Business Optimization in a Digital Age: Avinash Kaushik Keynote

Good morning from San Francisco. Bruce Clay, Jessica Lee, me (Virginia) and the rest of our SES conference team left triple-digit degrees of SoCal to come to the 70+ blue skies of the Bay. Thank you SES. :)

This week, Jess and I are the BCI media-blitz machine. Keep your dials tuned here to the blog and to @BruceClayInc for notifications of new reports from the field and livetweets of prime sessions.

This morning we kick-off with a passionate roundhouse keynote to the tuckus, delivered with Mr. Miyagi-style tough love from the ninja master of analytics and optimization, Avinash Kaushik.

Avinash Kaushik SES SF 2012

If you think that was a mouthful, try liveblogging @Avinash, Google’s digital evangelist. The man rains down information, slides flying, stories hurtling. It’s an inspiration to hear. Let’s listen as he gives you ammunition to help you and your organization get into gear.

3 things Avinash is interested in that he’ll share:

  • Influence: Target them with the right message. Shifts in consumption of media and how we get in front of people.
  • Experience: Delivering an amazing experience on all channels. No excuse for not giving a Four Seasons experience on the website because it’s cheap to deliver.
  • Value: Make a lot of money. Give happiness, get money.

The data behind these three things is your job. He’ll share 5 stories at the intersection of these 3 things.

Enhance Economic Value… understand and solve for 100%

The top 50 sites in an industry have a 2% conversion rate. That’s probably not you. You probably have 1% or less. Of everyone else who came to the website who didn’t convert, you’re ignoring them. Instead, focus on the value gotten from 100% of the people who came.

Macro conversion: What’s the most important thing someone can do on your website? It’s usually tied to revenue.

Micro conversion: What’s adding value to the business – not quite “submit order” but another economic value.

Discover credit card counts signing up for a card as a macro conversion. A person who starts the sign-up and saves their progress is a micro conversion. Signing up for other products or services, like credit score tracker, is another micro conversion, and downloading their mobile apps, signing up for their affiliate network, product reviews… If you were to ask someone from Discover what success looks like, they’re probably overlooking the micro conversions.

Shifting away from 1 conversion to economic value has 2 immediate benefits:

1. You know there’s more you can do than focus on lame stuff. You are optimizing for 100% of the people who come.
2. You recognize short-term, medium-term and long-term enhanced economic value. Solving for all the things that matter over a long period. (You’re moving beyond only accepting one-night stands.)

Optimize Multiple Channels… understand, be less wrong

One channel by itself won’t allow you to reach a global maxima. If you use Omniture, Google Analytics, or other analytics tools, you’ll only see what was done right before the conversion. You don’t see the complex steps that happened beforehand.

A simple, visual display of data will be very beneficial to viewing tens of thousands of rows of data. Streamgraph is a visualization tool that helps you see the keywords involved in the conversion process. A chord diagram will show you the different places people start and where they go. Do this for micro + macro conversions.

Create some custom groupings of campaigns (social, search), download into Excel, turn into a chord graph.

Sunburst is a visualization tool that shows you the percent of conversions that start where and with what kewords. People’s complex process of multi-visit conversions can be mapped. You can understand the portfolio of keywords that are working.

For these data driven documents go to

They will help you: 1. Hypothesize, 2. Test, 3. Be less wrong

Homework/the next steps: A post on attribution across devices

Influence Evolves… to win with social, think different

Traditional marketing is shouting at people. Marketing efficiency is shouting louder and more frequently. We’ve moved beyond this to intent marketing and now the arrow between business and consumer goes both ways. The “social web revolution” is the next step, and now the people are all connected as well.

Today we report stupid stuff. A graph of the number of Twitter followers. A pie of the Twitter followers makeup. An obsession with Likes. What time should you tweet? Measuring these things causes us to behave in suboptimal ways. Me, me, me! Who cares?

The problem is that a company incentivizes the wrong behavior. Great Twitter looks like @Edmunds, a company who understands who they audience is and what they can do to help them. Very few of the links from @Edmunds points to

Priceline on Facebook is a good example of Facebook done right. Seventh Generation is the best example of Facebook across any industry; they’ve figured out how to add value to your life.

Four new metrics you should measure:

1. Conversation rate: # of audience comments per social contribution
2. Amplification rate: second-level network reach, # forwards per social contribution
3. Applause rate: # favorite clicks per tweet, # Likes per FB post, # +1s, # positive clicks per social contribution
4. Economic value: social media’s purpose is NOT to drive conversions. But you will make $, and if you don’t measure what you make, you won’t get budget. Direct revenue from social channels and indirect revenue from social channels. Conversions aided by social media must be measured. lets you measure these 4 new metrics.

The Real Mobile Opportunity… shift from interruption to the participation

Create a great mobile experience is step one. 256% of US media consumption is mobile. Don’t disappoint these users; they have money. A good user experience gives users likely options: underneath a mobile AdWords ad has a link to download the app now. A preview of the app is images that show what the app look likes. A # star review of the app or a +1 count shows brand endorsement. If you do these things you’re only solving the problems of 2009.

Mobile: Why not rethink acquisition? Move away from interruption at the point of need and become a part of their life. This is utility marketing. TripIt has mined data to deliver recommendations that fit a user’s preferences and lifestyle. Answer the question “How are you improving my life?”

To recap:

1. Solve for micro + macro
2. Solve for multiple channels
3. Think of social as a new opportunity, conversation, amplification, applause and economic value
4. For mobile solve for 2009 then 2001 and beyond

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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