Almost all metrics you currently use have one common thread: They are almost all backward-looking.
If you want to deepen the influence of data in your organization – and your personal influence – 30% of your analytics efforts should be centered around the use of forward-looking metrics.
But first, let’s take a small step back. What is a metric?
Here’s the definition of a metric from my first book:
A metric is a number.
Conversion Rate. Number of Users. Bounce Rate. All metrics.
[Note: Bounce Rate has been banished from Google Analytics 4 and replaced with a compound metric called Engaged Sessions – the number of sessions that lasted 10 seconds or longer, or had 1 or more conversion events or 2 or more page views.]
The three metrics above are backward-looking. They are telling us what happened in the past. You’ll recognize now that that is true for almost everything you are reporting (if not everything).
But, who does not want to see the future?
Yes. I see your hand up.
The problem is that the future is hard to predict. What’s the quote… No one went broke predicting the past.
Why use Predictive Metrics? As Analysts, we convert data into insights every day. Awesome. Only some of those insights get transformed into action – for any number of reasons (your influence, quality of insights, incomplete stories, etc. etc.). Sad face.
One of the most effective ways of ensuring your insights will be converted into high-impact business actions is to predict the future.
Consider this insight derived from data:
The Conversion Rate from our Email campaigns is 4.5%, 2x of Google Search.
Now consider this one:
The Conversion Rate from our Email campaign is
“Don’t talk to strangers.”
That’s the earliest advice I remember being given.
It’s also the one I followed most strictly. But not because of my parents.
Nope. What truly cemented it as an immutable law in my tiny four year old brain was a puppet show put on by the police for my pre-kindergarten class.
It started innocently; a group of woolen anthropomorphized puppies and kittens with buttons for eyes were happily playing at the park…
… then a puppy talks to a stranger. And gets abducted.
Dark twist for a bunch of four
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One of the business side effects of the pandemic is that it has put a very sharp light on Marketing budgets. This is a very good thing under all circumstances, but particularly beneficial in times when most companies are not doing so well financially.
There is a sharper focus on Revenue/Profit.
From there, it is a hop, skip, and a jump to, hey, am I getting all the credit I should for the Conversions being driven by my marketing tactics? AKA: Attribution!
Right then and there, your VP of Finance steps in with a, hey, how many of these conversions that you are claiming are ones that we would not have gotten anyway? AKA Incrementality!
Two of the holiest of holy grails in Marketing: Attribution, Incrementality.
Analysts have died in their quests to get to those two answers. So much sand, so little water.
Hence, you can imagine how irritated I was when someone said:
Yes, we know the incrementality of Marketing. We are doing attribution analysis.
You did not just say that.
I’m not so much upset as I’m just disappointed.
Attribution and Incrementality are not the same thing. Chalk and cheese.
Incrementality identifies the Conversions that would not have occurred without various marketing tactics.
Attribution is simply the science (sometimes, wrongly, art) of distributing credit for Conversions.
None of those Conversions might have been incremental. Correction: It is almost always true that a very, very, large percentage of the Conversions driven by your Paid Media efforts are not incremental.
Attribution ≠ Incrementality.
In my newsletter, TMAI Premium, we’ve covered how to solve the immense challenge of identifying the true incrementality delivered by your Marketing budget. (Signup, email me for a link to that newsletter.)
Today, let me unpack the crucial
Imagine you’re a canary in a coal mine:
You’re healthy as you enter the mine – full of joie de vivre. Singing to your heart’s content as you enter into the darkness. Fluttering your wings as only birds like you can.
Later, you exit the mine. Except now you’re:
Covered in soot. Frail from disease. Your song is gone.
And you’re no longer able to do what you’re uniquely qualified as a bird to do:
Was it you that made yourself sick? Or was it the coal mine?
To most of us, the answer
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Think you’re ready to charge more for creative work? Let’s visualize your morning for a sec. The sun’s peeking out…
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Here are all the things we thought about and didto 4X+ our spend on cold Facebook traffic.
A “hard no” was what we were up against.
But I’d helped less beloved companies profitably reach new audiences on Facebook, so our lobby team of two kept pushing.
It was nearly Black Friday, and my partner in this endeavour Angela Stojanov, another acquisition lead here at Copyhackers, was determined to convince our colleagues – our very skeptical colleagues – to advertise on Facebook.
Ange floated a casual: “hey, we should run Facebook ads for
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“Once I figure out what to do with my dining room table, I’ll be free to move.”
But what sort of impact does a table have on a major life decision like buying a condo?
As innovation consultant Bob Moesta found out, quite a lot.
The table helped shape the winning offer – which included more than just the condo.
And the table provided critical insight into the condo buyers’ mindset.
And yet, a detail like a dining room table isn’t something you’d typically find on most marketers’ beloved buyer persona and ideal client
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If you’re looking to build a personal brand business, you’re probably aware that it’s only a matter of time until…
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There has been a lot of heartbreak around the world with the CV-19 pandemic.
This chart, from NPR, illustrates some cause for optimism. It shows the 7-day average new cases per day across the world.
It is crucial to acknowledge what’s hidden in the aggregated trend above: The impact on individual countries is variable.
A large percentage of humans on the planet remain under threat. We don’t nearly have enough vaccines finding arms. We have to remain vigilant, and commit to getting the entire planet vaccinated.
Recent worries about Covid were increased by the proliferation of virus variants around the world. Variant B.1.1.7 was first identified in the UK. Variant B.1.351 was first identified in South Africa. Variant P.1 in Brazil has 17 unique mutations. The variant identified in India, B.1.617.2, had a particularly devastating impact (see the blue spike above). There are multiple “variants of interest” in the United States, Philippines, Vietnam, and other countries.
A particularly dangerous thing about variants is that they are highly transmissible (evolution, sadly, in action).
Some journalists rush to point out, hey, the death rate remains the same.
I believe this is a mistake. It imprecisely minimizes the danger, and results in some of our fellow humans feeling a false sense of hope. This is possibly due to a lack of mathematical savvy.
As Analysts, you can appreciate that a lay individual might not quite understand the complexity behind infection rates, and the impact on death rates. At the same time all of us, journalists and Analysts have to figure out how to communicate this type of insight in a way that everyone can understand.
This reality is similar to what we face in our business environment every single
Feeling exhausted by your current content creation system? If you’re dreading your content to-do list, you might be doing it…
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