Once you are on your train of thought, you just want to grasp it and let the ideas flow. “Missing Manual” is always my favorite topic because there is always something missing when we are sharing an idea. This missing manual is a follow-up for my last article “Reflection.”

Digital marketing should be analytical because of its metrics model. Almost every behavior can be scientifically evaluated from a click to a timeline, a path or a series of user flows, scrolls or taps on different documents, files, topics, responses or actions, etc etc. Many organizations ignore this gem in their business practice by neglecting the importance of investing in the analytics resources. In my 30 years of practice, I’ve not seen any meaningful team or department, task force, whatever you want to call it in your organization within a marketing setup which will give attention to the analytics. And I am pretty much sure every time when the term “analytics” is mentioned, people think that it is Google Analytics. The success of a branded platform becomes the most misused acronym in the marketing world.

To learn analytics, you need patience. It also requires basic coding skills to deal with adding a small trunk of code to connect a website or app to an analytics application. You can tweak the code to suit different purposes. But this is not the most important part. The most important part of analytics is your metrics model. How do you use different metrics to measure a series of actions that mean value in your marketing?

Have you ever seen a metrics model in your organization?

Actually not only the brand sides have neglected the practice of metrics, but also the agency sides are ignoring it as well. Reason is that creating a metrics model is tedious and there is no assigned responsibility in a typical workflow for this task. The perceived value of practicing analytics is not economic nor commercial as well. The management may think instead of making marketing complicated, why not betting on the next sexy idea and make people like it? This nags you all the time especially when everything is urgent, snackable, bite-size, fast… Honestly, there isn’t anything wrong to pursue vanity value in marketing. You just need to know that vanity value won’t last long and the benefit that you gain is insignificant in the whole marketing journey.

To pursue any improvement in marketing, you need more than your passion. I can say it is at the addiction level or even the obsession that keeps you focused on the journey. Recently I’ve decided to start a content creator team. The creators that I am working with are all professional designers. I believe the creators who can design have better tooling and creative skill. But most of the designers have a common problem – they visualize their mental space without seeing a journey. Let me put it in this way, if we draw a journey, it can be a line between two dots, or a curve going through different dots, what about a circular journey? a loop, a ring, layers, dimensions, etc. Planning a journey can be an exhaustive process even though it is just between two points. Having a good metrics model helps you to craft your marketing journey strategically with mission and goal. In my experience, adding a scientific checkpoint in the wild-wide creative journey can definitely enhance the creation process. But unlike the conventional model – measure and then improve -, we can create the metrics model before rather than after.

Business love vanity

Let’s start with the vanity metrics. Vanity metrics like a million views on a web page, millions of followers, thousands of shares, etc., these numbers will only go up every time you see it over a cumulative period. We all know the perceived value of the vanity metrics are always positive but the latent meaning tells the other story. Most of the companies like the vanity metrics because they are easy to collect and always in a growing trend. The vanity metrics are always your first insight bucket. It tells you things that you know you know.

Then, you move to the second bucket of your metrics. The second bucket analyzes more depth of the activities while the first bucket tabulates the counts only. You can have the sub-buckets according to your content types of each creator media, typically Instagram or TikTok. For example, you can analyze the viewers’ behavior of your content by separating the geolocations of the viewers correlated to the average watch time of the videos, etc. You can segment your content by episodes and chapters based on tiers of average watch time of the viewers, etc. In your second bucket, it is your multivariate analysis. Then the third bucket is your creative pulse. You benchmark and profile the creative elements of the reference content, identify the themes and styles, scenes and characters, etc.

Every metrics is a record of a behavior

Now I believe you know what I want. I want to visualize a journey, an experience, how people are engaged, behave and respond with actions and interactions. In short, is your content marketing plan actually talking to the audience? Knowing that every measurement unit in a metrics table is essentially a record of a behavior pattern such as people like your content, follow your content, comment or share, dropout from a particular segment of the content, growth of average view time during a particular period or episodes, etc. , all of these mean a lot to for your marketing strategy.

Did I just say we should create the metrics model before the content rather than after? Yes indeed. Since all the variables in the first bucket of the metrics model are available to all of us, we can select, collate, and compile our baseline. Then depending on your content plan, you customize your own bucket that fits your content. For example, if you don’t produce video, then you can drop the AWT (average watch time) variable. You create the content with what you want to achieve according to your metrics table. And then while you are planning your content strategy, you know how each chapter and episode will be measured, evaluated, and eventually created. I find this methodology useful especially when you are planning an episode-driven content plan.

You've done enough shouting

The world’s economy has been bumpy in the last 30 years. Financial crises, recession, of course the pandemics, wars, breakdown of the supply chain, technological disruption, etc., during the tough time, our marketing has done a lot of shouting to cry for sales. The influencer marketing takes the shouting to another level. The urging sense makes us less and less analytical. We also read something about the diminishing attention span. Actually, the diminishing attention span applies to all of us, not only the buy-side, but also the sellers who want to save time and sell fast before the time is running out. In reality, there is never a “deadline” standing in front of us.

Let’s be analytical.