Our Principal Consultant, Rachit Dayal, is currently in Mountain View attending the annual Google Analytics Certified Partner Summit held for companies holding the GACP certification. He sends in this report of his experiences from the conference.
First off, Mountain View is chilly! For travellers from our sunny island of Singapore, it’s quite a change to experience the winds of California and San Francisco.
Second, this isn’t really a report about the Summit – we are bound by strong Non Disclosure Agreements – and are not allowed to discuss anything presented at the summit. So, most of this blog post will be my experiences in SFO, and my thoughts from before the Summit. Rest assured, when Google makes official GA product announcements over at their blog or twitter account, we’ll back that up right here with updated stories.
Third, if you’re reading this and you were at the conference too – please drop me a note to say “ni hao”! With so many people at the conference, it can often be a challenge to keep in touch. I’m available through our Contact Form, on my personal Twitter account and Happy Marketer’s twitter account.
Why Isn’t Web Analytics Going Social?
In preparation for the conference, I did my customary catch-up of a few hundred web analytics articles piled up on my Google Reader. The biggest thing that stuck out was a huge move towards social media tracking from the major Web Analytics vendors.
So far, all of them have done a pretty crappy job (with upstarts like BrandsEye and Trackur doing a much better job). Because of their enterprise integration, the Adobe / Omniture Online Marketing Suite merges some data from Twitter & Facebook, Coremetrics tries to work some social media referrals into the reports, and Unica has a similarly lackluster implementation.
Of course, as the market leader Google Analytics is in a prime position to make an impact on the entire industry. Unfortunately, they’ve been extremely slow in this area. As Avinash Kaushik would say, they’ve been busy making sure GA pukes out more data. The best way to see social media data right now inside GA is a very cool Greasemonkey script.
So, while we wait for the vendors to catch on – we at Happy Marketer’s Web Analytics Practice have had to come up our own makeshift report card and tools. (FYI, if you’re a client who’s not receiving your Monthly Digital Report card which contains your Search & Social Media Health, please contact us to find out how you can start receiving this report card).
One thing I’m really hoping to see from this conference, and in the next 3-6 months – as Google steps deeper into the social media space, Google Analytics does a much better job of integrating data from social media and mobile users. But I’m not overly hopeful – although GA has gotten to be a enterprise depth Analytics product over the years, the pace of innovation outside of Clickstream metrics in the product has been pretty slow.
Still, hoping to be surprised soon with some social media features by the folks at Mountain View 🙂
Real Social Marketing at the Summit
Of course, the best part about conferences is meeting lots of smart folks (who’re doing some very cool things with GA). Specifically, there were a tonne of fantastic GACPs from Europe and Brazil who were demo’ing some cool products (e.g. BAM analytics, my favourite iPhone GA app).
I’m not sure about the NDA statues about discussing these companies – so for now, I’ll stay safe and not mention any I hadn’t heard of before. But hopefully someone is reading this (hello Jesse, Timo, Alan) and we get the okay soon to talk about what some fellow partners are doing with the Google Analytics APIs and product integrations. Also good – permission to link to the websites and Twitter accounts of other consultants we met.
By the way – In case you were hoping for more from this section – I feel ya. But the Google folks are pretty clear about the confidentiality of the summit. So, until I get more clarity about what’s okay for discussion – I’m just going to stick to my thoughts and experiences in these reports.
The Google Campus
Of course, any trip to Mountain View has to be accompanied with experiences from the Google campus. This was my second visit to the Google campus, and the first thing that struck me was the enormous size of the campus! There must’ve been 15+ buildings housing 7,000 folks (all looking super geeky smart).
The canteens had food labelled as green (healthy), yellow (so-so) and red (bad for you) – interesting innovation and very tasty food. It was good to grab some food, sit on the grass and chat over lunch with Adrian from ClickTRUE.
Other highlights – the Android building had huge versions of Donut, Cupcake & Froyo outside their building. Free cycles to go around between different buildings, employees can rent an electric car for a day for free, I saw laundries, beach volleyball courts, swimming pools, table tennis, pool facilities and a lot of fun stuff happening all around campus.
That’s it for Day 1 – we may follow up later with more conversations and connections with other consultants from around the world!