Macro, Not Just Micro

In a digital world where more and more focus is (rightly) being placed on analytics and measurement, it can be all too easy to lose sight of the big picture.

Focus less on the trees – remember to think about the forest too.

Take this blog, for example. If I glance at the daily analytics for this site, I see this:

Micro

Up, down, all over the place. Useful to an extent, for reflecting on posts that resonated, but it doesn’t give me any real idea of what’s going on overall. Contrast this with the picture I get when I step back a little and look at trends over months:

Macro

With the exception of a dip during the holidays and a freakish StumbleUpon event a few months ago, there’s a consistent trend here. I can see that, overall, traffic is going up. That’s one of the metrics I look at to determine whether I’m going in the right direction with this post.

So, your client was featured in the Globe & Mail today, or you got them a hit in Engadget. That’s great, right? Actually, it could be irrelevant if it has no bearing on their goals, or if the tone of the piece wasn’t positive.

The point? Try not to focus purely on the little things.

  • In addition to the macro, I think PR can also work closely with marketing to better understand which traffic contributed to incoming inquiries and possibly had an impact on the sales pipeline. I would argue that while Globe & Mail brings prestige, did it truly bring in quality leads that maybe a vertical or industry pub/blog?

  • Dave –

    Thank you for pointing out the immense need there is to not just collect data, but analyze it. And, as you allude to, the most important part of that process is first identifying what your goal is. All too often we start the measurement process after our activities are completed when we should have started at the beginning. Specific goals allow for specific measurements that tell you not just how big is your forrest, but what kinds of trees you’re planting. (That metaphor may not have worked, but I hope you get my point.)

    — David Kinard

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  • It’s true of so many things – focusing on tiny snippets of information as opposed to the overall picture.

    “We missed target for the month? You’re all fired!”

    How about looking at why we missed target, working on it, and evaluating how it affected the year-long target instead?

    Snippets offer valuable info but the overall picture shows the results.