Are measurements and analytics bunk?

Principal Consultant , David Allison Inc.
  • Sep. 18, 2011

Are analytics and measurements all they’re cracked up to be? We talk about traffic to our sites. We talk about click-throughs. We talk about how often a video was downloaded and viewed … you get the picture. But are these stats really worthy of all the attention we give them?

The Barbarian Group thinks not. In their minds, companies that track the success of viral efforts are, in a word, “bunk”.

They go on: “Companies that track ‘buzz’ are bunk. You can track a banner through to a website through to sales perfectly. You cannot track an online video game’s emotional impact on a customer and how it helped them to buy one type of cereal over another. It’s the age old branding vs. sales approach to advertising – it exists on the web just like everywhere else.”

Hmm. Some food for thought.

Not to poo-poo analytics or the individuals that write the reports, but it does seem – despite all of our tech-y gadgets and gizmos – that we’re not necessarily much further ahead in determining our reader/viewership when it comes to social media than we were when we were dealing with traditional media.

Way back in the day, long before Facebook or Twitter emerged, we’d talk about circulation numbers. You’d spend big bucks on a print ad in a publication because of its reach. If circulation numbers were in the mid-50,000s and readership was touted at 300,000 plus, you were golden.

You knew full well that not every one of those ‘readers’ read or even looked at your ad. And there was certainly no real way to track whether they did or not. The numbers merely stood as validation and support for spending those marketing dollars.

It feels like we’re in a similar position with social media stats. They’re not meant to be illuminating figures, shedding light on whether your campaign is a good one or not—you should be judge of that. They simply help support the fact that our campaign efforts are reaching people—more often than not, lots of people. And that’s important to know with any campaign.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.

(To read The Barbarian Group’s Beliefs on Measurement and Analytics in full, The Barbarian Groupfollow this link.)



David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

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David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

Read more




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