Learning to Swim [part 2: The Experts]


When we don’t know (or think we don’t know) how to apply emerging technologies, we look to the experts. In this young bubble of the digital commons, expertise tends to equal experience. But experience can be viewed in terms of length and/or depth. My eldest child has the most experience at swimming, but he has no idea what his younger sister is up to. He also is midway to reaching his larger potential as a swimmer. He does not yet even understand the physical properties of water and buoyancy. Can he teach others what he knows? Yes. I see him with his diving friend, giving cannonball instructions. But he is also figuring it out as he goes along.

So how do you identify a guide who can offer genuine expertise?

The short answer: seek strategy over tactical, behavior over volume.

The long answer:

Instead, find a pro who knows how to work with behavior. How do people behave once they cross your digital threshold? Where did they come from? Why did they click? When they arrived, what caught their attention? For how long? And what did they do next? And then after that? Are they going to come back? And when they do, will they invest further? Will they share this with others?

How do they feel, not about your content or brand, but about the entire sensing experience you have created online?

Just as the largest companies in the world are learning how to swim (either they are aware of this or they find out the hard way), the populace is engaged in its own unspoken evolution of personal relevance in digital interaction. If you can understand the …

  • WHO (archetypes, not demographics)
  • WHAT (content relevancy, not clicks)
  • WHEN (lifestyle application, not time of day)
  • WHERE (archetype digital vehicles, not websites)
  • WHY (personal relevancy, not marketing response)

… then you can understand how to leverage analytics to innovate, serve, sell and endear.


This approach changes everything for the organizations I work with. Instead of boasting unique hits and audience growth, my clients study the indicators most ignore. Within 4-6 weeks of experimentation and behavioral trends analysis, they are able to identify the tiny number of pages/properties which consume 80%+ of all of their digital activities. Then comes a good round of open investigation. WHY? Why is it that, with, say, 149 content areas (pages), one web platform predominately serves up 3-4 pages 90% of the time? Often this process alone shines bright light into sales and marketing deficiencies, as organizations ask “Why don’t our visitors view the content areas we WANT them too?”.

Then we optimize those core content areas and set investment (time), consumption (attention) and interaction (sharing) goals. If it takes 76 seconds to read your most valuable content for creating a sale, then we set a goal of 80-90 seconds as the average time spent navigating that content area. If 61% of all users who make a purchase first watch a video, then we reorganize content to ensure video consumption and measure. Once we find that our most valuable content areas are being leveraged (on average) fully, we naturally find one of two things:

  • increased conversions (signups, sales, etc)
  • clarity on why we are not converting

So the next step is to improve our conversion strategy or the core offering itself (sometimes we need to redesign the product or service completely). How do we do this? We apply straightforward behavioral analytics, combined with archetype user profile development. Simply translated, archetype user profile development is the process of sorting data into clusters which represent different “types” of users.

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This is part 2 ( 1/3 )