Making Sense of Metrics: Is Your Content Doing What it Should?

Managing Metrics

Online content can be tracked in dozens of ways, and there are thousands of blogposts across the web explaining how to make the most of your metrics. KPIs, ROI, CPM, engagement, page views ad nauseum, and each site promising you how to hit statistical nirvana. I’ve spent enough time wrestling with metrics over the years to realize that the data is not the problem, it’s making sense of the data that’s so difficult.

It all assumes you know what it is you want to know. To paraphrase a great sage “Why you keep using those numbers? I do not think they mean what you think they mean.” I’ve been very careful about sharing data – especially raw data – with end users and business leaders because it’s so difficult to make meaningful sense and then smart business decisions based on the numbers.

Broadly speaking the number of hits is a lot less important than getting the correct hits. It’s great to get a million views on a blogpost or a video, but if it only leads to 2-3 key decision makers it can’t be considered a success. Far better to hit the 500 people most likely to make a difference – purchase your company’s products or make connections for you – than it is to hit the random eyes that look at your content and never take anything further.

The first issue is how to reach those people, and you need to take the best steps towards making metrics that matter. Do you know your audience? Where are they spending their time online? Are you creating content that speaks to them? Have you asked them what you can produce online that will grab and keep their attention? Are you tracking their journey from viewers to purchasers?

So how to address those questions? First, establish before anything is published what you are looking for. Generally you can’t make a video go viral, and it’s probably not what you and the company are after anyway. Second, be sure to set the stage and the expectations with your management. Make sure they understand the difference between views and meaningful metrics; user engagement, not simply watchers. Finally, don’t forget that drawing the viewers in is only the first step to building a successful interaction. Make sure you include a call to action, a way to connect, or some other step that allows your real targets a way to reach you and go to the next level.

Drop me a line if you want help crunching the numbers in a meaningful way.