Proper use of metrics is still misunderstood. Marketers need analysis not metrics to assess marketing ROI (return on investment).
Analysis is Metrics+Context+Conclusions+Recommendations.
More education is needed to explain the difference between metrics and analysis. So many opportunities are lost while people sit back waiting for metrics to speak.
eMarketer’s article Marketers Need Metrics to Integrate Traditional and Digital Media” demonstrates this gap in marketers’ understanding very clearly. Take this sentence about what marketers need:
“Several obstacles prevent further adoption of digital media. The largest hurdle to overcome, according to the ANA study, is the need for metrics to properly allocate the mix between traditional and digital media.”
Marketers surveyed appear to expect “metrics” (i.e. data from tools) to properly allocate the mix between traditional and digital media!
Given this expectation, they will forever be disappointed.
No tool will ever do this satisfactorily 100% of the time on a fully automated basis.
[Have you ever had strange reading recommendations from Amazon?]
People … thinking people, analytical people … will have to analyze metrics, segment and analyze further, reconcile discrepanies, resolve confusion.
People will come to conclusions and recommend mix allocation.
People will implement.
People will assess the outcome.
And because in the real world, implementation never goes exactly as planned, the data will be dirty, the metrics will be confusing and People will have to clean it up and make sense of it all.
An obstacle in the increasing use of digital media is “a lack of understanding of digital media on the part of senior management”. Given the expectation that metrics should tell the story, this is probably because metrics are presented raw, without analysis not integrated with a marketing story. Senior management sees ‘data’ when what they want is ‘insight’ and a cohesive story about why investing in digital media makes sense and makes money.
eMarketer closes with this comment:
“Unfortunately, the necessary data is currently scattered across organizations. Data formats are inconsistent and so is terminology. Until these problems are solved, marketers attempting to integrate traditional and digital advertising channels will continue flying blind. “
Absolutely true that data is scattered, formats are inconsistent and so is terminology (see previous post on “unique visitors’). But this is no excuse for throwing up one’s hands in dismay and accept “flying blind”.
Those who wait until the “perfect tool” does their analysis for them will wait forever.
Those who do not wait and dive in and handle the problem will drive their competition out of business.
Do you want to be a winner?
Then don’t sit back expecting your metrics to speak to you.
Get to work analyzing your metrics.
Love to hear your thoughts.
You are not alone. Looking for a great place to discuss these issues? Try eMetrics, a local Web Analytics Wednesday, or online at WAA webinars, and various measurement and analytics forums (see suggested list).