Three Dimensions Of Metrics For The 21st Century

Last week I said that I was going to tie three uber-learnings that I took away from TED 2009 -- creativity, story-telling and looking beyond -- to three challenges that we all face as an industry today: metrics, engagement and interactivity. Let's begin with metrics.

On metrics and creativity. The characteristics and qualities of metrics are generally perceived as quantitative in nature, whereas the characteristics and qualities of creativity are perceived as qualitative. Get over it. Metrics have a history and are, at their essence, the derivates of subjective actions. A mouthful, yes, but follow me for a moment. Nielsen ratings are metrics (a quantitative measure) that are based on the viewers' likes or dislikes of a program (a qualitative action). If we could find a way to enhance the qualitative characteristics of quantative measurements, the learnings would be far closer to a 360-degree view. Interesting hypothesis, no?

On metrics and storytelling. Tim Berners-Lee (yes, the fellow who really invented the Internet) gave a presentation about Linked Data. Now, I won't give it all away -- but at its essence, Linked Data is a way to connect all data together, to allow data (or metrics in our case) to reflect its history and its relationships to other data. This idea of Linked Data is a powerful yet truly underdeveloped idea I would encourage each and every one of us to consider. The value of it lies not only in its efficiency and efficacy as a standardized framework -- but also in the story revealed to us through analysis of connections among the data. Get it?



On metrics and looking beyond. As I said last week, get out of your cube, your office, your ecosystem and find solutions to problems where you have never looked before. Metrics are used in diverse and creative ways in other industries. In the sciences, for example, response times, intensity and severity, replicability -- all these are metrics that are used to gauge success or failure. Maybe we should be thinking about how to measure the intensity of the recall, the response time of a call to action, or even the apathy of engagement to determine the value of a campaign. And before you discount this, stop and think. Maybe, just maybe, it's not that far-fetched.

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