SAScon Mini 2014

Talk 2 of the day in the main room features our very own David Gerrard alongside Tim Langley of Canddi, Ryan McKay of MediaCom and Richard Gregory of Latitude chairing the panel of ‘What Next for Metrics’.

The panel started off with a introduction about why we need metrics and what exactly we’re looking to measure. Revenue and leads were the obvious KPIs, but Tim from Canddi suggested a lot more detail into visitor analytics. Examples including are they engaging and how much are they buying.

Richard suggested that too much emphasis was put on attracting new customers rather than focusing on repeat customers and business. Tim spoke about remarketing and how measuring customer behaviour to specifically target them.

David made the first mention of Universal Analytics, looking at custom variables. He described using User IDs to site visitors, so whether they have accessed a site from desktop or mobile, paid or organic each of their visits can be tracked against the same ID. Obviously this will provide us as marketers with more information about their behaviour across devices and channels.

Tim said this led on to user recognition, and how it is important to treat each visitor as a person, so tracking their interests, eg. favoured products, to provide them with relevant results.

David raised the point of Google owning the data in analytics and spoke of the dangers of accessing all of this data, especially the more private details for users (name, age, etc.) His next point was about using Custom Dimensions, using the weather as an example. By bringing in more details to analytics (eg. gender) you can track how behaviour differs. His example looked at how users behaved when the weather changed, using a weather API. This can give marketers a wider scope on activities, such as increasing paid search bids when it’s raining as customers may be more likely to buy (referencing a study by

Richard’s next prompt was around using offline measures, and how to decide which metrics to use. Ryan suggested using more detailed metrics as secondary KPIs to support overall objectives such as sales. Examples include what is SEO built content actually doing, how it’s performing and fitting into the consumer cycle (rather than just being used to attract links).

Tim controversially said to capture as much data as possible as it costs very little to store. He said this all has value at some point so can be reassessed later on, so it makes sense to keep it. Richard added this has been referred to as the “fuck tonne of data” metric.

David said that it is hard to use one attribution model across all campaigns, which was agreed on by the rest of the panel. They discussed different attribution models including last click, time decay and position based to look at the different points at which value is given.

The next big point was the loss of keyword data, with the advice to get over it! Whilst people have used a combination of keyword rankings and CTR, it was pointed out that Webmaster Tools latest update now provides a lot more accurate data. The recommended metrics to measure from an SEO perspective is conversion and landing pages, again looking at the specific points and behaviour of users on the site.

The panel then moved onto looking at additional tools to look at metrics alongside Google Analytics. Suggestions included Kissmetrics to look at funnel visualisation, DoubleClick as a reporting tool, which each providing different on and off site metrics. A survey in the room found that no one has stopped using GA, despite Richard mentioning Rand Fiskin saying marketers have begun to focus on other tools.

The Q&A session covered potential data protection issues, how relevant tracking specific users is for different types of businesses and as expected what KPIs should replace reporting with the lack of keyword data. This rounded off a good discussion of metrics with some thought provoking ideas to try out.