Analytics Industry in Boston – WAA Boston Symposium


Boston Waterfront

The third regional Web Analytics Association (WAA) symposium came to Boston.  Key association members are traveling to announce regional chapters throughout the Americas.  This marks Boston, Massachusetts as a hub for the industry.  The excitement behind the growth potential of the industry as a whole was clear.


Web Analytics Association Boston

Suresh Vittal of Forrester presented his vision of web analytics' transformation to web intelligence.  This focus of this change is through multi channel marketing.  The growth of analysis to expand off of the website going as far to pull in physical engagement on top of the extensive virtual channels.  He wrapped up by stating that the marketing funnel can no longer be considered linear.  It is hard to ignore the constant growth of emerging channels like social mobile and video.  An extensive article details the process needed to reach web intelligence.

The mobile panel discussed the convergence of mobile to device with the spread of tablets.  Raj Aggarwal of Localytics stated that the most valuable customers are the ones that will be utilizing your company's mobile app as they are the most engaged.  There was discussion of outlook of HTML5 hooks allowing device interaction.  Raj surmised an evolution away from application creation back to web technology.  Larger analytics vendors are trying to keep up with the technology, creating gaps for companies like Localytics to fit in.

The Social Metrics panel focused on establishing social media's goal within organizations.  The goal being making people happy.  The importance of human interaction which correlates to John Lovett's statement, people are what makes analytics successful.  Katie Paine suggested moving control of social media within organizations out of Marketing and PR and into customer relations departments.  There are some clear issues with standards establishment with organizations like the IAB PRF and WAA all creating their own set.  The same holds true for any industry though and as long as the organization that establishes the standards does so for the improvement of the industry as a whole the industry benefits.  Sean Power's reference to Dave McClure's presentation on pirate metrics sparked engagement.  Pirate metrics is a model consisting of Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue (AARRR). Definitely a compelling presentation and entertaining to get others to shout in a formal environment.  Sean Power's concluding proclamation in reference to Tim O'Reilly and Reid Hoffman's statement, "the future of the web will be all about data and how we utilize it" was a powerful assertion for the web analytics industry. 

Tom Davenport provided the keynote address.  The address was titled The New Quantitative Era - Creating Successful Business Change with AnalyticsThe complexity of Business Intelligence can be overwhelming while being successful requires simplification.  The purpose of the practice is to make better decisions.  To successfully affect the decision making process, it is important to tell a compelling story with the data. As the father of analytics stated, a story drastically improves cognition.  It is hard to forget the story of an analytics selection process video shared through Twitter.  Courage is also needed to be successful within the industry as often times the data displeases.  Courage is difficult to teach, but gathering strength from others is a great solution.  Organizations like the Web Analytics Association and Web Analytics Demystified offer the forum to find others that can help build confidence and trust in reporting and analysis.

The event provided access to some of the industry's leading professionals. The knowledge exchange on stage and informally during the receptions was invaluable. This helps to establish Boston as a web analytics incubator and propels industry growth.  Now all that is needed is further institutional support for the industry.  

Action Items:

  • Must ask the questions: What will you do with this data? What action will you take?
  • Build and enhance visitor profiles
  • Growth Potential of the industry
Official Press Release for event:



Highly descriptive post, I enjoyed that bit. Will there be a part 2?