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(Captain Renaud from Casablanca) Major Strasser has launched a social media strategy. Round up the usual metrics.

I came to Casablanca for the retweets. I was misinformed.

I came to Casablanca for the retweets. I was misinformed. published on No Comments on I came to Casablanca for the retweets. I was misinformed.

Some of the advice I’ve seen around social media measurement boils down to “Don’t pay attention to x. You should be measuring y.”

Don’t pay attention to retweets; you should be measuring follower growth. Don’t pay attention to follower growth; you should be measuring post likes. Don’t pay attention to post likes; you should be measuring FlegmaRank, our proprietary new index based on a secret algorithm that boils eighty thousand different variables into a single integer between 0 and 1.

It’s enough to drive an online campaigner to drink… or, more productively, to the bookshelf. This stuff is why I was so pleased to draw the cartoons for Beth Kanter and K.D. Paine’s Measuring the Networked Nonprofit. And why I loved reading Katie’s Measure What Matters. And (this’ll take you back) Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. (I’d link to it, but he has a more recent follow-up, Web Analytics 2.0.)

What all that advice really should boil down to is this: what do you want your online efforts to achieve? How do you believe they’ll do it? (That is, what’s your theory of change?) How can you measure each stage of the mechanism underlying your theory? How can you benchmark against peers, competitors and past performance? And how can your measurements help you assess your model against real-world results, and adjust accordingly?

Answer those questions, and you’ll know which metrics matter. (They may be the usual suspects. They may not. Chances are they’ll be some of each.) Everything else is noise.

And how does your bounce rate make you feel?

And how does your bounce rate make you feel? published on No Comments on And how does your bounce rate make you feel?

Alex (that’s right, the Alex) suggested this one. I’m not sure which thought appeals to me more: that I could wander around with dynamic metrics projected over my head, or that administering psychopharmaceuticals to my web server could increase the average visit duration.

Warning: If  visit duration exceeds two hours, consult a sysadmin.

Woman has dumped drink on man's head. Man's friend says 'I'd say the key metric here is your bounce rate.'

We just didn’t click

We just didn’t click published on No Comments on We just didn’t click

Originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

As I was drawing this one it occurred to me that if you look at nearly any piece of web terminology long enough, it starts to seem vaguely smutty.

Sometimes it doesn’t take any contemplation at all; Facebook should feel downright embarrassed about pushing “frictionless sharing”. (No, I’m not drawing that one – at least not here. This is a family site, bub.)

And don’t get me started on HTTP status codes – although, sadly, it’s the client errors that seem the most compelling. Between 417 (“Expectation Failed”), 405 (“Method Not Allowed”) and 429 (“Too Many Requests”), they tell the story of two tragically incompatible people who should never have hooked up in the first place. “And when he woke up the next morning, she was 410.”

Anyway, to everyone who’s been up to their eyeballs in web analytics this week, this one’s for you.

Analyze this… repeatedly.

Analyze this… repeatedly. published on No Comments on Analyze this… repeatedly.

Originally published on ReadWriteWeb.

Google has just released a new feature for Analytics, replacing Site Overlay with In-Page Analytics.

And I think I have a terrific pitch for the media outlets that like to run huge social-media-is-killing-us-all headlines. Here’s how it goes:

When you’re playing Minesweeper, Solitaire or Angry Birds, it’s a little difficult to convince yourself that you’re being productive. But when you’re tinkering with Google Analytics, it’s a much easier sell.

And when Google comes along and makes Analytics that much more visual, then the combination becomes near-lethal. You can tweak away for hours, while one part of your brain is pumping out the isn’t-this-fun endorphins, and another is rationalizing that you’re doing something useful.

In other words, it’s only a matter of time before we hear the first reports of starvation deaths among Analytics users.

I am available for media interviews.