The Numbers That Lie

Hello everyone, and hello summer!

We’re back (OK, I’m back – Derek is in Alaska for two weeks) from our usual midyear hiatus and are in the beginning stages of planning for CMEpalooza Fall — that’s Wednesday, October 19 if you are scoring at home. We’ll have our Fall agenda soonish. That means sometime before the last fresh corn of the season leaves your local supermarket. We like to give ourselves plenty of wiggle room with these things.

Anyway, I’m here today to write a little bit about data, or more significantly, data that makes you go, “Hmmmm.” Since the dawn of CMEpalooza, we’ve tracked traffic to our various delivery mechanisms to get a sense of what’s popular, what’s not, how our audience is growing, etc. The usual metrics. And truthfully, we’ve grown about 10-15% in terms of general traffic to just about everything year over year. It’s been a nice, steady climb that we’ve always felt good about.

And then came this Spring, and well, something weird happened. Our YouTube viewership for a handful of sessions went crazy. Prior to this Spring’s event, our most viewed session had accumulated somewhere the neighborhood of 2,500 views according to YouTube analytics. Derek probably has the actual number somewhere, but I’m too lazy to do research (hello, it is summertime!).

As we do following every live event, Derek and I went in to see what our YouTube numbers looked like this Spring. We can see, in real time, how many people are watching each session — that’s one of the best things about Streamyard, the platform we use for our broadcasts — so we knew our live event was well attended but in line with previous iterations. So we were quite surprised a few days later to see what our YouTube metrics looked like for two of our sessions.

Beyond Checking the Box to Achieve Commendation: 6,327 views
Demonstrating the Value of CME to Internal and External Stakeholders: 9,064 views

Every other session from the Spring had relatively normal traffic, but these two significantly outperformed any expected metrics. I joked to some of the presenters of these sessions that perhaps their legions of college exes had been stalking them to see what they were up to. We dug a little deeper into YouTube Analytics to try to figure out what had happened. And while were are some answers there, a lot of questions remain.

From what we could tell, these two specific videos somehow became popular “recommended” suggestions for people watching other YouTube videos. For the most popular of these two CMEpalooza Spring sessions, the most popular linked videos were the Optimist Bahamas Live StreamData Exchange Podcast (Episode 123): Jack Clark; and Day 1 Conference: “The Geopolitical Impact on Talent Acquisition” (Anke Strauss, IOM). All very interesting I’m sure, but I have no idea what any of them have to do with our sessions or what about the title or content or audience may have triggered their inclusion in those videos “recommended” suggestions. Not surprisingly, the number of viewers of these two sessions who watched more than the first 30-60 seconds was quite low, a significantly lower percentage than our typical sessions.

For those of us in the CME planning world, we see these sorts of statistical anomalies from time to time. Maybe it’s pre-test data that looks a bit squirrely or something in the evaluation that has us scratching our heads. It’s often tempting to overlook the potential drivers of these data deceivers because they look so good. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to report that 5,732 learners accessed one of our online educational activities or that only 12.3% of learners answered a pre-test question correctly about a key variable tied to a learning objective? But usually, there is enough that looks suspicious (and sometimes, you can figure out the issue) that requires the outlier data to be cast aside.

So no, in our next CMEpalooza sponsor prospectus, you won’t see us crowing that our overall audience for the Spring 2022 event was 400% greater than any other iteration. But say we did. Would that be a boldfaced lie? Technically, maybe not – I mean, the YouTube data shows what it shows. But in an industry where we rely so heavily on data to tell our outcomes stories, it’s the interpretation of the data that often matters most. So, no, we won’t pretend that thousands of people are suddenly interested in Derek’s new haircut or the insightful question from our audience at 34:52 of one of our recent sessions. We’re good, but we’re not that good.

Everything You Need to Know About CMEpalooza Spring

Where do I watch CMEpalooza Spring? You watch it on the LIVE page.

Do I have to refresh the page to watch new sessions? That is super annoying. No, you do not have to refresh the page to watch new sessions. Every session now has a unique link, so you don’t need to refresh the LIVE page to watch each new session. Just find the session you want to watch at the appropriate time and click that link to begin. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Will people be able to hear me on the broadcast? No. You are not on the broadcast. You are only watching a video feed of the broadcast. You can play Hip To Be Square by Huey Lewis and the News at full volume and no one will hear you except your neighbors, who might call the police, who might interrupt you while watching CMEpalooza. So, don’t play Hip To Be Square by Huey Lewis and the News at full volume while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza at home? Yes.

Can I watch CMEpalooza at the office? For the first time in two years we finally feel (mostly) comfortable saying yes! Probably! Check your office guidelines to be sure! Or stay home! Either one is fine!

Can I watch CMEpalooza in a conference room with 150 other people? Yes? I mean, I wouldn’t want to do that even pre-pandemic, so I’m probably the wrong person to ask.

Can I watch CMEpalooza with Roy Kent? I don’t know. Let’s ask him.






Oi! Probably not.

Do I have to pre-register or register? Nope.

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza? I love paying registration fees.






No. You don’t have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza.

Do I have to take a survey afterward? Well, you don’t have to, but it would be nice if you did. It’s only a couple questions and shouldn’t take you more than 60 seconds. If it takes you more than 60 seconds, Scott will come to your house and re-create the Tequila dance scene from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure for you and a group of friends..

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza? Actually, yes. Well, kind of. We’re not accredited or certified or anything like that, and we have no way of verifying whether you actually watched any of these sessions or not. But if you want a certificate of completion that you can use to self-report participation in CMEpalooza Spring 2022, here you go. We’ll also post it on the LIVE page. Who knows, maybe these certificates will be worth something 200 years from now.

How do I ask questions of the presenters? There are the two usual ways you can ask questions and one “new” way:

  1. Send a text to the Creative Educational Concepts text line at 267-666-0CME (0263)
  2. Tweet a question using the #CMEpalooza hashtag
  3. NEW! If you open up the viewing window in YouTube (click on “Watch on YouTube” on lower left corner), you can enter in questions within the YouTube chat function.

We try to get to as many questions as we can throughout each presentation.

Do I have to watch all the sessions? YES! No. Watch what interests you.

Will the sound quality for each presenter be crystal clear with consistent volume and no glitches? I mean, really, have you been on, I don’t know, 500 web calls in the last month? Is it always perfect for everyone? Of course not. That said, we’re better with this technology stuff than the average bear – we HAVE been doing this for 8 years now so hopefully we’ve learned something. So will it be pretty good for almost every presenter? Yes, yes it will. There will be some people who sound better than others. There may be a few glitches and hiccups. That’s just how it goes with a free conference where presenters volunteer their time and use their own equipment. Some people aren’t comfortable doing a presentation while wearing headphones and a mic, so we don’t force them to use it. We do the best that we can with what we have available to us.

Will I be offended by anything during CMEpalooza? I doubt it, but who knows. If you are, please email Scott and tell him all about it.

What if I’m busy during the day of the live broadcast? All the sessions will be archived on the website, like, immediately. How are we able to do it so fast? We have a new intern who is a real crackerjack on the interwebs. Here he is hard at work, writing our latest blog post.