How much resolution do you need in marketing analytics?

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Resolution in optics is defined as how much detail you can see, the degree of detail visible. Televisions are sold by their resolution, with numbers like 720p, 1080p, and 4K. Microscopes are sold by resolution, such as 20x, 50x, and 150x. Even marketing analytics tools offer analogs to resolution, such as how often reporting is available. Data in the web-based Google Analytics interface defaults to daily as the lowest resolution, but in custom reports and the API, you can get data down to the minute.


Why does resolution, particularly in marketing analytics, matter? Resolution costs more as it increases. A 4K TV costs much more than a 720p TV. A real-time social media analytics tool costs much more typically than a rollup weekly or monthly reporting tool. Even in cases where a platform is the same price, such as Google Analytics (except for Premium), resolution comes at a cost. Computers have to work harder to display more content on bigger screens.

Resolution matters in data especially because as resolution increases, the work you need to do on your data increases. If marketing tools only spit out quarterly reports, you’d have to do some copying and pasting every quarter. When marketing tools offer data at the minute by minute level, you have to process that data, transform it, and then glean insight from it.

The key question to ask is, how much resolution do you need? How much makes a tangible difference to you? A television in the lobby of your company can probably be a cheap 720p TV, because no one’s going to stand in front of it and work all day. A television being used as a second screen in your office might need to be a 4K TV because you’ll be staring at it all day.

In your marketing metrics and analytics, how much resolution is necessary in order for you to implement changes? Few marketing programs need minute by minute analysis except on rare occasions such as major events. Few marketing programs realistically need even daily analysis, save for perhaps advertising programs. Certainly, your blogging strategic execution doesn’t need that level of granular detail.

Here’s the benchmark for determining marketing metrics resolution: how often do you evaluate and make program changes? If you change up your Twitter strategy day-to-day, then daily reporting and analysis makes sense. If you write your content marketing calendar weekly, then go with weekly reporting. If you only look at your lead generation numbers monthly, then you don’t need more than monthly reporting.

How much resolution you need is contingent on how often you’ll use the information.

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