Budapest, Budapest, be sure to pack a woolly vest... and your thinking-beanie.
What is Superweek?
I see it as the opportunity to redefine your inner analytical self, to explore, question and above all else learn from a collaboration of great minds.
It is foremost about people, and what better people can you find than a group of logical, detailed and data orientated folk where analytics isn’t just a job but part of who they are.
As the name infers, the conference runs over a week, however its true key to success is being trapped together in a hotel up a mountain. While this sounds like an excerpt from the Shining and it certainly has moments, when you spend this amount of time with people you really start getting down to the key ideas that drives them and their perspectives of the industry and what lies ahead.
The incidental chats that occur in the dining room, over coffee breaks or a few beers lead to some of the most memorable and informative moments of the week. They leave you feeling inspired and wanting to push yourself further.
If you've read this far, then you have survived the enthusiasm and afterglow of reflecting on such an amazing week. The following is a collection of ideas that have followed me back home.
In an ideal world, web analytics would be 100% accurate. You could match every transaction, count every hit and it would match your business records exactly. Due to the nature of the web and a host of other reasons, this is an ideal and not a reality. However the key here is, does it really need to be perfect?
During his session, Steen Rasmussen presented a blurry picture of an animal, while the full picture was not visible in detail, everyone could guess what it was, an elephant. Even if we had a perfect picture, the outcome was the same.
Steen also asked us to question the data we don’t have, often we look for answers in the data provided to us, where the answers could be found in the data we don’t have yet.
Working with Raw Data
If you have the opportunity, start collecting and pushing your data into services like Bigquery. While the Google Analytics interface provides easy access to the standard web metrics, the real magic starts to happen when you get your hands dirty with the raw data. In this space you connect multiple data sources together and develop exports and insights that directly relate and meet your specific organisation's needs.
Machine Learning & A.I.
Are the robots taking over yet? A.I. and Analytics was discussed across the week. While there is no consensus when we will be ruled by our artificial overlords, automation and predictive analytics will very likely become a core part of our industry within the next decade. This development is aimed to remove the heavy lifting in manually looking for insights and using algorithms and programs to discover them for us.
dataLayer Key Custom Dimensions
To extend your Standard Google Analytics set up further, the following Custom Dimensions should be implemented to provide you the ability to work with your raw data in more detail.
- Session ID
- User ID
- Session ID / References from 3rd Party services i.e. HotJar
- A/B testing parameters
Expand your Triggers via Optimise
A great tip from Doug Hall and winner of the 2017 Superweek Golden Punchcard. Doug presented a method of using Optimise 360 with a default test (one with no changes) to populate the current dataLayer with a whole heap of new Variables that you can use to target and therefore expand your trigger options with Google Tag Manager. A simple tip and easy win to get more out of your dataLayer.
User privacy is a serious subject, how often do you read a privacy statement before accepting a website's Terms & Conditions? The EU is in the process of developing new legislation that may have a wide impact, even outside its borders. How it intends to enforce this internationally is yet to be determined, however the key question is are we using users' data respectfully. How far should a business go into users' personal lives in order to improve a service, or profit from them and what rights do users have? Just because a service is free does that mean they should give up their complete identity?
Was it Worth it?
Half way across the world, at least 40 hours of transit and -10 degrees for a conference about Analytics?
Without a doubt. Meeting people from around the world that have the same passion for data and analytics, that are willing to share, collaborate and help push better practices is an experience that has left me feeling more driven and excited to pursue new ideas in 2017.
Thanks Superweek, see you next time!