Are You On An Analytics Roller Coaster?

It’s that time of year when millions of people visit amusement and theme parks to experience the rush of plunging hundreds of feet in the air at breakneck speeds on roller coasters and thrill rides. In Ohio, we’re lucky enough to have Cedar Point and King’s Island right in our backyard. Our Georgia team has Six Flags to satisfy their internal dare devil. In honor of roller coasters, our Yalo team wanted to share our favorite amusement park memories. For some of us, it’s about the actual coasters and for others, it’s about something else.


I love roller coasters, and some of the best rides in the world are located at Cedar Point, in Sandusky Ohio. Top Thrill Dragster, Millennium, Valravn and Steel Vengeance all deliver amazing experiences, no matter how many times you’ve ridden them. My favorite roller coaster experience happened this year, when my youngest child (9 years old) finally decided to ride all the big rides with the rest of our family. To start the day, he and I sat in the first row on Gatekeeper, a winged roller coaster, and my favorite ride at Cedar Point. We screamed, we laughed, and he may have let out a swear word or two. It was such a gift to be part of such a fun, first-time experience for him. I’ll never forget it.


My dad made me ride a coaster when I was like 8 at Cedar Point. HATED IT. Blue Streak. The first one I rode that I actually enjoyed? 7th grade field trip to Cedar Point and I only rode it because I didn’t want to look like a big wuss. I was sh%&&%*g my pants. And I LOVED IT. Guess what…Blue Streak.

You could say it was all downhill from there…..HAAAA!  I love this stuff. It was one of my early learnings of how to conquer my fears (was afraid of heights). It led to bungee, skydiving, paragliding, giant swings, giant Slides, scuba, and any other crazy thing I have done. If Cedar Point ever tries to tear down the Blue Streak, I will lead the fund-raising campaign to keep it!  


My favorite would be when I took my wife, then girlfriend to King’s Island near Cincy and we rode the Beast – largest wooden roller coaster in terms of length of ride. We also had a great time last fall when took the family for 1st time to Six Flags in Atlanta. The Goliath Rider was particularly memorable.


I’ll go with one of my first memories of a roller coaster…Disney’s Space Mountain. The anticipation in that long line was brutal. I’m pretty sure it was the total darkness, not the blistering 28 mph speed, that made this one thrilling.


I don’t do rollercoasters (terrified of heights), but my favorite amusement park story was taking my daughter to Disney Paris (part of a bigger France trip) when she turned 5. I was mentally prepared for an all-day, gruesomely annoying event. Turned out, she could not have cared less about any of it! We did like 2 things in Adventureland, ate an overpriced cheeseburger and were out in 4 hours or less. She has since expressed zero interest in going back to any Disney park ever, so we’re thinking we are off the hook for this parenting milestone! Woo-hoo!


One of my most memorable rides was 2 years ago when my son decided he was ready for the Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point (420 feet and 0-120 MPH in 3.8 seconds). He’s pretty daring on coasters, but he didn’t have any idea what he was in for. The ride lasts 17 seconds, and when we took off he went silent. He usually yells like crazy on coasters. When we were at the peak I looked over to see what looked like pure terror on his face. He didn’t breathe for 17 seconds. When he started breathing again, he let all the screaming out at once. “Let’s ride again!” – but I wasn’t convinced.

At this point, you may be asking what roller coasters have to do with marketing and more specifically marketing analytics. Take a look at your website’s traffic. Do you have a lot of peaks and valleys in your traffic, like a roller coaster, or is it flat like the old-fashioned cars? It’s completely normal to have peaks along the way, but do you know why your traffic behaves the way it does? We have clients who are in both camps. When they look at their analytics, it can be overwhelming to know what to do with all the data. They wonder whether all these peaks are good or whether it’s a sign of something else. They know that more traffic is better, but they need to know what they are doing that is driving the success and what they are doing that isn’t as effective.

Our approach to uncovering these answers centers on pulling the results from a number of tactics together (social media, email, press releases, SEO, blog posts, retargeting ads, etc.) and evaluating what is effectively driving people to your site so they can learn more about your company. The goal is to know what you can do to increase the frequency and height of those peaks. Unlike a roller coaster, you don’t need to sit back and just enjoy the ride. You can direct it more than you may realize. Do you notice that every time you send out an email, traffic jumps 20% on your site? Are there certain topics that always seem to get the attention of your audience? We’ve found that linking fun topics (music, movies, sports) to marketing concepts gets our audience’s attention. You’ve read this far. We should add roller coasters to that list.

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