Columbus Web Analytics Wednesday — Feedback Analysis
It’s been a crazy month work-wise. As a result, I’ve been chalking up thoughts in my head that I’d love to get written down. One of those thoughts is actually around time management and prioritization, which I’ve been pondering in the context of, among other things, my blogging…but that’s not the subject of this post!
Following our last Web Analytics Wednesday (and somewhat in preparation for our next one), I put out a survey to my list of 150+ past registrants. I used Google Documents for the survey, which is the second or third time I’ve used Google as a survey tool over using the free version of Survey Monkey or some other service. I think I’m hooked. While you don’t have a whole lot of control over how the data gets stored in the underlying Google spreadsheet, the user experience is pretty clean, which I like. And the data can be exported straight from the Google spreadsheet and manipulated in Excel (I know I could theoretically evaluate it within the Google spreadsheet, but I’ve never managed to spend enough time with Google Docs to really have the agility I’d like there).
I received 21 responses to the survey, which is a 13% response rate. Not bad! The main “profile” question I asked was how many Columbus WAWs the respondent had attended. The results showed a pretty even mix from “little to none” to “some or a lot:”
That’s good, as I feel like the results are pretty representative of the population we’re trying to serve. I didn’t go deep in the survey as to company, industry, role, etc. — we’ve got a pretty good feel for that, and I knew I wasn’t going to go nuts with trying to segment the results as part of the analysis.
What Attendees Are Looking to Get Out of WAWs
So, what are attendees looking to get out of Columbus WAWs? This question had 3 options for each category: “Not really,” “Sort of,” and “Very Much So” (my friends at Foresee Results would probably tell me that a 10-point scale without intermediate labels would have been a much cleaner method…but I’ve never claimed to be an expert in this sort of thing). The chart below shows the “Very Much So” and the “Sort of” responses (I segmented by the number of times people had attended and did not glean anything of note there):
Networking came out of the top of the list, although it was a virtual tie with increasing web analytics knowledge. That’s great, as these are two of the core goals for WAWs. We need to keep doing a “pure networking” event here and there. A challenge with those events is with the sponsorship — if we get a sponsor other than the Web Analytics Wednesday Global Sponsors, we really need to give them a forum to talk. All of our past sponsors have been great about not making their presentations “sales pitches” — we get good, practical content from them. But, they get to solidify their positions as experts in an area.
Dave Culbertson and I have discussed several times that WAWs seem to draw SEO/SEM-interested people as much as web analytics-interested people. The disciplines have a heavy overlap, so that’s not a surprise. The survey results back this up, so we will continue to incorporate search-oriented topics.
I was a bit surprised by the low number of people who indicated “find a job,” as it seems like I talk to one or two people each month who are between opportunities. That may be the result of an imperfectly sampled population.
And, it’s good to know that there’s a healthy interest in drinking good beer (although that puts a tough constraint on the venue selection, which I’ll touch on later).
On a highly practical front, we occasionally get feedback that Wednesday evenings are a bad time for a person — we’ve had some past regulars who simply haven’t been able to attend due to commitments elsewhere on Wednesday evenings (pool league, hockey league, teaching CCD, etc.). When we first started WAWs in Columbus, we held them on Tuesdays for this very reason, but a survey last year showed a shift to Wednesdays would work better.
In this survey, Wednesday dinners did come out at the top of the pack:
Now, there very well may be survey bias in the responses to these questions, because we’ve been consistently holding WAWs on Wednesdays over happy hour/dinner, which means most of the people invited to participate in the survey had registered for an event at that time. But, that’s the only group I have easy access to in order to survey, so I’m running with it.
As one more check (and somewhat just for the data visualization challenge of it), I cross-tabbed these two questions and put it on a bubble chart:
Again, Wednesday dinners are the clear winner. What’s a little troubling is that only 2/3 of the respondents indicated this combination was good for them. We’ll have to grapple with that a bit — you can’t please all the people all the time, certainly, but we also don’t want to shut out people all the time due to structural conflicts. My take is that we can definitely steer clear of Fridays and we should stick with “after work” time slots. But, we may try mixing up the days of the week a bit.
Data visualization side note: the way I represented the data above works okay, I think, but it also is a good exercise in showing one of the reasons that pie charts are evil. The number inside each circle shows how many respondents had answers that fell in both categories. Compare the size of a “1” to the size of the “14” — does it look to you like the larger circle is fourteen times as big as the smaller one? It doesn’t to me. In this case, the bubbles have the values labeled inside of them, partly because the pure visualization seemed misleading. Human beings are notoriously bad at interpreting 2-dimensional areas.
We’ve got a wide range of ways we promote WAWs, so I wanted to get a sense as to which ones people preferred.
The only surprise here was that “Running into Dave Culbertson” was at the bottom of the list! Of course, I didn’t ask Dave to mention to people he ran into that this survey was posted, so there’s that pesky survey bias again. We’ll keep up the e-mails (in almost two years of building up the Columbus WAW database, we’ve had a total of 2 opt outs, so I’ll keep the frequency of communication about the same, as it seems to be working).
A number of respondents took the time to provide detailed thoughts on the event overall, and, specifically, on the request for other venue suggestions.
I have an infatuation with Wordle at the moment (specifically when it comes to certain types of online listening), which is one of those subjects for a future posts. Below is a wordle of the general feedback responses — I can’t help but smile when I look at it:
A summary of some of the specifics in the general feedback:
- There were several suggestions that we occasionally have practitioners rather than vendors present: case studies, best practices, or even peer problem-solving sessions
- There was a suggestion to try a round table or un-conference format around the state of SEM/SEO/analtyics
- One respondent suggested a competition of sorts — having attendees bring their “best stuff” on a topic or a challenge; maybe even trying to have a prize of some sort to the “winner”
- “If you could get Avinash Kaushik to speak that would be SWEET!”
- One person noted that our topics tend to very consumer brand-oriented (which is true), and that it would be nice to have content that is more general and that could be applied to B2B
- There was a pretty healthy level of general gushing about the quality and value of the event
One person noted in the general feedback that “I like Barleys as a venue- that room has nice square dimensions that keep the energy together- you can’t really get stuck off to the side.” We knew Barley’s was good, but this was a fresh perspective on one of the reasons as to “why.” On the “alternative venue suggestions” question, several people commented that any location needed to be central (as Barley’s is). The only specific alternative venue suggested was Spaghetti Warehouse, which we’ve used in the past. It is centrally located, and it has a pretty good meeting spot (we’ve been seated upstairs), and it’s quiet enough to have conversations. The two downsides are: 1) the area where it’s located (although they do have a security guard posted in the parking lot at all times), and 2) the beverage selection. One of the responses to the venue question was: “Anywhere with ‘Good Beer’!” Spaghetti Warehouse definitely falls short on that front, but at least it’s not entirely dry!
We may give that another shot.
Feedback Is ALWAYS Welcome
If you didn’t participate in the survey (or if you did but have other comments), please leave a comment or drop me an e-mail (“tim” at this site’s domain).