The Digital Analytics Power Hour

Attend any conference for any topic and you will hear people saying after that the best and most informative discussions happened in the bar after the show. Ready any business magazine and you will find an article saying something along the lines of “Business Analytics is the hottest job category out there, and there is a significant lack of people, process and best practice.” In this case the conference was eMetrics, the bar was….multiple, and the attendees were Michael Helbling, Tim Wilson and Jim Cain (Co-Host Emeritus). After a few pints and a few hours of discussion about the cutting edge of digital analytics, they realized they might have something to contribute back to the community. This podcast is one of those contributions. Each episode is a closed topic and an open forum - the goal is for listeners to enjoy listening to Michael and Tim share their thoughts and experiences and, hopefully, take away something to try at work the next day.
RSS Feed Subscribe in iTunes



All Episodes
Now displaying: Page 1


Please visit the show's site at

Apr 25, 2017

"Psssst! Hey! Buddy! Want some analytics? Whatcha' lookin’'for? Insights? Recommendations? Maybe some implementation? I got anything you want, and I got it at a great price!…" Sound familiar? No? Well, then you’re just not hanging out in dark corners next to executive washrooms the world over! On this episode, Sayf Sharif of SEER Interactive joins us to chat about the how and when of selling analytics — from outside OR inside an organization. Plus, there’s a nice throw down about the proper pronunciation of "GIF." For complete show notes, including links to items mentioned in this episode and a transcript of the show, visit the show page.

Apr 11, 2017

Do you want to know something about analysts? They're people. And, not only are they people, but they work with people. And people have personalities. Even the hosts of this podcast have personalities. One of the hosts is introspective about the ramifications for those facts when it comes to his work. The other host gets so rattled by the topic that he uses the phrase "a lightbulb went off," when the appropriate figure of speech was actually "a lightbulb went ON." Can you guess which host is which? Give this episode a listen to find out! For complete show notes, including links to items mentioned in this show and a transcript of the episode, visit the show page.

Mar 28, 2017

Well into our third year of the show, we decided it was time to show that we've become hard-hitting audio journalists by bringing on a heavy-hitter in the world of display media and grilling him with tough questions. And then we found out we're not hard-hitting audio journalists. And the heavy-hitter we brought on was informative, articulate, and willing to muse objectively about the challenges that face display advertising. So much for the original plan! John Nardone of Flashtalking was actually the first person every targeted by a DoubleClick ad, and that was almost 20 years ago! You will hear that story in this episode, as well as sage little gems about "the mythical allusion that the (media) agency is in fact an agent for the client," as well as how "the technology is ahead of a lot of the advertisers’ ability to deploy it effectively." It was a fun and informative discussion! For complete show notes, including links to items mentioned in this episode and a transcript of the show, visit the show page.

Mar 14, 2017

FINALLY! It's a show all about Google Tag Manager! Oh. Wait. What's that? We had Simo Ahava on the show and actually covered a different topic entirely? WHAT NINNYHEAD APPROVED THAT DECISION?! Well, what's done is done. With 'nary a trigger or a container referenced, but plenty of wisecracks about scrum masters and backlogs and "definitions of 'done,'" we once again managed to coast a bit over the one-hour mark. And, frankly, we're pretty pleased with the chat we had. You'll just have to go to Simo's blog if your jonesing for a GTM fix. For complete show notes, including links to items mentioned in this episode and a transcript of the show, visit the show page.

Feb 28, 2017

So, knowledge management and data management walked into a bar and bumped into Github. The result? Open data and, specifically,! Coremetrics...and then Bazaarvoice founder Brett Hurt, along with and Bazaarvoice veteran Jon Loyens, joined us to talk about what open data is, why it's gaining traction, and why we all should care. And, if you've been pining to have us record an episode that runs for more than an hour, this one is it! For complete show notes, including links to items mentioned in this episode and a transcript of the show, visit the show page.

Feb 14, 2017

Have you ever been to a really great analytics conference and had just one great conversation after another with other attendees? We have! And, for this episode, we decided to head up into the hills above Budapest and try to bring that experience to you. With a range of fine and foreign libations in hand, a crackling fire toasting our backsides, and a roaming handheld microphone, we asked the questions, and the Superweek 2017 attendees provided the answers. Except when the audience asked the questions...for an episode releasing four weeks hence!


For complete show notes, including links to items mentioned in this episode and a transcript of the show, visit the show page.

Jan 31, 2017

The world is an oyster. It's also a system. A complex system! Companies are components in that system, and they're systems unto themselves! And marketing departments, and digital marketing, and the data therein, are systems, too. As analysts, we're looking for pearls in these systems (and you were wondering where we were going with this)! Join Michael and Tim as they chat with Christopher Berry of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) about "systems thinking." You'll be smarter for it! As a special "feature" (not a bug!) for this episode, we've done a bit of a throwback to the earliest days of this podcast, in that Michael's audio sounds a little bit like he was chatting through a tin can with a string tied to it. We apologize for that! For complete show notes, including links to items mentioned in this episode and a transcript of the show, visit the show page.

Jan 24, 2017

We say "public service announcement." You say "advertisement." Either way, it's just a smidge over two minutes, and we weren't due to release another full episode until next week, anyway. Give it a listen, check out, and let us know what you think!

Jan 17, 2017

Pop psychology is fun, if not that useful. Pop analytics can be dangerous! What IS pop analytics? It's a term coined (as far as we can tell) by analytics legend Kevin Hillstrom, and we managed to get him on the show to chat about it! The fact that it turned into a therapy session for Tim was just an added bonus. NOTE: We hit a glitch with Kevin's audio 45 minutes into the episode and have done our best to work around it. It was especially painful, in that he had some very nice things to say about the show, but, alas, the choppy audio means we won't be able to repurpose the clip for marketing purposes! We apologize for the glitch. It was something we didn't recognize for what it was when it happened, but now we know!

See the show notes, links, and transcription at:

Jan 3, 2017

Do you care about acquiring customers? Do you care about data? Do you like wearing shoes that have soles that are 2-3″ thick? Put those three things together and it means you care — or should care — about customer data platforms. On this episode, Todd Belcher from BlueConic joins us to explain what CDPs are and what they’re good for. Tune in to hear Todd masterfully steer clear of a sales pitch for his company…while Michael transitions on the fly from getting a basic understanding of CDPs…to installing BlueConic on this site…to pitching BlueConic himself!

For complete show notes, including links and the show transcript, go to:

Dec 20, 2016

2016 is almost in the books! In just over a week, we'll be ringing in the new year, and we have it on Very Good Authority that 2017 will be the Year of Mobile. But, this episode is as much about looking back as it is about looking forward -- looking back on how our industry has evolved, what product launches piqued our interest the most, and what Snoop Dogg-related stunt marketing occurred during the year. We even do a little navel gazing about the podcast itself: our favorite topics and guests (although we love ALL the topics and guests!), and a bit of news about what will be happening with the podcast in 2017. So kick back, bust open a few roasted chestnuts, spike your eggnog generously, and give it a listen! Technologies, services, and random items mentioned in this episode include: more past episodes than are worth linking to, RSiteCatalyst, Hidden Brain podcast: Can Social Science Help You Quit Smoking for Good?, SUPERWEEK, Matt Gershoff, Caleb Whitmore, Adobe Summit, eMetrics, MeasureCamp, Un-Summit, Digital Analytics Hub, Gary Angel / Digital Mortar, Paco Underhill / Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, Jan Exner, Justin Cutroni, Kevin Hillstrom, Measure Slack, Lee Isensee, Tableau, Domo, the Domo stunt at the Tableau Conference, John Scalzi, Joe Haldeman, and Philip K. Dick.

Dec 6, 2016

Have you ever seen a one-man show in the theater? It's awesome. Unless it's terrible. The same can be said for one-person digital analytics teams. It can be awesome, in that you get to, literally, do EVERY aspect of analytics. It can be terrible because, well, you've got to do EVERYTHING, and it's easy for the fun stuff to get squeezed out of the day. On this episode, we head back Down Under for a chat with Moe Kiss, product (and digital) analyst at THE ICONIC. Whether you pronounce "data" as DAY-tuh or DAH-tuh, Moe's perspective will almost certainly motivate you find new ways to push yourself and your organization forward. People, places, things, sites, and doodads mentioned in this episode were many, and they include: R, Tableau, Snowplow, adjust, Datalicious, Moe's post on Analysis of Competing Hypotheses, Moe's post on getting started in digital analytics,, RSiteCatalyst, The Millenial Whoop, Kabaddi, Michael Yates, ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), an Event Tracking Naming Strategy from Chris Le, Simo Ahava, Nico Miceli, and Towards Universal Event Analytics - Building an Event Grammar by Snowplow co-founder Alex Dean.

Nov 22, 2016

Step right up! Step right up! We've got your org charts here! If an analyst falls in the woods, and she reports into a hub-and-spoke model, is the result best illustrated with a 3D pie chart? Join Michael and Tim as they conclude that, at the end of the day, effective communication is imperative regardless of where the analysts sit organizationally. And, because, "Why not?" ride along on a digression about the product management of analytics platforms within the organization! Miscellany referenced in this episode include: 10 Tips to Maximize Your JavaScript Debugging Experience, The Comedians of Comedy, and Extras.

Nov 8, 2016

If you're in the U.S., happy election day! In the spirit of the mayhem and controversy that the political process brings, we're tackling a topic that is every bit as controversial: tag management. Does Adobe DTM gratuitously delete emails? Has GTM been perpetually unaware of when it is around a hot mic? What does Tealium have against coffee?! Is Signal broadcasting dog whistles to marketers about the glorious data they can collect and manage? What about Ensighten's sordid past where the CEO was spotted in public (at eMetrics) sporting a periwig? To discuss all of this (or...actual content), Josh West from Analytics Demystified joins us for a discussion that is depressingly civil and uncontentious. Many linkable things were referenced in this episode: Josh's Industry War starting blog post (from 2013), Adobe Dynamic Tag Management (DTM), Google Tag Manager (GTM), Signal, Tealium, Ensighten, Ghostery, Observepoint, Hub'scan, the Data Governance Episode of the Digital Analytics Power Hour (Episode #012)PhoneGap, Floodlight / Doubleclick / DFA, In the Year 2000 (Conan O'Brien), Bird Law, Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), Webtrends Streams, data management platforms (DMP), the Personalization Episode of the Digital Analytics Power Hour with Matt Gershoff (Episode #031),, and Tagtician.

Oct 25, 2016

You know what season it is? Well, in the United States, we're closing out a 4-year, never-ending cycle of electing a president. The tweets are getting tweeted and retweeted, the Facebook posts are getting posted and reacted to, and the video! Oh, the video! So, what better time to dive into social media ANALYTICS than today? Join Michael and Tim as they dive into this topic -- which they both love to hate -- with Hayes Davis, co-founder and CEO of Union Metrics. You might even want to Snapchat a filtered picture of yourself listening to it to someone! Miscellany mentioned in this episode include: Union Metrics, Great Lakes Brewery Christmas Ale, The Innovator's Dilemma, Oreo's Super Bowl Blackout tweet, WhatsApp, Scott Brinker on People vs. Data/Strategy/Technology, csvkit, SQLite,, and Is this my interface or yours?

Oct 11, 2016

Have you ever read an analytics job description? Have you found yourself wondering, "Is it just me, or is there something fishy going on here?" Who better to verbally cogitate this question writ large than a couple of guys who haven't actually applied for a job in a few years? Join Michael and Tim as they dive into the world of analytics job descriptions and chat about the red flags they find...and the various tangential thoughts that the exercise itself sparks. Resources mentioned in this episode include: the Digital Analytics Association, Google Tag Manager Updates: Workspaces and User Manager by Amanda Schroeder from LunaMetrics, Revamped User Interface in Google Tag Manager by Simo Ahava.

Sep 27, 2016

Do you listen to podcasts? Well, of course you do! Are you working in or involved with analytics? If you listen to this podcast, you almost certainly are! Where do those two interests intersect? On this episode! Steve Mulder, Senior Director of Audience Insights at National Public Radio (NPR), joins Michael and Tim to discuss podcast measurement...and audience measurement...and the evolution of analytics...and standards (well...guidelines)...and more! Tim fanboys out in a way that would be embarrassing if he was sufficiently self-aware to be embarrassed. In other words, it's a rollicking good romp through public media. Resources and the like mentioned in this episode are many and varied: The User Is Always Right, Podtrac, Public Broadcasting Podcast Measurement Guidelines (, Comscore, DFP, Splunk, NPR One, Panoply Network, Gimlet Media, IAB, MediaShift: Bulgarian Analytics Startup Aims to Fix How Publishers Use Data, Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions, the NPR Politics Podcast, and Planet Money #669: A or B.

Sep 13, 2016

The intro bumper for this podcast says "the occasional guest," and, yet, the last five episodes have had guests. That's hardly "occasional," so Tim and Michael had a choice: either change the intro or do an episode on a topic for which both of them have experience, interest, and, hopefully, at least modest authority. In this show, the guys dig into hypotheses: how to identify and articulate them, the pitfalls involved in *not* clearly stating them, and where they see organizations and analysts get tripped up. They have a hypothesis that you will get some value out of the show, and, if they're right, that you will share the show with a colleague and maybe even give it a positive rating on iTunes. People, places, and things referenced in this episode: Helen Hunt, Twister, Mythbusters, assumption governance, the Science Vs. podcast, and the Invisibilia podcast.

Aug 30, 2016

The machines are coming! The machines are coming! Artifiicial Intelligence is here. But what is it, and how long will we have to wait for the technology to completely take over all analysis work? Dennis Mortensen -- founder of -- joins us on this episode for a deep dive into the topic. You will be surprised by how pragmatic and real AI seems as Dennis describes how he approaches it. And...then his last call will completely blow up the nice, cozy layer of downy comfort that you've settled into during the discussion. So it goes. Artificial intelligences and things referenced in this episode include:, Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Planet Money Episode #626, Wait But Why on The Fermi Paradox, and Rick and Morty.

Aug 16, 2016

Somebody wants to overthink their analytics tools? Tell 'em their dreamin'! We wanted to talk about open source and event analytics and Snowplow sits right at that intersection. Our guest Simon Rumble is the co-founder of Snowflake Analytics and one of the longest users of Snowplow. We wrap up the show with all the places you can find Simon and Tim in the next few months. Fun fact: You will also learn in this episode that conversion funnels go down the opposite direction in Australia. 

Aug 2, 2016

Once upon a time, in an industry near and dear, lived an analyst. And that analyst needed to present the results of her analysis to a big, scary, business user. This is not a tale for the faint of heart, dear listener. We're talking the Brothers Grimm before Disney got their sugar-tipped screenwriting pens on the stories! Actually, this isn't a fairy tale at all. It's a practical reality of the analyst's role: effectively communicating the results of our work out to the business. Join Michael and Tim and special guest, Storytelling Maven Brent Dykes, as they look for a happy ending to The Tale of the Analyst with Data to Be Conveyed.

Tangential tales referenced in this episode include: Web Analytics Action Hero, Brent Dykes Articles on, The Wizard of Oz, Made to Stick, Data Storytelling: The Essential Data Science Skill Everyone Needs, The Story of Maths, and

Jul 19, 2016

What IS customer intelligence? What is a customer? Is the customer best understood by breaking the word down into its component parts: "cuss" and "tumor?" Would that be an intelligent thing to do? Will these and related questions some day be answered by self-aware machines? Will any of *these* questions be answered on this episode? Give it a listen and find out!

The mish-mash of companies, products, and miscellany mentioned on this show include: Adobe, Oracle/ATG, SAS Customer Intelligence,, Scott Brinker (Chief Martec), Domo, Data Studio 360, Tableau, iJento, Netezza, SPSS, Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, Eight Is Enough, Legend of the Plaid Dragon (and the Slack version), Office Vibe, p-value article on (and the p-hacking app), and the "AI, Deep Learning, and Machine Learning" video.

Jul 5, 2016

In this episode, we dive deep on a 1988 classic: Tom Hanks, under the direction of Penny Marshall, was a 12-year-old in a 30-year-old's body... Actually, that's a different "Big" from what we actually cover in this episode. In this instant classic, the star is BigQuery, the director is Google, and Michael Healy, a data scientist from Search Discovery, delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as Zoltar. In under 48 minutes, Michael (Helbling) and Tim drastically increased their understanding of what Google BigQuery is and where it fits in the analytics landscape. If you'd like to do the same, give it a listen!

Technologies, books, and sites referenced in this episode were many, including: Google BigQuery and the BigQuery API Libraries, Google Cloud Services, Google Dremel, Apache Drill, Amazon Redshift (AWS), Rambo III (another 1988 movie!), Hadoop, Cloudera, the Observepoint Tag Debugger, Our Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, and a video of math savant Scott Flansburg.

Jun 21, 2016

As Dr. Phil says, "Never put more into a relationship than you can afford to lose." Not sure what that has to do with Excel but it sounds vaguely wise, which is the whole point. Tim and Michael try to be your relationship coach for Microsoft Excel. Despised by data scientists, but used by everyone else, where are the boundaries and who has what it takes to enforce them. Join us in an exploration of our digital analytics love/hate affair with that most ubiquitous of analytics tools.

(Cell) references made in this episode include:, Juice Analytics, ggplot2Bullet Charts in Excel, Geeks and Greeks by Steve Altes, Google Firebase.

Jun 7, 2016

To outsource or not to outsource -- that is the question:
Whether 'tis more efficient to tap
The skills and talents of those who bill by the hour,
Or to bring resources inside as full-time staff,
And, by doing so, manage them.
To contract, to outsource -- No more -- and by outsource to say we get
Our insights and our implementation work
Managed by others -- 'tis a scenario
Devoutly to be wished. To contract, to outsource --
To outsource, perchance to analyze. Aye, there's the rub.

Besides ignoring iambic pentameter in the process of butchering a Shakespearean reference, this episode, perchance, also makes reference to the following:

1 2 3 Next »