A few weeks ago, a small group of "Three Deepers" attended Google's annual Authorized Partner Summit at their headquarters in Mountain View, California. This four-day event provided excellent coverage of their industry-leading marketing products, including Google Website Optimizer (GWO), Google Analytics (GA), and Urchin.

The information presented was an excellent blend of product training, use cases, deep-dives into new capabilities, and breakout sessions with the product managers and engineers themselves. The following is a brief overview of the event and the knowledge that returned to Minnesota with us.

Day One - Google Website Optimizer

The first day began with a keynote from Dan Siroker, former Director of Analytics for President Obama's New Media division during his 2008 election campaign. This keynote beautifully illustrated the value of A/B and multivariate testing, highlighting key milestones in their testing process including the definition of quantifiable success metrics, the questioning of common assumptions, segmentation of test results by user persona, and more.

Following Dan's keynote was a presentation on the state of the GWO by product manager Sandra Cheng. This session provided an excellent overview of Website Optimizer, discussing the evolution of the product, improvements to core features, the growth of the WOAC (Website Optimizer Authorized Consultant) program, and the forthcoming launch of the Website Optimizer API.

The remainder of day one included various presentations and case studies evangelizing the value of testing and encouraging integration with other products and services. It was a great day of information gathering, and got me excited to start planing my next set of experiments.

Day Two - Google Analytics (the Avinash Keynote Day)

Jeff (left) and Jake (right) with our hero Avinash

I believe the highlight of day two was a keynote presentation entitled "A Crime Against Humanity" by author and Google Analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik. This keynote covered a wide range of topics, from Adobe's recent acquisition of analytics giant Omniture, to analysis beyond the data provided by Google Analytics. He also covered social media measurement methods and best practices, as covered in his new book Web Analytics 2.0.

Following Avinash's keynote, the rest of the day continued with some very interesting and well-presented sessions about new and extended features and integration with other digital marketing platforms. Much of what was discussed focused on the new features that were to be released by Google at the Emetrics conference in NYC the week after the conference. These features include:

  • Engagement Goals (time on site and pageviews)
  • More goals (20) - Darren the Data Guy loves this!
  • Enhanced Mobile Reporting
  • Advanced Table and Report Filtering
  • Multiple Custom Variables
  • Sharing Reports and Segments with others
  • Analytics Intelligence
  • Custom Alerts

We will be providing our thoughts on these enhanced features in upcoming posts...

Day Three - Google Analytics (the Hal Varian Keynote Day)

Hal Varian, Google's Chief Economist kicked off day three with an amazing keynote, "Predicting the Present," where he used Google search data and tools (Google Trends and Insights for Search) to examine economic trends and various forecasts. Following Hal's presentation, the majority of the day focused on highlighting various implementations and capabilities of the the Google Analytics API. One of the most impressive presentations was by a German marketing firm called Trekken, which is comprised primarily of ex-Google employees. Their product, Trakkboard, which is powered by the Analytics API, allows the user to create custom widgets that will build a dashboard of metrics that is completely determined by the user.

Upon the close of day three, attendees were invited to a Web Analytics Association happy hour event in Palo Alto, which gave us the networking opportunities that only Silicon Valley could provide. Unfortunately this event also represented the last part of our visit, as we were unable to attend Friday's Urchin sessions due to scheduling conflicts.

All in all, this event was an great experience that provided us with an opportunity to share and listen to new ideas from some of the brightest minds in the industry. The knowledge obtained is sure to be of great benefit our clients, as well as our internal processes as we continue to develop ourselves as a data-focused organization.  I can't wait to go back next year!