Customer Analytics Summit 2014 Chicago: Day 1 Highlights

Highlights from the presentations by Big Data & Analytics experts from ShareThis, Netflix and Ancestry on day 1 of Customer Analytics Summit 2014.

Customer analytics is becoming critical. Customers are more empowered and connected than ever. And becoming more so. Customers have access to information anywhere, any time – where to shop, what to buy, how much to pay, etc. That makes it increasingly important to predict how customers will behave when interacting with your organization, so you can respond accordingly.

ieanalyticsCustomer Analytics Summit (June 19-20, 2014) was organized by Innovation Enterprise in Chicago. It brought together analytics executives and data scientists working in retail, ecommerce and consumer goods, offering unique insight into the innovations that are revolutionizing their relationship with customers.

We provide here a summary of selected talks along with the key takeaways.

Here are highlights from Day 1 (Thursday, June 19, 2014):

Andrew StevensAndrew Stevens, VP, Strategy & Research, ShareThis delivered a talk titled “The Return on a Share: Quantifying the Monetary Value of Social Sharing”. He initiated the talk discussing about the growth of the social web, not just in terms of people’s adoption of social tools but also in terms of proliferation of different ways people use to share content. Now, proliferation has been rapid. This user created content is available in such a large volume that it has actually changed the way people make purchase decision. He mentioned that even the impact of sharing is well documented. ShareThis commissioned the first study of its kind to measure the impact of sharing on purchase process. They used conjoint methodology to determine the relative importance of various factors affecting the consumer purchase decision. Key findings: Purchase Decision Metrics
  1. Recommendations are more important to the consumer purchase decision than both brand and price.
  2. Similar pattern across different verticals.
  3. Online shares are nearly as valuable as in-person recommendations. Also, online shares are more valuable than consumer reviews and ratings.
  4. Source of share is important.
  5. Verticals and corresponding worth of an excellent share:
    Auto Brands - $3708
    Electronic Brands - $25
    CPG Brands - $0.92

At the end, he shared the virtuous circle of sharing: Sharing -> Insights -> Optimization -> Earned Media -> Larger Audience.

Bryan GummBryan Gumm, Manager, Experimentation Platform & Science, Netflix talked about “A/B Testing + Subscription Models”. He kicked off his talk reviewing subscription-based business. Netflix has a model of free trial and paid monthly subscription. Business having Netflix like subscription models are concerned with getting more subscribers. Talking about conversion testing he said that standard techniques do not succeed and need longer testing lead times. Regarding experimentation cycle, for faster results, one has following options:
  1. Limit the window of churn/retention – May not capture true business value
  2. Explore secondary metrics – May not capture true business value
  3. Explore models

He discussed cell scoring using proxy metrics – methodology to score test cells by assigning a lifetime value (LTV) to each subscriber in the cell as a function of proxy metrics. The biggest advantage of this methodology is that it is aligned with Netflix’s business objective since LTV is a long-term engagement metric. He also shared cell scoring using consumption – applied to get the predicted retention for the first N months where N should be wherever the retention levels out. He concluded the talk sharing conversion testing implications.

Julia Barbiarz Julia Barbiarz, Senior Director, Interactive Art and Emily Titcomb, Senior Manager, Product Marketing from Ancestry gave an interesting talk on “Driving Page Optimization with Data”. They shared quick facts about Ancestry: 2.7 million total subscribers, more than 30 billion records and images, etc. They shared insights from a project with objective to improve conversion on’s key offer pages. In phase one, they worked on reducing choices, creative design and duration defaults. This led to 20% increase in conversion.

Emily Titcomb Reducing the friction of choice on the offer page led to a significant increase in conversion – but only at the right price point.

During second phase, they created template standardizing look and designing for easy customization/optimization though targeted content. However, this led to 7.5% decrease in conversion. On detailed analysis they found that type of button, price and images position were most important variables to consider. At last, they found standard button with price below and images left led to increase in conversion by 1.94%. Conversion - Ancestry
Price placement was the most influential element on conversion.

They concluded the talk recommending mapping out primary user journeys and conversion rates in order to identify top opportunities.

Highlights from day 2.