Web Analytics: The Myth of Inaccuracy
Ian Lurie Mar 12 2008
I am so, so, so tired of ‘experts’ telling me that things like podcasts, social media or other, harder-to-quantify online media are “hard to measure”.
Bull. The most difficult-to-measure online asset is far, far easier to measure than the best offline one.
More Measurable Than Any Traditional Media
Corporations have blown ridiculous amounts of cash on television, print advertising and radio. Traditional agencies then tell them proudly of impressions and readers.
But what do they really know? Nothing.
I may have walked out of the room when the commercial played. Or flipped past the print ad. Or simply ignored the radio spot. And you have no way of knowing.
Let’s compare that to a podcast; podcasts and other downloaded media are the most difficult to measure.
With a podcast, you at least know someone downloaded it. And you know if they continue to download episodes. So you can measure (not perfectly, of course) how many subscribers you add, and how long they stick around.
Not great, but far better than wondering if I headed for the fridge when your Superbowl spot came on.
Other Web Analytics
I also hear that web analytics aren’t accurate enough to justify spending money online.
Web analytics aren’t perfect, it’s true. But you can still track far more, and more accurately, than in any other medium.
Where else can I compare the conversion rates of one ad to another? Or the cost to acquire a customer using a single keyword?
The Real Truth
I think that the whole inaccuracy myth was created by folks who can’t figure out how to use an iPod.
Web analytics are far superior to anything else. Should you stop advertising in other media? Of course not. But internet marketing is less expensive, more measurable, and therefore more effective than anything else you’re going to find.
Start looking for another excuse, OK?
Joseph Jaffe talked about this in Podcast 105, which was a CEO roundtable. I was driving down to Portland and nearly drove off the road ranting and raving after hearing one of his guests state that podcasts could be a great marketing medium if the ‘problem of measurement’ is resolved. BTW, his podcast rocks. You must subscribe. Right now!!!!
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He is co-author of the 2nd edition of the Web Marketing All-In-One for Dummies and wrote the sections on SEO, blogging, social media and web analytics. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. And, Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Read More