#34 MeasureFest and brightonSEO – April 2022 debrief (with Liam Grant and Matthew Hooson)

The Measure Pod
The Measure Pod
#34 MeasureFest and brightonSEO - April 2022 debrief (with Liam Grant and Matthew Hooson)
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This week Dan and Dara are joined by Liam Grant and Matthew Hooson to chat about their experiences at MeasureFest and brightonSEO. The pick out their favourite talk and the relevance and application in the analytics world wherever possible.

Check out Dan’s Marvel-themed Google Analytics 4 presentation slides on “The role of GA in the future MarTech stack” over at https://bit.ly/3JKL3M9.

Dan’s pick is from Will Critchlow on “Lessons from hundreds of SEO A/B tests” – https://bit.ly/3vh2vTj.

Matthew’s pick is from Michael Van Den Reym on “Automate the technical SEO stuff” – https://bit.ly/3Oc1wwl.

Liam’s pick is from Harry Sumner on “Stat packages: the secret recipe to getting SEO implemented” – https://bit.ly/3M7mvPa.

Dara’s pick is from Max Hoppy on “How they teach you to be creative at Google” – https://bit.ly/3xrQ9KI.

In other news, Dan games, Dara runs, Liam gets techy and Matthew paints!

Check out on LinkedIn:

Music from Confidential, check out more of their lofi beats on Spotify at https://spoti.fi/3JnEdg6 and on Instagram at https://bit.ly/3u3skWp.

Please leave a rating and review in the places one leaves ratings and reviews. If you want to join Dan and Dara on the podcast and talk about something in the analytics industry you have an opinion about (or just want to suggest a topic for them to chit-chat about), email podcast@measurelab.co.uk or find them on LinkedIn and drop them a message.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Dara: Hello, and thanks for joining us in The Measure Pod, a podcast for people in the analytics world. I’m Dara, I’m the managing director at Measurelab. I’m joined as always by Dan, who is a lead analytics consultant also at Measurelab. Hey Dan, tell us what’s new in the analytics world this week.

[00:00:31] Daniel: Hey Dara, well, two small updates and still feeling like they’re absolute nothing compared to the big bombshell from the other week, but Google Analytics 4 have released an auto-complete function in their search bar. So now as you start typing it auto completes the rest, and you would’ve thought from a search engine giant that this kind of stuff would be part and parcel of their product suite. But no, so they’re releasing updates to that, which, in a sense it’s quite handy to have, or at least we’re giving them air time so there’s that, and the other side is Data Studio. So Data Studio have finally taken their sort of SQL server, Microsoft SQL server and Amazon Redshift connectors out to beta. So now publicly available, I suppose they were before, but now they’ve taken the Beta flag off, whatever that means. So a good step in the right direction.

[00:01:12] Dara: Sorry Dan, I nodded off slightly during those incredible bits of news.

[00:01:16] Daniel: I know, I’ll be sure to follow all the links up in there so you can continue learning around these amazing big updates. But yeah, no, you’re right they’re pretty boring, they’re pretty mundane to be honest.

[00:01:25] Dara: News of Universal Analytics being put in the ground, what other updates can compete with that?

[00:01:30] Daniel: Yeah, exactly. Or maybe we’re just waiting for the next bombshell right, now we’ve been conditioned for it. Who knows? But yeah, like small minute updates, but nevertheless, they still keep coming, which is a positive sign that they’re still investing, they’re still evolving, they’re still developing.

[00:01:43] Dara: Absolutely. Okay, onto this week’s topic. So we’re actually joined this week by not one, but two guests, two fellow Measurelabbers. So we’ve got Liam Grant and Matthew Hooson joining us. And the reason being before we get them to introduce themselves, the reason being all four of us were at brightonSEO conference last week. So starting with the MeasureFest fringe event, which we spoke at and was also on a panel for, and that was followed up by the two days of the main conference.

[00:02:10] Dara: So we thought it’d be a good idea to come on The Measure Pod and have a chat about what we learned or maybe unlearned or didn’t learn, which talks we liked and what we took away from the three days in Brighton, apart from just having a nice time and a beer after the conference. So we’re going to do a usual little intro, so instead of just giving a generic intro, I’m going to ask each of you how you got into, fell into, stumbled into, walked into, meandered into, whatever the wonderful world of analytics. So in no particular order, Liam, I’m going to ask you first. So give us a bit of a, a bit of a story about how you ended up working in the analytics and data field.

[00:02:51] Liam: Yeah excellent. Thanks Dara, thanks for having me, Dan. I guess I’ll tell you how I fell down the analytics trap door, so to speak. I did environmental science while I was at university. And I was pretty good at Excel, so we were doing a lot of the kind of modelling for that. And when I left uni, I went to work for a retailer and while I was there, I started to do the Excel work for the customer service department. And someone just saw that I was good at Excel and I started doing reporting for more and more parts of the company, and then finally they went, oh maybe we should make you a data analyst since that’s what you’re spending more of your time doing.

[00:03:33] Liam: So it was a needs fit, and that I could do the Excel reporting and no one else wanted to do it. And that’s kind of how I, how I fell down this hole. And now I’m trapped here and I can’t get it back out.

[00:03:44] Dara: Still use an Excel?

[00:03:45] Liam: I’m a Google Sheets man now.

[00:03:48] Dara: Good answer. What about you, Matthew?

[00:03:50] Matthew: Yeah hi, thanks for having me as well. I went on a, on a bit of a mission to find and be employed in every kind of job there was available for a long while. So originally a long while ago, a decade or so ago, I trained to be a nurse, I went to university to train to be a nurse that didn’t really pan out. And then I went off and did biomedical science at university, whilst also doing a bit of pub landlording in that time, story for another day. Until eventually I went over to be a medical journal editor using the little bit of my degree, and then one day Google Analytics wasn’t working in the way it should have been working. I put my hand up to have a little look under the hood and see if I could figure out what was wrong. I figured out what was wrong and then forever more I was labelled within that company as the Google Analytics guy, and it just grew from there. And I eventually transitioned to the analytics manager and come over and work with Measurelab. So I’m very much enjoying my being trapped I’ll say.

[00:04:44] Dara: You could have just said a typical journey into analytics, trainee nurse, pub landlord, medical publication analytics. That’s the kind of norm isn’t it?

[00:04:52] Matthew: That’s the status quo yeah.

[00:04:54] Dara: Okay, so this is the bit where we now have to all test each other on whether we actually paid attention over the three-day conference that we went to. So I’m going to, Dan, you’ve got to be first up, first in the hot seat, and that’s going to give me Matthew and Liam a chance to quickly try and remember what we saw and learned. You can kick us off, what was the standout talk? Or what was a memorable talk for you? You’re not allowed to say your own talk.

[00:05:18] Daniel: Oh, well you caught me off guard. If I can’t talk about myself, then what do I talk about? No, no, of course not. Okay so I really enjoyed the three days just to start, I thought it was an amazing three days and obviously the variety of MeasureFest an analytics focused one. Obviously it’s going to be my favourite, it’s analytics themed, it’s analytics based. Within that, there was lots of variations. There was people talking about data storytelling and the technical aspects and the setup of GA4 in some new bits of Universal Analytics as well.

[00:05:44] Daniel: I thought it was really interesting and a really good group of people. I love being around other analytics people it just is real buzz and is finally a real kind of place where you can actually talk about what you do without people scratching their heads and having question marks. And the other two days were really good as well so brightonSEO. It’s almost because we get the ticket as part of going to MeasureFest. It’s almost like a, why not, but actually there are some real gems within the conference itself, as well as the social aspect of doing two additional full days and meeting lots of people. So yeah, just first of all, off the bat, it was a really good time and very worthwhile, even from an analytics perspective.

[00:06:15] Daniel: It sounds like I’m phoning it in a little bit, but my favourite talk that I want to talk about is actually the first talk on the first day from brightonSEO. And not because I then bunked off the rest, I promise you. But actually it was a really, really interesting conversation and really relevant to the world of analytics as well, and it’s by a guy called Will Critchlow from SearchPilot. The title of the talk is lessons from hundreds of SEO A/B tests. And I went into this thinking I’ve heard of A/B testing. I do a bit of that, we do some analysis around that, but actually the SEO aspect of it was brand new to me.

[00:06:45] Daniel: But some of the stuff I found really fascinating is that SEO A/B testing is completely different to CRO A/B testing and actually the way that he explained it, which was really helpful is if you imagine your conversion funnel, CRO A/B testing is trying to widen the bottom of the funnel to try and get more people coming to the website or app to convert, whereas SEO A/B testing is widening the top of the funnel, it’s getting more people in. And I thought that’s a really nice way of explaining it and the way they do that, isn’t by dynamically changing pages as people load the content as CRO A/B tests are quite often done.

[00:07:14] Daniel: Actually, it’s a really interesting approach where you have to group similar pages together. So if you’re a travel company, you group similar destinations together, or at least split them into the A and the B, so that the totals match in terms of performance and volumes of traffic and rank factors and things like that. And then you make the change across one set of groups of pages. So generally it’s an SEO change, page title, layouts, those kinds of things. So you’re testing across loads of pages at the same time, but you’ve done the, I suppose the hard part of the analysis part is actually the segmentation of the A and the B in terms of the pages.

[00:07:47] Daniel: So one set of destination pages in this travel example have changed and then the other set, not the origin, not the variant will be left as it is. And then you do the analysis as a whole across the whole website. So it’s a really interesting flavour of testing that I really, really enjoyed. He went into some examples and got us to test kind of like, would this improve ranking or would this not, or would this improve this? To be fair I think I got one out of four right, so I’m no good judge for this, but yeah, the overall application of SEO A/B testing was really, really interesting. And again, that difference of widening the top of the funnel rather than the bottom, where to be honest in my career, I spent a lot of time analysing in the bottom of the funnel. Whereas actually this is throwing the whole concept on its head and I thought it was really interesting.

[00:08:27] Dara: I saw that, I think he did it twice, I saw him on the second day. One of the interesting things I thought about it was that in a lot of the cases, changing something had a positive result rather than it necessarily being because of the thing that was changed. So he had one example, which he said he couldn’t explain, or he said it shouldn’t logically make a difference, but they moved around some of the HTML and then did a test and the modified page perform better, even though it shouldn’t actually have any impact on ranking factors. So it probably just goes to show that frequency of updates and changing content is probably still as good a measure of maybe not SEO benefit, but it’s probably still a way to try and get your site crawled and it could even lead to some kind of uplift, even if the change you’re making isn’t necessarily anything that’s going to benefit the user. I’m not suggesting don’t just make loads of random changes, but I did take that away from his talk. In some of the cases, he couldn’t really explain why it worked, it just did. And the only thing that changed was something, something changed on the page and that change seemed to lead to an uplift in ranking or organic search traffic, whatever it was that he was measuring in the experiment.

[00:09:33] Daniel: I suppose as this is where we always have to, the element of snake oil comes back in right with SEO. It’s like, something’s changed, we don’t know what, and we don’t know why, but it’s improved. But I think from a statistical perspective, I think it’s true. I thought that was a really fascinating example where like we shifted some HTML around, even though visually it hasn’t changed the page, and yet it’s changed in terms of ranking it’s shown as a positive change in terms of the tests that they were running.

[00:09:55] Daniel: All this kind of stuff is really interesting, right? The test could be changing anything, but you’re testing in effect outside of the website. It’s about changing stuff that affects not the website necessarily, but the SERPs, the search engine results page and the ranking of your keywords, or whether you rank for longer tail keywords, really interesting stuff there. I almost want to give that a go, I think it’s a bit out of my depth to start doing SEO A/B tests, but maybe I can start playing around maybe on the Measurelab website.

[00:10:20] Matthew: I wonder if it’s possible that just by virtue of the site being maintained and looked after and new content being put on there. If a change to an existing page just pushes it back to as a newly indexed page, they have some slightly better domain authority than they did the first time they published it and that’s just happening to push things up a little bit.

[00:10:39] Daniel: Like page freshness or something has been a factor in the algorithm. I would love to hear what an SEO is thinking of a bunch of analytics people talking about the SEO algorithms, but yeah, page freshness, yeah.

[00:10:49] Matthew: Especially after you called it snake oil.

[00:10:52] Liam: I think the interesting one as well is that you have this with all A/B tests I think really. Which is whether or not that is actually a performance increase, especially in Firebase A/B testing. It always says that any change that you make will most likely have some sort of impact just because you’ve physically made a change to the app. So even changing a button from red to blue, people will click on the button because, oh, there’s a blue button there it might do something different, kind of engage monkey brain. And that is something that even in all of the kind of Google videos and the documentation, it says, please wait two weeks for them to actually not just click on it because it’s different.

[00:11:41] Dara: Another point I was thinking about, if you’re doing SEO testing and you change a page and it gets more organic search traffic into that page. If you’re not then also looking at the effect that has on the quality of that traffic and the eventual conversion rate optimisation, you could draw the wrong conclusion. Like, oh, if we mess around all the content of the page and we put a bunch of texts in here at the top and we remove it from the bottom then we’re going to get more organic search traffic, but whether or not that’s a good thing or a bad thing isn’t clear unless you’re also looking at the effect of the other metrics on that page once you get that traffic to them.

[00:12:14] Matthew: Doing biomedical science it was hammered into me with some regularity, statistical significance. You want to see if your conversion, the thing you’re trying to do is being affected by what you’ve changed, not just as an input, that’s changed, so yeah, I can’t remember now.

[00:12:29] Dara: All right, so I’m going to get my random name generator out again. I went with you first time, Liam. So Matthew, I’m going to go with you this time round. What was your standout? What was the talk that you took something away from? Or what was a talk that you took something away from?

[00:12:42] Matthew: I did enjoy overall the three days, MeasureFest was probably a little bit more relevant in places, but I did manage to seek out some interesting talks for the rest of the week. And that’s one that I’ve chosen, which was automate the technical SEO stuff by Michael Van Den Reym who works with IO, and he was basically looking at and he referenced this book called automate the boring stuff with Python. But he was just talking about essentially all of these repetitive setup tasks and repetitive reporting tasks and things like that, that has to be done on a regular basis and being able to automate and get those things done really quickly and on mass, frees up so much extra time for things that we don’t get bored by. Things like problem solving, things like more creative pieces of work.

[00:13:25] Matthew: So he showed a couple of examples. One was creating this sort of Chrome based SEO audit log, which would just go off and run all these reports that all have exactly the same structure. He was able to run 50 reports, return reports for 50 different URLs by going and crawling and adhering to the parameters he’d put in place, so he saved himself a huge amount of time there, automating reporting and alerts, coming into things like Slack, to use it for 404s on websites and things like that, he looked at querying and scheduling crawlers.

[00:13:58] Matthew: So it got me thinking what am I repeating and what work is really not very optimised in my own workflow, and it got a couple of ideas starting to ruminate in my head. One of which is when we’re setting up new GA4 instances, for example, there’s loads of configuration of GA4 configuration, setting up Data Streams, deciding on structures, etc. setting up conversions and events. And a lot of the time we do this in sort of a Sheet first or we’ll be going through and planning it all out and setting out exactly what we’re going to do here, what the Data Streams are going to be like. And then we’ll take that information that we’ve all agreed upon and then go and manually put that into GA4 and start to build it out that way.

[00:14:35] Matthew: So I didn’t know if the Google Analytics, admin API, which is now working with GA4. There could be some possibility there to have a bit of a Python script that talks with a Google Sheet and Google Analytics and allows you to automate that sort of laborious set up after you’ve already agreed upon and understood the configurations that you want to set up in GA4. So that was just one idea that initially popped into my head, but I’m sure there’s a load more of stuff that I will find to automate now I’m on that mission.

[00:15:03] Dara: Basically, you’re just trying to automate yourself. Listen, as long as you can automate me as well then, and that’ll take a lot less work I think so.

[00:15:13] Matthew: I’ve always seen it as a innovation, but other people might call it laziness. But when I find myself having to do the same thing multiple times, I’m like, nope, this has to stop. I have to find a way of automating this process and not having to do it week in week out.

[00:15:26] Dara: I think lazy laziness is a big motivator, isn’t it? I think all innovation comes from an inherent laziness, nothing wrong with that.

[00:15:33] Liam: So, I know that you mentioned the kind of chromium driver with Selenium, and I also have gone down that kind of rabbit hole and I’ve found out about Selenium and using that for automation. And some of the cool things that I found out that you can do is if you have some really weird old portals where you have to download information in maybe like Excel spreadsheets, you can set it up so it goes to that portal every day and puts in a number and downloads it all for you and pushes it to maybe cloud storage or some of the other Google Cloud Platforms. I think really off the back of what you’ve all said, being lazy is fantastic, and thinking about how these tools also work together in tandem as well, because it’s great to know that you can automate one thing but then having automated pipelines or processes that function off of one another, I think that’s when you really start to unlock crazy potential. So, something that automatically ran that audit but then if there was something wrong in that audit, it would flag it to in Slack and thinking about all these things. So I know that we have a couple of kind of cloud functions that we have set up, so maybe it’s time to link them all together into a giant kind of crazy chain.

[00:17:01] Matthew: Speaking of that, I did forget his coolest example actually, which is where he set up the scanning of a site to look for images that were over a certain size and then I think you to also have access to sort of the FTP and was able to use a Python library to make those smaller, automatically replace the existing images, so he could just scan the site, look for all of these images that were absolutely killing the page speed, replacing the smaller images and then he showed a graph of the uptick in the conversions, just off the back of speeding up and reducing all those images down, which would have been a pretty mammoth, time consuming task to go and resize and import all of those images separately.

[00:17:39] Daniel: Not only has this guy managed to prove that being lazy is really interesting and cool, but he’s also proved an ROI against it, which is next level.

[00:17:48] Matthew: Yeah I guess one point I would probably make on all of this automation stuff to play devil’s advocate to myself is that when you are starting to include multiple different streams and you’re combining things together, there are a hell of a lot more places where things can break. So proper reporting and maintenance on all those sorts of things to know when things are going wrong and not just sitting on your laurels, even though it’s against the lazy nature, it needs to happen as well.

[00:18:10] Liam: The one that I picked and to echo what everyone else has said. They were all really fantastic, there was really some fantastic speakers and people that really knew their stuff, ranging from kind of people talking about international audiences and how to get started in China, which I found really interesting, way through to looking at product feeds. But the one that really took my fancy and to mirror what Matthew said, I’m also a bit of a Python fan boy, but I also love a little bit of machine learning. So Harry Summer, who is a senior director at iCrossing gave a really great talk on stat packages which is his secret recipe to getting SEO implemented.

[00:18:55] Liam: So I know that we may have joked around with a little bit of kind of SEO snake oil but it’s using those big machine learning processes to actually prove that your SEO optimisation actually did something and to get funding and to show it. So he was talking about Prophet which is the Facebook kind of organised machine learning, open source which is also looking at causation and how that kind of affects everything. So there were two fantastic pieces of how to look at forecasting and what you should expect with that Prophet Facebook library. And then a secondary library that looks at the probability and takes that and goes, actually, it looks like this was caused by the change that you made on this day. So you’ll finally getting some actual, real hardcore analytics numbers to the sometimes wishy-washyness of SEO, that really made me smile and I thought that was a really enjoyable talk, and he did it in a really interesting way. He was a very fluid with all of it, even though it was really highly technical, I grabbed some of it and obviously have repeated it here.

[00:20:06] Dara: Always a good sign, isn’t it? When you can take a technical subject and deliver it in a way that people actually remember and can explain it back to other people. I saw that one too I also thought he did a really good job.

[00:20:17] Matthew: I found with a few of the speakers that it’s a really difficult thing to do, to get across quite a technical subject in 20 minutes which is pretty much what all of them were. So those that managed to be able to deliver that and get some piece of learning out of it in that condensed amount is pretty impressive. I always get really excited about machine learning stuff. People say you don’t need machine learning for that, but I’m convinced you need machine learning for everything and once I’ve automated my entire rest of my job, there’s a couple of talks there that I’d really like to delve into about machine learning and artificial intelligence.

[00:20:48] Dara: Well I knew you three would pick relatively technical talks. So I intentionally went for a less technical one. I saw a couple of the ones that you’ve mentioned, but a talk that I really enjoyed for very different reasons was one by Max Hoppy, and not just because he has a good name. So Max Hoppy is from a digital marketing agency called Bind. I saw a lot of good talks, I saw some less good talks as well, but I saw some good ones which were covering technical subjects and I thought they covered them well, but especially for the brightonSEO talks, when they were more around kind of content and SEO, they were probably a bit less relevant to me and even to anyone that’s in a kind of pure analytics role, but the talk from Max was I guess, a bit higher level. It was not SEO specific and it wasn’t even analytics specific. He was talking about how he, when he was at Google learned how to be creative, if you think you’re not a creative person.

[00:21:39] Dara: So he had worked at Google and they sent everybody off on this kind of two or three day training workshop to some country locations, some farms and they taught them all about how to be creative. And he had lots of examples but he talked about the difference between expansive and reductive thinking and how the two often get wrongly mixed together. So it’s like when you have a meeting, when you’re trying to brainstorm ideas for solving a problem, and you mix into the same meeting trying to think of loads of different ideas, and then also agree on the right idea and flesh out that idea and basically solve the problem all in the same meeting, which is when you think about it is not very realistic.

[00:22:20] Dara: So he was talking about the importance of separating the two out, so if you have your expansive thinking or brainstorming, you might bring a load of people in and no ideas off the table. So you throw out all sorts of crazy wacky ideas, a lot of which probably won’t work. And then you have your reductive parts where you maybe have a smaller group of people who go through that, and this would happen on a different day, so fresh mind, fresh eyes. You come in, you look at the ideas that were thrown out and that’s the point when you try and reduce them all down to something that’s actually going to work. It just stuck with me because I thought how many times have we all and everybody been in meetings where you try and understand the problem and solve the problem all in one go.

[00:23:02] Dara: So if you split the two things out, you’ve got a much better chance of coming up with the right results in the end. So that was just one of the kind of tips or techniques that he talked about, but it was the one that really set the light bulb off in my head because I thought, there’s such an urgency to try and come up with the perfect solution in the quickest amount of time, but there’s a lot of value to be had in having a complete free for all session where you think, do you know what, let’s just throw out every possible idea we have, leave it, go away and then come back at a later point and think, right, how are we going to distil this down into something practical. So that was just something that when he said this, this isn’t his concept and I don’t think it’s Google’s either, but this idea of separating out expansive and reductive thinking just really stuck with me, and it’s something I think we can probably all apply in our meetings, in our problem solving, in our approaches to work, especially when we’re working with clients trying to solve technical problems.

[00:23:57] Matthew: I actually worked, it’s links together all the AB testing stuff we were talking about a while ago, but I worked quite a lot on trying to design experiments around a specific conversion in the past. And we found that the most effective way to do that like you say, just have a meeting where everyone will just chuck up any idea that could potentially affect that specific conversion. And we found a lot of the time we force people to do a couple of extra suggestions after they were tapped out, after they couldn’t think of anything else. We force them, try and think of another idea that you could potentially think could affect that, and a surprising amount of time those ideas, that ideation that came after they thought they were up and had no other ideas to give were the ones that we ended up moving forward with, because it just forced them out of the box a little bit.

[00:24:40] Dara: That’s Interesting and worrying that if you don’t do that, the ideas that come out first of people’s heads are probably the worst ones.

[00:24:47] Matthew: We’ve said a few times, it’s like that old saying if all you’ve got is a hammer, then everything is a nail. So presumably the first ideas that are coming out of your mind are going to be based on your pretty specific skill set. So I don’t know if there’s something in that?

[00:25:00] Dara: Yeah and also as we’ve all experienced, when those first ideas that come out, if you are mixing together the expansive bit and the reductive bit, you immediately start responding to that first idea. So Matthew, if you throw out an idea to a problem and it’s like the most obvious thing you could think of, we’re all going to start talking about why it won’t work or how it might work, or do I vote for it? Do you not vote for it? Or what about this problem where we tried it before. As opposed to getting down further and further into that well of ideas when you suddenly think, do you know what actually, it was something I really wanted to say but I thought it might be a bit silly or whatever, and then you get that one out there. And as you say, at least some of the time, that last idea is actually going to be the one that it’s thinking about the problem in a very novel way, thinking about it from a totally different perspective. But that doesn’t get off the ground if you’re trying to pick the solution and think of all the possible options at the same time.

[00:25:51] Matthew: When you’ve got one eye on the meeting time thinking, oh wait, we still got to implement and get this finished in this meeting time. Whereas if it’s just all about expensive thinking.

[00:26:01] Liam: I also just wanted to hop in and say that I think the other thing that you mentioned was the split meeting and doing it on another day. The amount of times that I’ve been thinking about how to solve a problem, and then have come back maybe another day or done something different and just had that kind of mental recharge and been like, of course, the solution was this while I’m in the shower or on a walk somewhere, I think it’s countless and I think so many of my best kind of thoughts, or some of my best problem-solving has come from not being in those meetings.

[00:26:39] Dara: Yeah he actually included, I wish I paid more attention to this particular bit of it, but he included a survey, which was in another part of the talk about when people do their best thinking. And it was exactly like what you said, I think the top one from memory was exercise, which included dog-walking, but he also talks about being in the shower or even sitting on the toilet was one of the top results that came up. And you’re right Liam, it’s like when you try to force yourself to be creative it doesn’t really work. You need to give it the time, then step away, and then when you’re walking the dogs or sat on the loo, the eureka moment, or when you’re just about to fall asleep. That was another one of the highest scores in the survey. So it’s knowing that these things don’t all have to happen at the same time. So allow the time for thinking, allow the time for refining, allow the time for coming back to things with a fresh pair of eyes and looking at it in the cold light of day. Don’t try and do all of this all in one go.

[00:27:31] Dara: All right, any final thoughts on brightonSEO? Anything anyone else wants to add in?

[00:27:36] Liam: Oh, I think we’d be completely amiss without giving Dan a little bit of an ego boost of just saying how wonderful and how thematic his whole talk was. So I just think on behalf of me and probably on behalf of Dara and Matthew, but I don’t want to speak for them. Well done Daniel.

[00:27:54] Dara: You’re right, he was definitely all of our second favourite talks. Joking, we couldn’t come on here and talk about yours, but yeah, it was great and the panel discussion that you were in was also really good. Some good questions from the audience and some good. Even if a lot of the Marvel references did go over my head, but I think I wasn’t the target audience for the analogy.

[00:28:14] Daniel: Well, I think you are a target audience Dara and yeah, I leaned very far though into the Marvel analogy and I think I said at the top as well that I’m going to stretch this analogy until it breaks so at least I stuck to my guns and stuck to my word there. The slides are available, I’ll share a link in the show notes if anyone wants to go through slide after slide of analytics and Marvel themed slides. I don’t know how else to explain it other than yeah, every slide is a Marvel picture with some analytics text.

[00:28:40] Dara: Okay well we all spent three days together last week. So this is maybe going to be a bit tough this next bit, but Liam and Matthew, this is the bit, I don’t need to tell you, you listen to The Measure Pod you know what bit of the show this is, but this is where we pretend we have really interesting lives outside our work, and we talk about what we do when we’re not working. So random name generator, again, back to you for the first time, this time, Matthew, what have you been up to outside of work?

[00:29:06] Matthew: So the little bit of warm weather that we had a couple of weeks ago, kick spurred me into action. I finished off with pergola and then I’ve just yesterday been finishing off painting my deck. I built a raised deck at the bottom of the garden, because it looks out over a nice sheep field. So I spent the past couple of weeks building that and I am just in the closing stages. So that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing, ready for if we ever get any warm weather ever again, I’ll be sorted.

[00:29:32] Dara: I hope so, we had that little couple of days in March were quite nice. I think that was an early summer.

[00:29:37] Matthew: Yeah let’s hope we don’t it’s not late August until it comes back again.

[00:29:41] Dara: I’m sure your efforts will be rewarded. What about you, Liam? What have you been up to outside of brightonSEO and your general day to day hardcore analytics work.

[00:29:51] Liam: Well, Dara as you are aware halfway through brightonSEO, my phone finally died and suddenly I had a new phone. Thank you, Computer Exchange (CEX) Brighton for being relatively close to the Brighton Center. So I’ve been catching up on five years of phone technology, which basically involves not having a phone that runs out of charge within an hour. So I’ve been enjoying actually taking long walks. I’ve listening to full albums of music off of my phone. So I am fully in the 20th century, not the 21st yet, we can catch up a little bit later, but yeah, now I’m here with my high end second hand, cheap as can be phone.

[00:30:38] Dara: Alright Dan, over to you. What have you been doing to chill out?

[00:30:43] Daniel: So, since I moved into my new house, I’ve not had internet connected and it’s been about been about three weeks now. And it might feel like not having electricity or water to some people, but it’s been really, it’s been quite nice actually. But one thing I’ve been spending a lot of time doing is I had a game downloaded on my Xbox before moving, and I’ve just been playing that pretty much exclusively because you can’t stream Netflix or do anything else. So it’s a game called Octopath Traveler, and it’s a RPG game, and it’s a pixel graphic game, but in 4k. And it’s a very hard thing to explain, but all of the characters are tiny pixels, like the original Zelda or Pokémon games are, but the backdrops are like 4k textures and it’s an amazing game. The mechanics work really well, and it’s just a really fun RPG to get into. So it’s one of my favourite genres of games, RPGs. So I’ve been getting into a modern, old school RPG game while I have no internet.

[00:31:35] Dara: I have no response to that. Good, it sounds like fun, I love RPG games. I’ve been listened to the three of you trying desperately to think of something interesting that I’ve done and failing, but the weather was decent over the weekend. So I was out in Ashdown forest, which is pretty near to me with my three little four legged friends. So I’ve been out dog-walking quite a bit and out running as well in the decent weather, but that’s about it. I didn’t do anything else I don’t think nothing. Nothing else noteworthy anyway, I’ll try harder next time.

[00:32:04] Matthew: You’re not worried about giving away Ashdown forest? The fans of The Measure Pod might try to track down your location.

[00:32:10] Dara: Oh that’s a really really good point. What is it? You only need two pieces of information about somebody to track them down.

[00:32:17] Matthew: I know where you live.

[00:32:18] Dara: Uh oh, all right. That’s just about it from us, but before we go, just to wrap up. Dan, where can people find out a bit more about you if they so wish?

[00:32:28] Daniel: So LinkedIn is the best way and my website, dananalytics.co.uk, and the as mentioned before the slides to my Marvel themed analytics presentation are now uploaded to my website. So if you wanted to go check that out, dananalytics.co.uk.

[00:32:43] Dara: What about you, Liam?

[00:32:44] Liam: There is a LinkedIn where people can connect to me and ask me about phones or something.

[00:32:50] Dara: What about you, Matthew?

[00:32:51] Matthew: Yeah, LinkedIn again, I do have a Twitter @MrHoosk if people are sick of people actually tweeting then follow me. You’re not going to hear much from me and it’ll be nice and quiet on your timeline.

[00:33:02] Dara: LinkedIn, for me as well. Or you can find me in Ashdown forest every Saturday and Sunday. Please don’t. Okay, that’s it from us for this week. You can find out more about us over on our website, or you can actually look up previous episodes, which I’m sure you’ll want to do in our archive, which is at measurelab.co.uk/podcast. If you want to suggest a topic or better still, if you want to come on the podcast and talk with Dan and I about your chosen topic, then just reach out to one of us or both of us on LinkedIn or email us at podcast@measurelab.co.uk. Our brilliant theme music is from Confidential. You can find links to their Spotify and Instagram in our show notes. I’ve been Dara, joined by Dan, and also this time by Liam and Matthew. So it’s a bye from me.

[00:33:47] Daniel: Bye from me.

[00:33:47] Matthew: Buy from me.

[00:33:48] Liam: And bye from me.

[00:33:50] Dara: Okay, see you next time.

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Daniel is an Analytics Innovation Lead at Measurelab - he is a trainer, podcaster and overall fanatic. He loves getting stuck into all things GA4 and anything new and exciting.

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