The Cardinal Sin of Digital Measurement

Wired Innovation InsightsNote: This entry originally ran in Wired’s Innovation Insights site on March 24.

I just spent over 18 months researching and writing The Digital Media Metrics Field Guide. My previous books on online advertising and social listening took about seven months each. That’s nearly one extra year of life devoted to figuring metrics out.

It wasn’t easy. I needed every extra day.

Like you, I had to choose which metrics to cover from an ever-expanding and bewildering supply. I settled on those that most readers would come across in the course of a day. And, like you, I had very basic questions about each one that needed answering if they were to be helpful, used wisely and illuminated the impact our brands’ campaigns and digital efforts were having.

The Field Guide details 197 metrics, summarizes over 150 studies, and presents 12 expert points of view on measurement’s present and future. From all that I learned a lot about what thou shall do, and, perhaps more importantly, what thou shalt not do.

Because it’s more fun to talk about what not to do, let’s talk about the cardinal sin of digital measurement: coveting thy vendor’s measures. Continue reading “The Cardinal Sin of Digital Measurement”

Digital Metrics Field Guide Excerpt: What Did 197 Metrics, 150 Studies and 12 Expert Essays Teach Us?

Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) excerpted a bit from the Digital Metrics Field Guide. They took my final essay and added four of the contributed pieces on digital measurement today from the Viewpoints I section of the book. Those essays form a compelling narrative about the state of the art of both measurement and metrics. They take us from the need for cross-platform measurement (Nielsen), through selecting metrics (Experian Marketing Services, GfK), to measuring campaign delivery and effectiveness (comScore).

Download (PDF, 80KB)

Note: The JAR is an academic peer-reviewed journal, with four quarterly issues. More than 1 million of its articles are downloaded yearly by practitioners, researchers, students and scholars through online databases. If your company is an ARF member, your Member Ambassador receives the Journal when it is published and you can download articles from the JAR site. Companies that are not members may learn more about JAR and subscribe from this page.

humetrics (hu-met-rics)

Definition: portmanteau of humanism + metrics (n.). The recognition that measures are not merely numbers, but are reflections of what people do, what they say, and what they feel. Humetrics help brands comprehend people in all their richness, sense their needs, and respond to them as individuals.

Origin: Digital Metrics Field Guide:  The Definitive Reference for Brands Using the Web, Social Media, Mobile Media or Email by Stephen D. Rappaport (BIS Publishing 2015). Available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Emotions, Intent, Motivations, Social ROI: Notable Learning from Sentiment Analysis Symposium 2014

SAS 2014SAS 2014 continued to push past its origins as a sentiment-only conference to one on the cutting edge of what organizer Seth Grimes named “human analytics” and what I’ve dubbed “humetrics.” Whatever it’s called, attendees seemed to be operating with the knowledge that capturing and analyzing social data – what people do, say and feel, goes well beyond the traditional and impersonal demographics, participation rates or transaction volumes that tell us “what” but not “why.”

Here are the highlights from my perspective on understanding people:

  • Talks on emotions, intentions, and motivations. Dr. Rosalind Picard of MIT, the founder of affective computing, described her lab’s research to recognize emotions which can eventually help people with autism, social phobias, and other conditions more successfully read others and interact. Aloke Guha of Cruxly outlined a system to detect peoples’ intentions and sentiment in near real time. MotiveQuest’s David Rabjohns’ talk on mapping human motivations and applying them to brands was instructive in ways that brands can use motivations to position themselves better. Beyond Verbal’s presentation on emotions in speech illuminated a way forward.
  • Engagement. Marie Wallace of IBM outlined an approach to “engagement analytics” with a description of ways to understand the engagement of an enterprise’s workforce, and for workers in the company to appreciate their social standing. I’m intrigued and also skeptical, in that I’m not sure that people in companies should be rated on their contributions, sharing, and ratings by others.
  • Social ROI through Enhanced Text Analytics. Dell Software presented its system for tracking conversations across a variety of channels. What struck me was how straightforward it was, how its taxonomies were based on consumer language, and how the system allowed analysts to drill down or roll up as needed.

And …

  • Insiders Guide to Social Media Analysis: This 3.5 hour workshop focused on how to think about metrics, stressed the importance of having a social media “theory,” a measurement framework, and fitting metrics to it. Attendees from companies like Dell gave it a big thumbs up because it reinforced the value of “framework,” and an agency which said “I wish I attended this a year ago before we committed to a measurement plan for an important client.” (Full disclosure: I gave the workshop. I’m not one to self-promote. I’m reporting this because I was truly happy that so many attendees derived value from it).

Really looking forward to the 2015 edition.