condensers whose job it was to lower the temperature at which your substance would boil and we had Infra-red spectroscopy machines to enable you to work out what materials you had made.  I wouldn’t say that either were art or science, but certainly if you knew how to use them and interpret the results then you could do art or science.  There is something additional in my sentence that Omniture tend not to think about (Tip: It’s you).
Anyway with CS5 having the ability to add in tagging to make one part of our job slightly simpler, can only be a good thing.  Integrating CS5 with Test and Target is taking it a step further and will allow you to do many things with your site in not just A/B testing, but also in personalisation (more of that later).

Omniture used to be about it’s Twitter integration through the API.  These days though, they are moving a step ahead in the world, as Matt Belkin showed us in the next presentation.  Particularly he was showing us in this presentation that you can integrate some data into Omniture from Facebook using genesis (presumably the users have to have ‘liked’ your site) and then you can use the Search centre to create adverts on Facebook.  Having your facebook ads in the same place as your search marketing ads is useful, because you can do similar things with the facebook ads in terms of targeting that you can with paid search.  It’s all completely anonymous, but with the connection you can now make your ads targeted to the types of users that you want to aim for (based on the data that you have available from your integration earlier).  This ability to target a user based on age, sex, location, etc allows you to optimise your advertising in a way that you couldn’t before (especially if you have the search centre connected to your outcomes).


After a bit of break, we then went off on our separate ways into a series of different streams.  My first stream started with some advanced power user strategies.  It was here that I was left gawping because I realised that I didn’t know anything at all apart from basic stuff.  But never mind that now, Jan Exner gave us some good ideas about some technical stuff that I can implement as and when someone gives me some budget.  I think I’d like to split this into three sections:


  • eVars as counters: Normally your custom conversion variables are set to text strings so that you can input something that you want to convert against.  But you can also turn your evars into counters.  This means that you could (for example) have a counter on every single page, so that you can find out how many pages users view before they convert
  • Alternatively you could reattribute your evar as a linear evar (as opposed to a first click or last click attribution).   This will enable you to convert equally amongst each of your options in your evar, rather than specifically against the most recent one.  This is brilliant if you have (for example) all your pages being collected in an eVar and you wanted to see which was the most likely one to be viewed if someone converted (or site sections, or pages with promotions on, or however you set up your evars)
  • There are a number of plugins that allow you to do some stuff as standard without having to work out how you’d put it through cookies yourself.  Particularly the two that they walked through are GetPreviousValue (knowledge ID 1419 if you want to know how it was implemented) which will allow you to populate a report with the value on a previous page.  This is brilliant if you want to segment your internal search results against the page that users were on when they typed in the search (remember to set up your correlations).  More particularly the example used was ‘GetPercentagePageViewed’ (10134 in the knowledge base) which allows you to see how much of the page the user is viewing (obviously this needs to be used in conjunction with GetPreviousValue as it get sent on the new page loading)
My next session was on Best Practices for Measuring Social media with Jan Exner again and Steve Hammond.  This session was really focussing around some of the things that we’d bee looking at earlier in terms of monitoring Facebook and other social media.  However this one lead me into a bit of a thought process about how we measure our own social media.  I mean, I’ve written about this sort of stuff lots of times especially when it comes to networking, measuring twitter, etc, but I’ve never really put in that much thought what we should incorporate.  So this little session invigorated me into thinking about how we measure the success of our YouTube channel (other than views alone), how we can measure Facebook, Twitter and anything else that we are thinking of doing going forwards not just in terms of how many visits does it drive to the site.
There is also the added bonus of these sites that they give us a huge potential to be able to do more customer insight work, because we have access to audiences who are willing to participate that we had never previously had. 
My favourite session of the day was on the best practices from the Omniture Marketing team.  Seriously, I have been showing everyone in the office this.  Chad Sollis took us through some of the things that Omniture do, using their own tools.  Particularly of interest to me was the way that they used Test and Target on their home page.  They take data from where you come from to get to the home page, what you have viewed on Omniture before and how long ago it was since you’ve last visited to build their home page in four different sections.  That means that if you arrive by typing www.omniture.com into your browser you get one home page with a series of offers. If you arrive via a search engine typing in web analytics you get a different home page.  Try it.  Not only that, they have used Test and Target to make sure that they have optimised these pages for maximum conversion, not just because they can show different pages.  It still takes someone a full time job to do it, mind you.
My last session was on SEO strategies.  I used to work in a search marketing team in my previous job, so I won’t go into too much detail because I’ve written many times before about some of the SEO basics (technically), plus how you should measure your SEO.  Plus I’ve recently written about keyword footprints and you’ll probably get bored if I keep going on about it, so I won’t.  
Suffice to say that one thing that Omniture should definitely do something about is their ‘instances’.  Instances, in case you aren’t aware are the preferred metric Omniture uses in their acquisition/traffic sources reports (referring domains, search keywords, etc).  This metric sucks and you should always make sure that visits are enabled on these reports (or import them by default into a report that does – eg an eVar report).  Seriously – given that eVar reports do have visits by default, why don’t these?  Instances are the equivalent of a page view metric.  Every time a page gets loaded with a referrer on it, Omniture adds another one on to the count.  This means that if someone refreshes the landing page, they get another one added to the count.  If a user clicks off the landing page on to a new page, doesn’t like what they see so clicks on the back button then their browser takes them back to the previous state it was in (eg another instance of the referrer – even though this is page view number 3 in the visit).  I reckon we get about 1.25 instances per visit, although it is all dependent on the place they arrived, of course.
Anyway, enough of my ranting.  Did anyone else go to the Summit and want to tell me about their experiences.  Post in the comments (or stick in a link to your blog post and I’ll put them under here).
Posted in Omniture, Web Analytics
3 comments on “Omniture Summit 2010 In London
  1. Anonymous says:

    Great read and thanks for attending Summit! Concerning your feedback to Omniture about “instances”, have you considered giving that feedback at ideas.omniture.com?

  2. Benjamin says:

    I’m not sure who “Anonymous” is, but I second his/her suggestion to submit or vote for this on the Idea Exchange if you haven’t done so already 🙂

    Great review of Summit. . . wish I could have been there. Maybe next year!

  3. WhenCanIStop says:

    I quite agree with both Anonymous (whoever it was) and Benjamin about the Idea Exchange. I should be getting myself down there to be putting my ideas in for inclusion (although I haven’t got around to it yet).

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