Conrad Saam will be speaking about “Advanced Analytics” at SearchFest 2012, which will be held February 24, 2012 at The Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living?

I run marketing for Urbanspoon . . . what this really means is that I spend a lot of my time debating on the things that we aren’t going to do. Because Urbanspoon lives right at the intersection of social mobile and local, there is a huge list of shiny objects we could be chasing. The trick is prioritizing those projects that will really make a difference and reluctantly turfing the others over the side.

2) If a restaurant on Urbanspoon asked you how effective their page is performing, what analytic barometers would you consult to answer their question?

I’d actually invert your question – – – Urbanspoon is a great barometer for determining how well a restaurant is doing. We speak to the quality of the experience as determined by patrons . . . . user reviews and the “thumbs up” metric. Additionally, Urbanspoon can be a reporting tool for how much buzz a restaurant has achieved in the local community . . . For example, the Talk of the Town section reflects those restaurants with the most online activity (on Urbanspoon and elsewhere). Obviously, I’d want to see the volume of referring traffic or reservations booked on Urbanspoon for my restaurant as well.

3) How big a deal is “not provided” and how should web analytics professionals compensate for that loss of data?

While I might be hung for heresy by my SEO brethren (especially the consultants) I don’t worry too much about “not provided” issue. I’ve always maintained that focusing on specific terms and their even more useless evil cousin, ranking reports, is a waste of time. What really matters, of course, are the pages that are bringing in quality, converting traffic. We haven’t lost the ability to track this at all, so fretting over which specific terms a minority of my users use to bring me to those pages is entirely missing the point.

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