Recently I joined Kiersten Lawson in San Francisco for Webtrends Engage which is an industry conference on web analytics and online marketing best practices. Kiersten recently shared her top 3 Aha! moments from the event in her blog post. Now, I want to share with you what opened my eyes at the conference, besides our host Mr. Diggles’ Hamburger t-shirt.
So without further ado, here are my top 3 Webtrends Engage moments for 2013:
1. Death of a salesman?
Right off the bat, I heard an amazing stat that all online retailers should be paying close attention to:
70% of the buying journey is complete before talking with a salesperson!
That was just mind-boggling to me, but then I started thinking about my last few online purchases, and even large in-store purchases, where I went out of my way to avoid salespeople. Just like everyone else, I do not want to hear a canned sales pitch about why their product is so good. I want to hear from other real people who bought the product telling me exactly what they think of it. So I turn to places like Amazon.com and Yelp where I can get info from people that tell it like it is. No wonder websites with well-established online communities are thriving.
Where does analytics come in to this you ask? By tracking user behavior, online retailers are better able to give visitors what they want. That can be anything from discount offers on products abandoned in online shopping carts to online ads targeted to people likely to be interested in certain products.
2. Know your audience.
I was amazed to learn how major news organizations are using analytics to determine what content to highlight on their online newsrooms. Gone are the days when publishers dictate what news to highlight on their home pages. Using real-time analytics tools, publishers are seeing what articles are getting the most traffic and promoting those (along with complementary content) to keep the buzz going. The geek in me also thought it was awesome that these publishers are able to quickly track bad links through hits to their 404 error pages using analytics. Once they see errors come in, they are able to isolate the problem and get it fixed quicker so more readers can get to the information they are looking for without issue.
3. Mobile has officially arrived.
Probably the biggest theme at Webtrends Engage was mobile. It was not that much of a surprise as everyone seems to have a smartphone or tablet these days. What was surprising to me, though, was that some websites are seeing upwards of 50% of their traffic coming from mobile devices! I would expect those kind of numbers for sites like Facebook, but online retailers and news sites are also seeing huge percentages from mobile devices.
And while online viewers have flocked to mobile, there is still a lot of uncertainty on the development and marketing end, as demonstrated by this statistic:
63% of marketers admit to flying blind when it comes to mobile measurement.
This mobile movement is obviously not going away, and it is time for marketers and developers to optimize their websites and analyze mobile activity before they miss the boat and the competition leaves them in the dust.
All in all I gleaned a lot of great information while at Webtrends Engage and I am grateful to have the opportunity to attend. It has certainly inspired me to take full advantage of the web analytics I have at my fingertips and optimize and improve the websites I have a hand in developing and maintaining. As one bright speaker put it, “Don’t collect data just to collect data, that’s expensive!”
Don’t worry folks, while in San Francisco it was not all analytics and no adventures for this guy. There was lots of cable car riding, hill climbing and sites to be seen. I toured Alcatraz with a co-worker on an amazingly beautiful day, crossed Tonga Room off of my “bucket list,” and ate my yearly allotment of red meat while dining at House of Prime Rib. But the award for best restaurant name has to go to Sushi Rapture. Their sushi is damn good too.
Until next time San Francisco!