SAN FRANCISCO —Marketers, web analysts and business intelligence professionals are attending the eMetrics Summit here this week to learn more about gleaning actionable insight from digital touchpoint data and its role in driving digital transformation.

The goal is to improve the customer experience with digital analytics and marketing optimization, explained conference founder Jim Sterne in his opening remarks.

The eMetrics Summit, now in its 15th year, focuses on driving business results through data analysis and technology adoption, and helps marketers and IT professionals use data to make better customer and digital experiences, he said.

Running simultaneously with Predictive Analytics World and Affiliate Management Days at the Marriott Marquis, eMetrics runs through tomorrow. Here are some of the first day takeaways.

Forget Stupid Silos

Gary Angel, a principal in EY's Digital Analytics Center of Excellence, said what hurts us when we want to do digital are "stupid silos."

Angel shared learnings about the necessity of incorporating analytics in any digital transformation strategy. “Analytics is the way to do things right if you want to make good decisions, understand the world,” he said.

He said it frustrates him that more organizations fail to follow the analytic-driven success of companies like Facebook or LinkedIn.

Enterprises struggle with digital analytics because they are still relatively new and there's been little standardization of best practices, Angel told CMSWire.

“That alone would make it hard for most enterprises. Worse, the real talent is located in a small number of markets," he said, noting that it is hard to lure highly skilled talent outside those major markets.

One Seamless Mission

And then there is the whole problem of silos, created by misguided attempts to treat digital analytics as a distinct capability along with capabilities like testing, content development, content implementation, tagging, SEO, customer journey mapping and voice of the customer.

"When an enterprise needs a capability, they create a silo for it,” he said.

Angel said he “fell into” analytics after starting out as a programmer, working primarily in finance before transitioning into digital analytics when the web took off.

“I did a couple of small personal web businesses. I created a site for (California) wineries. Trying to optimize those sites gave me a real understanding of and desire to build better digital measurement.”

“One thing a lot of analysts who come into the field these days are missing is any real experience trying to actually build or optimize a web business. It helps make the analytics much more pointed.”

Be Experimental

Josh Aberant, VP of Growth at SparkPost, a cloud-based email platform, talked about his time as postmaster at Twitter, where he was a part of a 300-person growth team.

The Twitter growth team copied the agile methods of the dev teams, building an agile cadence of experimentation.

Twitter’s retweet feature came out of growth hacking, Aberant said.

Users manually copying and rewriting other people’s tweets caught their attention, and how people were doing it was very “messy” in the beginning. Running experiments and using data and user state models, or what data people call growth hacking, ultimately guided Twitter’s growth team to incorporate retweeting as a function.

Because Twitter’s traffic and data were large enough, there was enough traffic to around for 1 percent experiments.

“At Twitter, anyone can run 1 percent experiments,” he said. And no one needs approval.

When running 1 percent experiments, Aberant suggests targeting the “at risk” customers rather than regular customers who already return and engage with your product. New user experience is a good place to focus your experimentation efforts, Aberant said.

Aberant pronounced the purchasing funnel dead.

Automate and Scale

Over lunch, representatives from Origami Logic, a Mountain View, Calif.-based marketing analytics firm, explained how Visa tracked a major global campaign using their technology.

When Visa became one of the largest sponsors of the FIFA World Cup in 2014, it needed to track more than 40 countries, 200 channels and 1 billion engagements in real time.

Visa used Origami’s platform to measure its marketing dollars, gather insights and eliminate redundant tools, said Jessica Williams, global innovation marketing and analytics leader at Visa.

Opher Kahane, CEO and co-founder of Origami Logic, said companies need to adopt automation. A lot of organizations still use stone age tools by today’s marketing standards, Kahane said.

“They can't really move at the pace and optimize at the pace that the market demands of them … they aren't really be data-driven," he said.

Automation needs to begin as a fundamental organization decision, Kahane told CMSWire.

“The brand needs to wear the pants in that relationship and drive, rather than be on the receiving end of it. Make sure that there’s the right platform in place to deal with all layers of this marketing signal challenge around measuring their performance.”

As the organization scales, it needs to reassess to make sure the data yields are relevant and provide actionable insights, Kahane said. Then it needs to measure and optimize faster.

“Start small and scale into it, but pick the partner and processes and people that will allow you to increasingly scale. Otherwise, if your solution isn’t scalable, you’ll end up again with a bunch of siloed solutions, each for a different region or brand and campaign," he said.