For more than a decade, Juan Manuel Damia has worked the web analytics industry as a consultant, speaker, teacher, blogger and writer. He is the Co-founder and CEO of Intellignos, one of Latin America’s leading providers of business intelligence and digital analytics services, and the Regional Coordinator of the Web Analytics Association (WAA). Damia is also the author of Meta Analytics.
With Intellignos, Damia has set out to help businesses make the biggest possible impact with their online marketing efforts, from maximizing ROI to obtaining the most relevant information in order to make better decisions and improve conversion rates.
He spoke with PulsoSocial about information management, metrics and online research across various industries and across companies big and small.
Clarisa Herrera: In your mind, are big companies strategically using the information that exists online?
Juan Damia: The current problem with information and the online world isn’t a lack of understanding or comprehension of the importance of digital metrics – that’s solved with training. The problem is the culture of big companies, which hasn’t been adapted for working with real-time information or with the volume of data available today, which is overwhelming. There’s no data-driven culture. Cultural change, in that sense, happens much faster than the training needed to understand it. It requires changes in organizational structure and educating people in consequence. It’s not an easy task.
CH: Let’s look at the scene by industry. What’s happening in the banking and finance vertical?
JD: The focus of the banking and finance sector is strictly commercial. While it is a much more classic, conservative industry, it’s gone online with the idea of profiting from the channel. Improving client and user experience, in that sense, is fundamental. People have practically stopped going to the bank. Everything is home banking, and the negative connotation of going to the bank has transformed. What we’re seeing that, in simplifying their lives, consumers are more willing to purchase financial services online. And in real time. Banks launch a product, and right away, they are seeing if it works, and social media buzz starts to echo. The entire objective is to improve the experience of and ties with the client. Having information becomes something positive.
CH: Does the mass consumer sector also focus on the commercial?
JD: No. Big companies in that rubric haven’t figured out what to do online, not only in Latin America but abroad. It’s just branding. They bet on the value of getting fans and likes on social media, and they’ve realized that they’ve invested money in it for years without any concrete results. Moreover, the fans and likes belong to Facebook, not them, and aren’t loyal to their sites. They supposedly generate engagement, but companies make money in the present and the future, and no one can guarantee that all of these actions on social media are generating more purchase intention or an impression that their products are better. So, they’re seeking results that don’t really add value to the company, they don’t add anything. Fans and likes are cool and fun, but businesses aren’t about being cool and fun, they’re about making money. If we show them metrics that fail to demonstrate that, they’ll keep doing it because it’s interesting, but when the fad passes, it won’t stick.
CH: It would appear that e-commerce gets a greater advantage from the information obtained online. Is that the case?
JD: Yes, e-commerce businesses are at a higher level in terms of online information management. Most are far ahead of companies in these other sectors, and they’re starting to figure out bottlenecks in information analysis. The use they’re making of all of this has to do with what’s in real time. They make a small modification and try to analyze right away its impact in generating profits. Test and measure, test and measure, and maximize client experience on the site. They’re constantly testing based on the information they have to figure out how to best convert clients.
CH: What’s happening with publishers?
JD: There is a huge capacity for growth in that area. It was one of the first industries to get involved in online information and statistics, but knowledge in the area has stalled. The industry moves under the parameter of the site with the most traffic, and it’s strange, because advertising enters in bulk when it can come through other mediums, be improved or generate more profits. The entities seeking advertising always want to be on the home page, because they think that’s how you make more and get more impressions, but many publishers lose money because, for example, if they look at it more strategically, they can follow online behavior and offer advertisements to those they know may be more interested in something specific. In such cases, there is a greater potential for conversion. The content consumed is telling of what could interest a person at a specific moment, and that’s the sort of tracking that has to be done.
CH: Does the culture of metrics only apply to big companies?
JD: No. In Wayra, we work with projects that are just starting. We promote a data-oriented culture from the very start and encourage decision-making based on data from the beginning. It’s something that’s fairly new, but it’s on their level as well, and they can take advantage of it.