Trends from the Omniture Summit

  |  March 10, 2009   |  Comments

A gathering of 2,000 marketers shows how businesses are improving and optimizing the Web channel -- even during these difficult economic times.

The recent Omniture Summit in Salt Lake City was impressive. Even in these economic times, roughly 2,000 marketers attended, making it one of the biggest, if not the biggest, collection of digital marketers gathered in one place this year.

Seeing that many people take a week out of their year and pay to attend the summit said a lot about the value that companies are putting toward improving and optimizing their Web channel. While businesses are cutting budgets and staff, they still see significant potential in this area.

Let's look at a few recurring trends from the conference.

Mobile Use

Considerable time was spent discussing measuring, understanding, and optimizing mobile experiences that are becoming more common. Josh James, Omniture CEO and cofounder, discussed the global growth of mobile in his keynote. And there was constant talk among attendees around how they're addressing mobile, from iPhone apps, to dedicated content, to tracking and measuring performance.

Clearly, this is a rapidly growing area, and the use of mobile in the United States is behind usage in other parts of the world. While the game is similar, there are unique challenges and opportunities in leveraging mobile.

Tying Media and Site Performance Together

In the past, conversations about driving traffic to sites and what people did on the site were completely separate. Yes, many would track banner ads through to one conversion point for success, but that was about it. At the summit, companies shared many great stories about really starting to leverage these things together.

Scott Williams, CMO of Morgans Hotel Group, shared what he and his team are doing online and how they're leveraging retargeting through media-based on on-site behaviors and segments. They're tying the experience all the way through the online advertising through to the site and actual hotel experience. In a separate breakout session, Zack Treuhaft (from 24/7 Media) and Jason Carmel (from ZAAZ) dug in much deeper to outline the best practices for tying the media and site experience together to maximize site performance and ROI (define).

Site Optimization

Everyone was talking about site optimization, whether it was A/B, multivariate, or behavioral targeting. Still a relatively small number of companies say this regularly occurs in their business, but nearly everyone says they're starting to experiment, or planning to, very soon.

Many sessions and a ton of side conversations were dedicated to this topic. We're seeing businesses rushing to test as the economy slows and they need to get more out of their sites with fewer resources and less money. But it isn't always as easy as it may seem to do this right.

Data Integration

More people are trying to understand the full picture of site and overall business performance. There were fewer myopic conversations about just Web analytics (for Web analytics sake). Site performance and Web analytics are among the many things that people are examining. They also want to understand and leverage what else is going on and look at other sources of measurement (e.g., media, attitudinal, and social).

Optimize Your Overall Marketing

Many Web teams no longer optimize only the corporate Web site. They're also considering optimization of mobile, media, social, call center, retail, and old-fashioned advertising. Conversations were much more about the Web being a core of the overall marketing program, but not a standalone property living in a silo.

One of the most exciting parts of the summit was a live Web cast with Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, one of the world's largest marketing firms (and my boss, as well more than 130,000 others throughout the world in more than 2,000 offices). He shared his view on global marketing trends and digital's important role in marketing's future.

Adding to Their Arsenal

Omniture announced new offerings to the tool kit that marketers can access to maximize their digital marketing. The two most interesting and talked about by attendees:

  • Recommendations: This feature was described by Omniture as allowing "online marketers and merchandisers to easily create and modify content or product recommendations that increase conversion." The main idea being they help companies determine cross-sells or other complimentary content that can help improve or maximize conversion. Envision being able to identify and present the most relevant content to the right audience at the right time. Do any other companies offer this technology? Yes, but having it built in with all of the other tracking and testing tools will make it much more accessible for many more companies to experiment with.

  • Merchandising: Omniture described this feature as allowing "merchandisers to manage multiple brands and products online, connect shoppers with the products they want, and take actions that reflect real business metrics." The main idea here is helping site visitors more easily find what they're looking for and to maximize the effectiveness of cross-sell, up-sell, landing pages, and promotions.

The Omniture Summit was great and the conversations were once again top notch. As the week wrapped up, everyone was excited about returning to their companies and working to truly improve the performance of their Web channel.

It was great to see the enthusiasm that people took away. Kudos to the Omniture team for creating an environment at their conference for people to share experiences, talk about their challenges, and have fun while doing it!

Join us for Search Engine Strategies New York March 23-27 at the Hilton New York. The only major search marketing conference and expo on the East Coast, SES New York will be packed with more than 70 sessions, including a ClickZ track, plus more than 150 exhibitors, networking events, parties, and training days.


Jason Burby

As President of the Americas at POSSIBLE, Jason is responsible for leading the long-term stability and growth of the region. With more than 20 years experience in digital strategy, he is a long-time advocate of using data to inform digital strategies to help clients attract, convert, and retain customers. Jason supports POSSIBLE's clients and employees in driving new engagements and delivering great work that works. He is the co-author of Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions.

Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.

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