10 Things You Need To Know About Metrics

Analytics Zombies Walk Among Us

1. The three screens will become one. “Understanding how people consume media across these three channels, what the best ad models for each of them are, and defining the metrics that work from both a buyer’s and a seller’s perspective will be critical,” says Mainak Mazumdar, senior vice president for measurement science and development at Nielsen Online.

2. “For a long time, we’ve been tracking ‘audience’ reach, and recently we started tracking ‘segment’ reach. The new thing will be tracking ‘influence’ reach — how many people are witnessing the writings of these influential bloggers and what they’re doing as a result,” says Charlie Buchwalter, senior vice president for research and analytics at Nielsen Online.

3. “A lot of focus in the past has always been on using search data to improve search campaigns, but it can really help you understand consumer perception of your brand and what kind of content consumers are looking for, and can feed into your overall marketing strategy, as well as helping you optimize your Web site,” says Heather Dougherty, research director at Hitwise.

4. Economic challenges will have everyone turning an eye toward their existing customers and away from expensive acquisitions, says Debbie Dypko, vice president of analytical services at ANALYTICi. Statistical models and deep segmentation will be used to determine whom to go after. “The key is timeliness, and knowing the right time to identify someone as ‘at risk’ and reactivate them before they’re gone for good.”

5. “Companies that can figure out the right way to measure video engagement will have a competitive edge in the next couple of years until everybody can do it,” says Jim Sterne, producer of the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit and chairman of the Web Analytics Association. “How many people watch, when they stop watching and what sort of comments they make is the key to understanding your marketplace.”

6. Social media provide rich insight, and companies and agencies are building their own proprietary tools for measuring it. “Typically, what you would do is put a list of topics and brands into these tools so you can find out what topics are generating the most buzz,” says Joe Abruzzo, executive vice president of research at MPG North America.

7. New metrics will make connections. GM announced that one-third of its ad budget was moving online over the next two years, and P&G is moving a lot of its money online,” says Andrew Lipsman, senior analyst at comScore. The reason, he says, is because tools now exist that make it easier to tie online exposures to offline behavior.

8. Marketers are learning that behavioral data holds the key to future sales, Abruzzo says, and they’re using it to improve segmentation. “Basically, they’re building out around the way clients are seeing their targets behave.”

9. This may take until 2010 to reach critical mass, but “in-store data-gathering devices will start to mirror the same kind of data we’re already getting from the Internet,” says Coleen Kuehn, executive vice president and chief strategist at MPG North America. “It will be able to tell you I went from the bread aisle to the dairy section, that I spent two minutes there and what I bought.” One service, she says, will have consumers swipe their frequent-shopper card against a reader on their cart, which will generate up-sell suggestions such as,  “It’s been four weeks since you bought toothpaste. Is it time you got another tube?”

10. As dollars get scarce, competition grows fierce. Firms and marketers are collecting or buying competitive data — such as product assortment, price, and consumer attitudes and behaviors toward the competitor — and integrating it into their analytics for deeper insight. “Today, most companies pay attention to their own initiatives and the general response of the consumer, but they’re learning that the competition’s work can be the critical missing piece,” says Doug Brooks, vice president of Marketing Management Analytics. 

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