Friday, January 23, 2009

Web Analytics Wednesday in Antwerp @ These Days - Summary

Web Analytics Wednesday at These Days - Antwerp, BelgiumOn last Wednesday, the first Web Analytics Wednesday (WAW) of 2009 in Belgium took place in Antwerp at These Days office. From start, it was already a popular success as around 40 persons attended the event - it could have been more as many people cancelled due to current flu epidemy! A majority of the attendees was from Web agencies: LBi, Queromedia, Boondoggle, Emakina, The Reference and more. Vendors were represented (Unica, Google, Nedstat). It seemed that practioners were a rare specy :-). We also had some international visitors from the Netherlands and from Northern France. All very enthusiastic!

Building a Web Analytics community in Belgium
As Web Analytics Association (WAA) Country Manager for Belgium, I started the show with short introduction on the WAA. Even if a majority knew about the association, it was not useless as some people told me they would likely join. Good!

It was followed by the first presentation on "building WA community in Belgium". The main goal was to initiate an open discussion and "take the temperature" of the crowd and see reactions.
And there were many interesting reactions - during the discussion and afterward. In short, main outcomes were:
  • Openness: The community should not be limited to Web Analytics geeks and SEM addicts. It should be open to business users and other areas. It should help marketeers and companies with their first steps in Web Analytics, to understand the business added-value of our industry. It should focus more on the business part rather than the technical / IT aspects. The WA Community should also interact with local marketing associations (IAB, BDMA...)
  • Practical cases: People want to see real practical business cases from agencies or companies that shows how Web analytics are used to support & improve business performances. Cases should not be the "so-common" vendor/agency sale speech :-). The community should not be just another "hunting ground" for agencies & vendors.
  • Learn and collaborate with other WA communities: It was great to have few persons from France and the Netherlands. The later has a well established WA community. We may learn from their experience (in order to avoid common pitfalls and reinventing the wheel) and maybe collaborate together., the Dutch community website is very popular and according to our Dutch guests, around 20% of its audience is from Belgium!
  • Web Analytics Wednesdays: There is strong interest to see WAW organized on a regular basis (every 2-3 months). In the beginning, it will be mainly a gathering (or "group therapy" ;-)) of people working in the field of Web Analytics or Search Marketing but in the end we must make it open to a broarder audience. The format (location & content) is still open for discussion but it should focus on practical cases and best practices.
  • The role of vendors: Involvement of vendors is important in order to stay up-to-date with technology evolution. Short presentations (15 min) on new or specific features during WAW's may be considered on occasional basis, if requested by the community members.
  • Creation of taskforces: Inspired from what is done in the Netherlands, taskforces of volunteer experts will be created. Their goals will be to write articles, white papers available to evertone or to do presentation during WAW's on specific topics (targeting, SEA, testing...). They could also assist practioners when internal presentations about their field of expertise would be required.
There were few other topics that were discussed but in my opinion these are amongst the most important to start with.

An analysis & optimization case study - Pioneer Europe by These Days
Pioneer EuropeAfter the discussion, Siegert Dierickx from These Days & Rafael Nolens (strategy consultant) presented a case-study on Pioneer Europe and online marketing campaigns.

I liked very much their global approach based on continuous improvement (KAIZEN philosophy:-)) based on 6 main steps:
  1. Define KPI's
  2. Select tools & data collection methods
  3. Build reports & dashboards
  4. Teach users & automate reporting
  5. Analysis
  6. Take actions
Siegert Dierickx presenting These Days continuous improvement process for Web AnalyticsIt may sounds obvious but to see how other companies apply such principle in real life is always interesting. It was not just theory - most steps were illustrated with several pratical examples.

For marketing campaign, they used an interesting KPI (among others): Cost per Brand Interaction Hour (BIH) that measures campaign cost divided by the total number of hours spent by the users on a Pioneer Web site.

These Days reporting tool based on Google Analytics APIThey showed also some interesting dashboard example but also an impressive reporting tool they developed using Google Analytics API. The tool is very simple and it is aimed for business users such as Product managers. They can select specific products (the tool is also connected to the CMS), country sites and get key metrics displayed in nice graphs. They can compare trends for different products, categories, countries... No need to access a heavy interface with tons of reports & data!

You can also read Nicolas Malo's post on the Pioneer presentation.

Networking...and drinking time!
It ended with one of the most important aspect of the Web Analytics Wednesdays: the networking & the free drinks! It was really great to meet many people from Belgium. It seems that many enjoyed it as I did. I could see a lot of motivation as well and I got a very good feedback and received great input by emails.
Networking time & free drinks!
I have uploaded some photos on the Web Analytics Wednesday Belgium group on Facebook.

What's next?
So lot of work ahead, that's for sure. But in short terms, next actions will be
  • Organize the next Belgian WAW around mid-March (date & location to be confirmed). A call for speakers, host and sponsor will be made in due time (do not hesitate to contact me: michaelnotte at
  • Launch first taskforces (I have already some volunteers).
More information will follow in the next weeks. To be informed, do not hesitate to join the Web Analytics Belgium group on LinkedIn.

Thank you!
Last but not least, I would like to thank the great people at These Days for hosting the event (and for the drinks & snacks). And also a big thank you to all of you who came and made this first WAW such a enjoyable event.

See you at the next WAW!

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  1. Was nice and interesting Michael. You did a great job! See you at the next WAW...

  2. Thanks for the comment. This was great to see such interest...and many expectations.

    It was quite a change since previous similar events in Belgium. To be honest many attendees hoped for more regarding 1st presentation/discussion. Good to know for next times.

    See you in March at next Belgian WAW.




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