Metrics are important (more important: the *right* metrics)

31 Mar

Keeping this short and sweet – if you run a professional organization, you need to measure and track. And not only that, you need to know why you are tracking and how it helps you.

This past weekend, (Dr) Spencer Nadolsky was up here in Canada (fact: Canada >>> USA), and we were hanging out with some other people at a pub. The conversations ran the gamut of life, and at one time someone was telling me how his post got 3x the likes as another post did. I had to interrupt him almost immediately:

Who cares?

Now I wasn’t being an ass, but when it comes to tracking useful information, “LIKEs” are about as low on the totem pole as you can get.

Exhibit A: Do you need to eat 6 meals a day? – 121 likes, 51 shares.
Exhibit B: Hardgainers: a myth – 68 likes, 27 shares.

Look at just likes/shares, the simple conclusion is: Exhibit A was 2x more popular than Exhibit. But how many clicks did each link actually generate?

Exhibit A: 697
Exhibit B: 1297

So even though A got 2x the “social love” as B, it got 0.5x the actual clicks from B.

And even then, clicks are a mediocre metric. Did the visitors come back? Did the visitor sign up? Did the visitor buy something? Did the visitor turn around and spread the word on your site? Did the visitor search for something on your site (studies show that a visitor who searches on your site is far more valuable than one who doesn’t).

And so forth and so forth. If you are not factoring in metrics (and then using them to optimize for conversion, whatever you define as conversion, you’re literally swimming in the dark).

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