Omniture’s mini summit 08 in London

Everyone else is doing blog posts about their experiences of going to conferences (see Kate Duffy’s descriptions of what went on at Search Engine Strategies in New York and James Kelway’s description of what he enjoyed at the Information Architecture Summit on his Userpathways blog). Therefore I think I should probably write a brief post about my experience at the Omniture Summit in London last week. In reality it was only a brief summit, but I think some of what I am about to describe to you may strike a cord.

On Monday afternoon whilst half of the building were doing some nice Omniture University sittings on Search Centre and SiteCatalyst the few of us in London who are on HBX came together for a little discussion on HBX’s future.

For those of you unaware – HBX has been bought out by its biggest competitor Omniture. Omniture have said that they are going to continue to support HBX for as long as clients are still using it, but they won’t develop the platform. In fact, they are going to take everything that was good about HBX (the report builder for example) and replicate it in SiteCatalyst. Then they are going to try and persuade you to move to SiteCatalyst by giving you lots of really nice migration help.

Migration help seems to be a good idea in principle – everyone going on to one tool helps SiteCatalyst and in theory SiteCatalyst is better than HBX. The help that Omniture provide will get you up and running on SiteCatalyst with most if not all of the functionality that you had on HBX. Given that they are going to tell you how to tag your pages, help you come up with a naming convention and presumably show you how to use the tool, that should make this migration extremely attractive for lots of websites.

Anyway, moving swiftly on from the debates about how best to move to SiteCatalyst and on with the proper stuff on the Tuesday:

Josh James is very enthusiastic. I’d go and watch him speak again. Does he make me want to join his company – I’m not so sure. It’s interesting though that both he and Shar Vanboskirk both talked about how we weren’t fulfilling the true potential of our online Marketing in their keynote speeches. However that was only partially of interest to me (along with the interlude by Josh about the football game he went to see in Prague), the second set of sessions was a bit more of interest.

I started the second session by going to see the first session on ‘Evolving from Data Manager to Actionable Strategist‘ with Adrian James. Unfortunately his analogy and gags comparing it to the farm that he grew up on in Scotland went down a bit like a lead balloon and I felt a bit sorry for him (given that you have to explain what a burn was). And actually most of what he said whilst being true, is what we should be doing anyway:

His suggestion is that by setting up alerts, predetermined dashboards and pushing reports out automatically (demonstrated of course by using SiteCatalyst) it should free up more time to be able to do proper analysis of the sites. Whilst this is true, I am always wary about pushing out these reports because you end up having to do more work to explain them – my preferred stance is to send them out with commentary so that actually the person on the other end doesn’t really need to read the report and could just read your analysis.

Anyway, moving on I next went to see ‘Driving Revenues by Using Data To Power Your Email Marketing‘ which is actually something that I’ve looked at in the past with previous companies. Ted Wham who is the SVP of Epsilon who look after our emails here was a really good speaker (although he darted round some things I was interested in). Apart from getting us all interested he showed us a nice little calculator that you could use to prove the return on investment. Unfortunately it was the return on investment for an eCommerce site trying to get users who’ve fallen out of the process to return and buy using email analytics. Very clever, but not that relevant to me at the moment.

Then I had the ‘Increase Your Effectiveness Using Vertical Industry Metrics & Best Practices‘ for the media sector with firstly Matt Belkin and then a bit of a case study by Shorful Islam who is the BI Manager at ITV Broadband. This I thought was the most beneficial of the presentations of the day. This was the one that was actually aimed at people like me.

Matt started by talking about Fusion and how you could use SiteCatalyst to introduce more metrics into your analytics solution. Which metrics? Well if you can upload ad impression, cost and sell through rate data that you can then map against pages, you can convincingly create a page impression vs ad impression report. This can then be taken further to introduce a revenue per page report. This can then be taken a step further and introduce a revenue per visit report and so on. Ultimately what it should lead you to do is work out which pages are the most profitable and optimise your strategy for driving visitors there. He then pushed on to how you measure your video to ensure that the advertiser’s details are shown in the video (hence increase the volume of sponsorship).

Then we moved back up to the ‘Social Networking and Communities‘ session with Martyn Jobber. This was very interesting given that I have been blogging about Social Bookmarking recently. Although Martyn (quite rightly given the audience apart from me) was more keen on promoting the method of measuring those people as opposed to growing them. It’s interesting though how you measure the effect of your social networking (probably beyond me in this post).

Finally we had ‘Advanced SEM Optimization [sic] Techniques‘ with Giuseppe Sessa. This was interesting in that he showed us some of the more advanced things that you can do with SearchCenter to optimise your campaigns. Again, largely irrelevant if you don’t have SearchCenter because he didn’t really go into any of the detail about how you come up with the ways of showing that you need to optimise outside SearchCenter.

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