Wow, that was the week that was. As I write this, I’ve just about recovered from a three-day immersion in online marketing performance measurement and optimization. I think we used to call it Web analytics. Now that I’m back in my own time zone, I’m beginning to process some of what I saw and learned at the eMetrics Summit in Washington a couple of weeks ago.
Before going, I was already picking up vibes that the event was going to be bigger and broader than anything I’d been to before. That certainly proved to be the case. There must have been over 600 people in attendance. OK, that may not be huge compared to some other U.S. Internet conferences, but this shows how far the ugly duckling of online marketing has come.
One challenge at conferences these days is deciding what to attend. I probably spent as much time looking at the program and trying to work out which sessions to see as I did wandering around the hotel trying to find the actual sessions. At various times during the conference, there were six simultaneous tracks on topics ranging from behavioral targeting and testing to public sector success, from search analytics to e-mail metrics, and from Web 2.0 measurement to statistical analysis. A very eclectic mix of subject matter!
This industry is not just growing, it’s diversifying. Some of the more interesting conversations I had in DC weren’t with Web analytics vendors discussing the latest features of their particular software, but with smaller companies tackling a particular problem in a different way. For example, new approaches to gathering and analyzing customer feedback data through text mining or a methodology for media planning optimization using predictive analytics.
Time and space don’t permit a blow-by-blow account of what I saw and learned at this conference, and it’s already been documented in other columns and blogs. Instead, let me share some of the event’s key takeways:
What next? As you read this, I’m probably on my way back from the first eMetrics Summit in Sweden. This is another sign of our industry’s growth and development, particularly outside the U.S. Sure, the size and scope will be different from what I experienced in Washington, but I expect the enthusiasm, interest, and lobby bar conversations to be very similar!