Measuring What Matters – by Steve Birkett

Metrics are among the least thrilling elements of new media marketing. They are also one of the most complex to set up, not to mention the time they consume to do so.

Nonetheless, measuring and drawing meaning from the right numbers is one of the most crucial factors in developing an effective presence across new media channels.

What Should I Measure? 

Put simply, measure what matters!

How? Begin at the end. Frame your efforts in terms of what you want to get out of the time you put in. You may already have several objectives, so pick the most crucial one or two and brainstorm all of the areas that represent progress towards the goal.

Often this method works best if you state the objective in one or two sentences. Start with words that help you understand the factors feeding into the outcome, then transition to thinking in terms of numbers that reflect movement in these factors.

Some examples of objectives that you might turn into measurements are:

  • Increased sales leads
  • Greater brand awareness
  • Shortened (or refined) sales cycle
  • Improved website effectiveness
  • Increased customer retention rate
  • Improved brand sentiment

Some of these will be easier than others to translate from statements to metrics. You may even have existing traditional methods that can be adapted for the digital environment, for example a group discussion on Linkedin that adds new contact to your sales funnel can quickly be shown as progress towards “Increases sales leads”.

For a more nebulous example, we can look at “Greater brand awareness”, which could include many factors in its measurement. By free writing, or brainstorming as part of a team, you can tease out words and phrases that feed into this objective, such as website visits, ad impressions, visibility on social networks, and many more. These areas then provide a list of items that can be measured specifically, feeding into an overall metric that you will use to gauge progress towards the overall objective.

Discuss Meaning, Not Measures

Once you have a set of metrics with which you’re comfortable, the next challenge is to derive insights from the numbers. The goal should always be to understand what the metrics mean in terms of movement in your desired direction, rather than seeing individual number shifts as their own end

Reaching the right measures and using them in the context of real-world business will serve to improve the decisions you make. Relying on ill-conceived, misleading metrics, however, can quickly lead you in the wrong direction.

How do you manage what you measure?


Steve Birkett is a senior marketing associate at Brooklyn-based agency Esvee Group ( Specializing in translating brand identity to new media channels and content, he is a passionate advocate of building online networks and openly contributing value to the resulting communities. You can further connect with Steve on Twitter via @EsveeGroup, or on his more musically-inclined personal handle, @AboveTheStatic.


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