New post on LinkedIn: Big data and marketing

Inspired by a piece comparing the creative side of marketing with the more business-focused obsession with data and ROI.

The short version?

“Rather than worry about big ideas vs targeting, what the marketing industry really needs to learn how to do is revive the art of the soft sell and the long tail. That’s the more human way of building relationships that last – but to work it needs a significantly more nuanced understanding of how people will be interacting with you than I’ve seen from pretty much any modern brand marketing campaign.”

Read the full thing on LinkedIn…

Numbers are our friends

Useful look at how detailed, adaptable, *tailored* performance data (and people who know how to analyse and explain it) is essential if you want to be successful in modern media. As so often, Buzzfeed seems to be ahead of the curve.

It never ceases to amaze how often online publishers get het up about the wrong metrics. Tools like Omniture are obscenely powerful, yet all we tend to use them for is to find PVs, UUs, occasionally time spent, and sometimes how particular headlines are performing. Used properly, web analytics can help us keep our sites in a state of constant evolution, adapting to the tiniest shifts in user behaviour through minor design/code tweaks.

This isn’t about becoming Keanu Reeves and learning how to read the Matrix – it’s just knowing how to use the tools that are available to us.

Twitter launches analytics

Twitter Analytics will be fun and useful, but why no ability to sort by best/worst performers? How can we tell what does/doesn’t work if we can’t see what does/doesn’t work? Intro here. Analytics themselves here (you need to activate before you’ll start seeing stats).

Understanding how people interact with your content: the code

Upworthy have released the code they use to track user engagement, with a nice bit of methodology explaining what they’re tracking and why they care:

“In the age of ever-present social media, our collective attentions have never been spread thinner. According to Facebook, each user has the potential to be served 1,500 stories in their newsfeed each time. For a heavy user, that number could be as much as 15,000. In this climate, how do you get people to pay attention? And, more importantly, how do you know they’re actually engaged?

“Clicks and pageviews, long the industry standards, are drastically ill-equipped for the job. Even the share isn’t a surefire measure that the user has spent any time engaging with the content itself. It’s in everyone’s interest — from publishers to readers to advertisers — to move to a metric that more fully measures attention spent consuming content. In other words, the best way to answer the question is to measure what happens between the click and the share. Enter Attention Minutes.”