Mind Readings: Analytics Strategy Control

In today’s episode, we talk about measuring what you can and cannot control.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

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In today’s episode of Mind Readings, let’s talk about analytic strategy, something that was on my mind recently as I was thinking about analytics overall is that we spend a lot of time looking at a lot of data to try and understand what happened. And why. And that’s important. That’s a vital use of analytics. But in some ways it’s kind of a waste of time in some ways.

And I say this because as I do more and more work for clients and look at their data, a lot of folks measure a lot of things that very critically they don’t have control over. And because they don’t have control over those things, they can’t change them. So, for example, you have some level of control over what you post on social media but whether your post gets seen or not, you don’t have much control over that, right?

You don’t have much control over how Facebook or Instagram or tick tock or whatever, how they choose content to be seen. They have literally artificial intelligence algorithms designed just for that. And as a result, it’s difficult to tease apart in your analytics whether a lack of performance, low performance in social media marketing as just as an example is because you didn’t do your job or because the algorithms that are out of your control chose not to show your content, even though it may have been perfectly good content.

Remembering that for most public social media, you are competing against essentially everything else. That piece of software wants to put in that slot, that space of inventory, including stuff that generates ad revenue. So should we be measuring it? Yes, but probably not as often as we think we need to be. Right what we should be focusing on is what is under our control, what are the things that we can do differently.

And sometimes that might just be the creative might that sometimes that might just be the things that the activities that we’ve done, knowing that we don’t have a lot of control. For example, I used to work in public relations and there are ways to prove the value of public relations, the ways to prove the return on investment. But an awful lot of the time activity is what kept report on not because practitioners are necessarily able or unable to to report on the impact, although it is the case in a lot of cases, but also because you don’t have control, right?

You don’t have control over whether a reporter or a publication or a news outlet runs with your story or not. You might have a really compelling story and then Russia invades someone and suddenly no one is getting coverage. And so when we’re thinking about our analytics, we think about using our data. We actually think about what do we have control over.

One of the things that I really like about more advanced analytics, like predictive analytics, is that it’s not just a rearview mirror, right? When you’re doing your analytics reporting, most of the time you are looking in the rearview mirror, and that’s OK. That’s what most analytics are for. That’s perfectly OK. But you can’t change what has already happened.

You can’t go back in time, you can’t adjust to the data. Honestly, to show reality being different than it is. But when you start getting into things like predictive analytics, trends, forecasting and stuff, now you’re starting to get into higher value analytics where you can say, Look, let’s make these changes to our upcoming plans so that we get a different result so the question I have for you is how much of what you measure do you have control over when you’re reporting on it?

And when it comes to making decisions and when it comes to taking action, how much are you focusing on the things you have control over and how much are you being asked to do things that are out of your control? If you work for a person or an organization that is consistently insistent on you affecting things that are out of your control, you might want to change who you work for because you’re never going to make people happy.

You’re never going to be able to accomplish what you want to accomplish because you’re being asked to do things that you don’t have control over. All right. We want to rank number one in in Google for the search term. Well, you don’t have control over that. You have some right. You can build inbound links, you can create great content.

But at the end of the day, it is not your decision about what gets listed for that search term on Google. Right. You have no control over that. One of the challenge aspects of adopting this mindset is you realize as a marketer, as a marketing professional, you have control over relatively little right? You don’t have control over what’s in somebody’s head.

You don’t have control over various pieces of software and algorithms. You don’t have control over recommendation engines. So those things that you do have control over, make sure that you invest heavily in them. You have control over the quality of content you create and you have control over distribution channels. You own you, you you control who you send your emails to.

Right? You can’t control what they say. We read some of that, but you at least know it got there as opposed to a Facebook where you put up a post and it falls into a black hole and you have no idea where another living human has even seen it.

So what do you have control over and how much are you investing in those things where you do have control? Give that some thought as you build your analytic strategies, as you build your reporting strategies, and ultimately as you decide what it is that you as a person, as a professional and as an organization are going to focus on.

Because if you spend all of your energy and time and effort and money on things you don’t have control over, you’re going to consistently be disappointed. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll talk to you soon. If you’d like this video, go ahead and hit that subscribe button.


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