The problem with “Big Data” …

A lot has been written about “big data” in the past two or three years — some say too much — and it is clear that the idea has taken hold in the corner offices and boardrooms of corporate America. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, “big data” projects are failing to meet expectations due to the sheer complexity of the challenge, lack of over-arching strategy, and a failure to “start small” and expand based on demonstrated results.

At Web Analytics Demystified we have been counseling our clients to think differently about this opportunity, encouraging the expanding use of integrated data and increasingly complex systems via an incremental approach based initially on digitally collected information.  We refer to the approach, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as “little big data” and recently had an opportunity to write a full-length white paper on the subject (sponsored by Tealium.)

You can download the white paper freely from Tealium:

Free White Paper: Digital Data Distribution Platforms in Action

The central thesis of the paper is that through careful and considered digital data integration — in this case powered by emerging Digital Data Distribution (D3P) platforms like Tealium’s AudienceStream — the Enterprise is able to develop the skills and processes necessary for true “big data” projects on reasonably sized and integrated data sets (hence, “little” big data.) The same types of complex, integrated analyses are possible using the same systems and data storage platforms, but by simplifying the process of collection and integration via D3P companies can focus on generating results and proving value … rather than spinning their wheels creating massive data sets.

I will be delivering a webcast with Tealium on this white paper and subject on Wednesday, October 16th at 10 AM Pacific / 1 PM Eastern if you’re interested in learning more:

Free Webinar: Digital Data Distribution Platforms in Action

If you are struggling with “big data” or are interested in how D3P might help your business better understand the integrated, multi-channel consumer, please join us.

Published on October 13, 2013 under Events, Presentations, White Papers

Announcing “Team Demystified” Analytics Staffing Services

Last week at our annual ACCELERATE conference Web Analytics Demystified announced our new “Team Demystified” web analytics and optimization staffing and contractor services offering. In a nutshell, “Team Demystified” is a response to the profound unmet need for experienced analytical professionals within our client base, a need that we have repeatedly been asked to help fulfill. And while this need is nothing new — staffing is one of the oldest problems in the digital measurement and optimization space — Web Analytics Demystified has patiently waited to help resolve the challenge until we were confident that we had a value-added way to do it.

When we asked our clients why it was so difficult to hire we consistently heard two things:

  1. Internal HR departments didn’t have the knowledge, time, and depth of network to find truly qualified individuals
  2. External recruiting firms had lists of individuals who look good on paper but often lack real experience in the field

Based on this we realized that we already had the solution in place:

  • We have the world’s largest network of analytics and optimization professionals thanks to our longstanding investment in Web Analytics Wednesday, Analysis Exchange, the Digital Analytics Association, ACCELERATE, and the Web Analytics Forum at Yahoo! Groups
  • We don’t lack for qualification when it comes to carefully vetting talent, thanks to the experience of the Demystified Partners and Senior Partners

Still, just knowing people and being able to carefully vet them didn’t seem like enough … and so we put our thinking caps back on and worked out figure out an approach that would truly differentiate our staffing efforts.

“Team Demystified”

At the end of the day we determined that we didn’t really have an appetite for creating another “find ‘em and forget ‘em” FTE placement and contractor model — the norm in the industry today where follow-up contact with placed resources is little more than “call me when you’re ready for a new gig so I can make some more money off of you.” Instead we set out to create a program that continually created value for both our clients and “Team Demystified” associates … the result includes:

  • The ability to work side-by-side with Web Analytics Demystified Partners and Senior Partners at amazing clients
  • Ongoing communication with Web Analytics Demystified Senior Partners to ensure quality work and analyst development
  • Weekly check-ins with Demystified staff to continually monitor for focus, adherence to detail, and overall excellence
  • Monthly face-to-face’s with Demystified Senior Partners to continue to develop Team resources capabilities and competencies
  • Invitations to our annual ACCELERATE conference and a special annual “Team Demystified” education day
  • Invitations to many more special opportunities Web Analytics Demystified has access to in the industry

In short, the “Team Demystified” effort allows us to find the best talent in the industry, place them with our already great clients, and have them work side-by-side with Web Analytics Demystified on forward-thinking analytics and optimization projects. We believe this approach is truly unique and we love that we can deliver value to both sides of the equation simultaneously.

You can learn more about Team Demystified on the new Web Analytics Demystified web site.

Published on September 30, 2013 under General Web Analytics, Jobs, Web Analytics People

Want to be part of Web Analytics Demystified?

Likely you have noticed that Web Analytics Demystified has grown significantly in the past twelve months, adding Kevin, Michele, Josh, and Tim to the team … and we’re ready to grow our resources again. We have a handful of clients who need help — both technical and analytical — and so we are actively looking for talented individuals who would like to work side-by-side with our team at some of the most amazing brands on the planet.

Immediate needs include:

  • Front-End Developers who are well-familiar with analytics tags, tag management, and popular coding platforms
  • Analysts and Senior Analysts, skilled with either Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, or both
  • Analytics Managers, with demonstrated experience growing analytics teams of their own

Plusses include the obvious: Excel skills, presentation chops, experience with testing and optimization platforms, and at least three years of hands-on work in the analytics industry. Willingness to travel is a big plus … but not a hard-and-fast requirement for several of the opportunities we have.

Compensation is commensurate with experience. Benefits include regular contact with the entire Web Analytics Demystified team, discounts to ACCELERATE and other conferences, and more!

If you are interested — or you know someone who is — please have them email me directly. All conversations will be treated as highly confidential.

Published on August 5, 2013 under General Web Analytics, Jobs

ACCELERATE 2013 is better than ever!

Now that Summer is here I personally am getting increasingly excited about Web Analytics Demystified’s upcoming ACCELERATE event in Columbus, Ohio September 26th. This year we will be at Columbus’s Center for Science and Industry (COSI) and have what I believe is our “best ever” lineup of speakers including Matt Jauchis, Chief Marketing Officer at Nationwide Insurance, and representatives from Google, Nestle Purina, Home Depot, Best Buy, Experian, FedEx, and many, many more.

» You can see our current lineup at the ACCELERATE site.

One small change this year is that we are charging a nominal fee for ACCELERATE ($99 USD). We decided to do this for one simple reason — our analysis of past events revealed that attendees who paid even a small fee were far more likely to attend the event! We set the fee low so that nobody would be excluded, and if you’d like to attend and really cannot pay please let me know and we will work something out.

As with years past we have limited seating at ACCELERATE so I would encourage you to visit EventBrite and sign up today!

» Sign up to attend ACCELERATE 2013!

What’s more, we have added two days of special “Advanced Analytics Education” on September 24th and 25th — classes taught by the Web Analytics Demystified staff. These half- and full-day sessions are provided at our best possible rate and promise to be intimate opportunities to learn from and get to know the Web Analytics Demystified team. Course descriptions are provided below and you can learn more and sign up for classes via our ACCELERATE Advanced Analytics Education page.

If you have questions about the conference please let us know via email or comments below. We look forward to seeing you in Columbus!

Advanced Analytics Education Class Descriptions for ACCELERATE 2013

If you have any questions about our classes or would like to register via phone please contact Web Analytics Demystified directly. We do offer discounts for multiple registrations.

Adam Greco’s “Adobe SiteCatalyst Top Gun”
Full-day class offered on September 24th and 25th

Adobe SiteCatalyst, while being an extremely powerful web analytics tool, can be challenging to master. It is not uncommon for organizations using SiteCatalyst to only take advantage of 30%-40% of its functionality. If you would like your organization to get the most out its investment in Adobe SiteCatalyst, this “Top Gun” training class is for you. Unlike other training classes that cover the basics about how to configure Adobe SiteCatalyst, this one-day advanced class digs deeper into features you already know and also covers many features that you may not have used.

Michele Kiss and Tim Wilson “Building Analytics Teams”
Half-day class offered September 24th

During this half-day session, Web Analytics Demystified Partner Michele Kiss will share best practices for developing a world-class analytics practice, including recruiting, training and structuring a team, communication and presentation methods and hands-on tips and tricks. If you are challenged with developing, hiring, and managing web analytics teams of any size, this class if for you!

Key topics will include:

  • Team structure and career path for digital analytics teams
  • Optimizing digital analytics recruiting
  • Strategies for training, up-skilling and analyst development
  • Communication and presentation best practices
  • Digital analytics in practice: tips and tricks

Brian Hawkins “Testing Demystified”
Half-day class offered September 24th

Brian Hawkins will cover the full range of requirements for testing, optimization, and personalization in the Enterprise.  Everything from the basics (implementation), approaches to test design, profiling, segmentation, and targeting will be covered.  Integrations with third party tool sets will also be covered.

Participants in this course will receive optimization best practices that they can apply to organization no matter what testing platform is being used.  Participants will walk away with a list of action items that will allow them to make a big impact on their optimization efforts.

Kevin Willeitner “Adobe Discover Secrets”
Half-day class offered September 24th and September 25th

Kevin Willeitner has worked with Discover for 6 years, acted as the Discover Subject Matter Expert at Adobe, and has presented on Discover at conferences. During this training students will gain hands-on experience with Discover and will learn how your company can super-charge their analysis capabilities beyond SiteCatalyst. This session will give you a practical understanding of how Discover works and you will learn the tricks necessary to get the most out of the tool.

During this session we will cover the following topics and more:

  • Basic and advanced segmentation scenarios
  • Proficiency with table builder for scalable analysis
  • Advanced segmented metrics
  • Discover-specific reports and metrics
  • Report types and what goes beyond SiteCatalyst
  • Managing analysis assets
  • Comparison methodology
  • Scenario-based exercises

Kevin Willeitner “Adobe ReportBuilder Secrets”
Half-day class offered September 24th and September 25th

Kevin Willeitner has long been recognized as a Report Builder expert and wrote the Report Builder chapter of Adam Greco’s book The Adobe SiteCatalyst Handbook. This ReportBuilder training will provide attendees an intimate knowledge of ReportBuilder’s functionality as well as the Excel skills needed to take full advantage of Report Builder’s most advanced features.

During this training students will gain a working experience in how to:

  • Fully utilize all of Report Builder’s features
  • Create scalable reports
  • Learn the tips to creating reports more quickly
  • Apply Excel techniques to make more dynamic and impressive dashboards
  • Learn approaches for creating analytics tools (not just reports)
  • Leverage publishing lists for sophisticated report distribution

Josh West and Michele Kiss “Advanced Google Analytics”
Half-day class offered September 25th

The team at Web Analytics Demystified is helping some of the best-known companies on the Internet get the most out of Google Analytics and we will be sharing our tips-and-tricks at ACCELERATE 2013. Josh West and Michele Kiss will be leading this half-day class covering:

  • Basic and advanced implementation tips
  • The use of cookies in Google and Universal Analytics
  • Event tracking
  • Debugging and the use of modern debuggers
  • Custom Google Analytics features
  • Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager together

John Lovett “Advanced Social Analytics”
Half-day class offered September 25th

During this half-day session, Web Analytics Demystified Senior Partner John Lovett will share his tested secrets for developing a social media measurement program that aligns corporate goals with social analytics measures of success. If your organization is participating in social media today, this is a must-attend workshop for quantifying the success of your social initiatives. All workshop attendees will receive a copy of John’s book Social Media Metrics Secrets.

Key topics will include:

  • Strategic alignment of corporate objectives and social success
  • Social media metrics that matter to your business
  • Recommendations for social media data collection and analysis
  • Business user training on the value of measuring social
  • Developing a scalable social analytics framework

Published on July 7, 2013 under ACCELERATE, Web Analytics Demystified Partners, Web Analytics Wednesday

Help me welcome our newest Demystifier, Tim Wilson!

I am delighted to announce that Web Analytics Demystified has grown our analysis group again, this time adding a long-time friend of the firm and extraordinary Web Analytics Wednesday coordinator, Tim Wilson. Tim will be working with Michele Kiss to build out our analysis and analyst mentoring practice, focusing on helping clients establish internal best practices, governance, and recruiting strategies to build Enterprise-class digital analytics teams. He will be officially on-board and ready to work with clients in July of this year — and of course a big part of September’s ACCELERATE event in Columbus, Ohio — so let me know if you’d like to discuss how Tim can help you accelerate your use of analytics!

In case you don’t already know Tim, here is a little bit about him:

“Tim Wilson has been working in digital analytics for over 12 years in a diverse range of environments and with a wide range of analytics platforms. He has been a consistent contributor of pragmatic thinking on digital analytics topics for almost six years through his highly regarded blog at, and, for the past year, as a monthly contributor to He has become a regular and sought after speaker at industry events, including ACCELERATE, eMetrics, and Digital Analytics Association (DAA) Symposiums, and he started and continues to run monthly Web Analytics Wednesdays in Columbus, Ohio, one of the country’s most active and engaged analytics social networks.

Tim has also worked client side, both at Nationwide Insurance and at National Instruments, a high tech B2B company, where he led the Business Intelligence group and was the business owner and lead analyst for the web analytics platform (Webtrends). He holds a B.S. in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin.”

Those of you who are paying attention will likely note that Web Analytics Demystified is growing like crazy. I’m proud to say that Adam, John, and I have managed this growth fully in the spirit of the firm — only hiring the best, most qualified individuals who provide our clients access to a depth of experience unmatched in the digital analytics space. At last count we were eight Partners with over 150 clients, poised to author our sixth and seventh books, and helping our clients deliver hundreds of millions of incremental dollars annually though great analysis and optimization.

Tim is on Twitter as @tgwilson so I hope you will help me welcome him to Team Demystified! His blog will be online soon, and I suspect if you visit him over at he will have something to say.

Published on June 21, 2013 under ACCELERATE, Web Analytics Demystified Business


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Profile Website Visitors via Campaign Codes and More
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A Primer on Cookies in Web Analytics
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Excel Dropdowns Done Right
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The Downfall of Tesco and the Omniscience of Analytics
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Yesterday, an article in the Harvard Business Review provided food for thought for the analytics industry. In Tesco's Downfall Is a Warning to Data-Driven Retailers, author Michael Schrage ponders how a darling of the "analytics as a competitive advantage" stories, British retailer Tesco, failed so spectacularly - despite a wealth of data and customer insight.

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Exploring Optimal Post Timing ... Redux
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What I Love: Adobe and Google Analytics*
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Top 5 Metrics You're Measuring Incorrectly ... or Not
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Bulletproof Business Requirements
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Team Demystified Update from Wendy Greco
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SiteCatalyst Unannounced Features
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Lately, Adobe has been sneaking in some cool new features into the SiteCatalyst product and doing it without much fanfare. While I am sure these are buried somewhere in release notes, I thought I'd call out two of them that I really like, so you know that they are there.

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I was reading a post last week by one of the Big Names in web analytics…and it royally pissed me off. I started to comment and then thought, "Why pick a fight?" We've had more than enough of those for our little industry over the past few years. So I let it go.

Except I didn't let it go.

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Competitor Pricing Analysis
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One of my newest clients is in a highly competitive business in which they sell similar products as other retailers. These days, many online retailers have a hunch that they are being "Amazon-ed," which they define as visitors finding products on their website and then going to see if they can get it cheaper/faster on This client was attempting to use time spent on page as a way to tell if/when visitors were leaving their site to go price shopping.

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How to Deliver Better Recommendations: Forecast the Impact!
Michele Kiss, Partner

One of the most valuable ways to be sure your recommendations are heard is to forecast the impact of your proposal. Consider what is more likely to be heard: "I think we should do X ..." vs "I think we should do X, and with a 2% increase in conversion, that would drive a $1MM increase in revenue ..."

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ACCELERATE 2014 "Advanced Analytics Education" Classes Posted
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I am delighted to share the news that our 2014 "Advanced Analytics Education" classes have been posted and are available for registration. We expanded our offering this year and will be offering four concurrent analytics and optimization training sessions from all of the Web Analytics Demystified Partners and Senior Partners on September 16th and 17th at the Cobb Galaria in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Product Cart Addition Sequence
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In working with a client recently, an interesting question arose around cart additions. This client wanted to know the order in which visitors were adding products to the shopping cart. Which products tended to be added first, second third, etc.? They also wanted to know which products were added after a specific product was added to the cart (i.e. if a visitor adds product A, what is the next product they tend to add?). Finally, they wondered which cart add product combinations most often lead to orders.

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7 Tips For Delivering Better Analytics Recommendations
Michele Kiss, Partner

As an analyst, your value is not just in the data you deliver, but in the insight and recommendations you can provide. But what is an analyst to do when those recommendations seem to fall on deaf ears?

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Overcoming The Analyst Curse: DON'T Show Your Math!
Michele Kiss, Partner

If I could give one piece of advice to an aspiring analyst, it would be this: Stop showing your "math". A tendency towards "TMI deliverables" is common, especially in newer analysts. However, while analysts typically do this in an attempt to demonstrate credibility ("See? I used all the right data and methods!") they do so at the expense of actually being heard.

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Making Tables of Numbers Comprehensible
Tim Wilson, Partner

I'm always amazed (read: dismayed) when I see the results of an analysis presented with a key set of the results delivered as a raw table of numbers. It is impossible to instantly comprehend a data table that has more than 3 or 4 rows and 3 or 4 columns. And, "instant comprehension" should be the goal of any presentation of information - it's the hook that gets your audience's brain wrapped around the material and ready to ponder it more deeply.

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Automating the Cleanup of Facebook Insights Exports
Tim Wilson, Partner

This post (the download, really - it's not much of a post) is about dealing with exports from Facebook Insights. If that's not something you do, skip it. Go back to Facebook and watch some cat videos. If you are in a situation where you get data about your Facebook page by exporting .csv or .xls files from the Facebook Insights web interface, then you probably sometimes think you need a 52" monitor to manage the horizontal scrolling.

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The Recent Forrester Wave on Web Analytics ... is Wrong
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

Having worked as an industry analyst back in the day I still find myself interested in what the analyst community has to say about web analytics, especially when it comes to vendor evaluation. The evaluations are interesting because of the sheer amount of work that goes into them in an attempt to distill entire companies down into simple infographics, tables, and single paragraph summaries.

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Funnel Visualizations That Make Sense
Tim Wilson, Partner

Funnels, as a concept, make some sense (although someone once made a good argument that they make no sense, since, when the concept is applied by marketers, the funnel is really more a "very, very leaky funnel," which would be a worthless funnel - real-world funnels get all of a liquid from a wide opening through a smaller spout; but, let's not quibble).

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Reenergizing Your Web Analytics Program & Implementation
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

Those of you who have read my blog posts (and book) over the years, know that I have lots of opinions when it comes to web analytics, web analytics implementations and especially those using Adobe Analytics. Whenever possible, I try to impart lessons I have learned during my web analytics career so you can improve things at your organization.

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Registration for ACCELERATE 2014 is now open
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I am excited to announce that registration for ACCELERATE 2014 on September 18th in Atlanta, Georgia is now open. You can learn more about the event and our unique "Ten Tips in Twenty Minutes" format on our ACCELERATE mini-site, and we plan to have registration open for our Advanced Analytics Education pre-ACCELERATE training sessions in the coming weeks.

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Current Order Value
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

I recently had a client pose an interesting question related to their shopping cart. They wanted to know the distribution of money its visitors were bringing with them to each step of the shopping cart funnel.

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A Guide to Segment Sharing in Adobe Analytics
Tim Wilson, Partner

Over the past year, I've run into situations multiple times where I wanted an Adobe Analytics segment to be available in multiple Adobe Analytics platforms. It turns out…that's not as easy as it sounds. I actually went multiple rounds with Client Care once trying to get it figured out. And, I've found "the answer" on more than one occasion, only to later realize that that answer was a bit misguided.

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Currencies & Exchange Rates
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

If your web analytics work covers websites or apps that span different countries, there are some important aspects of Adobe SiteCatalyst (Analytics) that you must know. In this post, I will share some of the things I have learned over the years related to currencies and exchange rates in SiteCatalyst.

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Linking Authenticated Visitors Across Devices
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

In the last few years, people have become accustomed to using multiple digital devices simultaneously. While watching the recent winter Olympics, consumers might be on the Olympics website, while also using native mobile or tablet apps. As a result, some of my clients have asked me whether it is possible to link visits and paths across these devices so they can see cross-device paths and other behaviors.

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The 80/20 Rule for Analytics Teams
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I had the pleasure last week of visiting with one of Web Analytics Demystified's longest-standing and, at least from a digital analytical perspective, most successful clients. The team has grown tremendously over the years in terms of size and, more importantly, stature within the broader multi-channel business and has become one of the most productive and mature digital analytics groups that I personally am aware of across the industry.

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Ten Things You Should ALWAYS Do (or Not Do) in Excel
Tim Wilson, Partner

Last week I was surprised by the Twitter conversation a fairly innocuous vent-via-Twitter tweet started, with several people noting that they had no idea you could simple turn off the gridlines.

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Omni Man (and Team Demystified) Needs You!
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

As someone in the web analytics field, you probably hear how lucky you are due to the fact that there are always web analytics jobs available. When the rest of the country is looking for work and you get daily calls from recruiters, it isn't a bad position to be in! At Web Analytics Demystified, we have more than doubled in the past year and still cannot keep up with the demand, so I am reaching out to you ...

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A Useful Framework for Social Media "Engagements"
Tim Wilson, Partner

Whether you have a single toe dipped in the waters of social media analytics or are fully submerged and drowning, you've almost certainly grappled with "engagement." This post isn't going to answer the question "Is engagement ROI?" ...

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It's not about "Big Data", it's about the "RIGHT data"
Michele Kiss, Partner

Unless you've been living under a rock, you have heard (and perhaps grown tired) of the buzzword "big data." But in attempts to chase the "next shiny thing", companies may focus too much on "big data" rather than the "right data."

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