Salsa Scoop> Metrics Meretricious and Meritorious

Metrics Meretricious and Meritorious

One of the pleasures of an otherwise meritless fantasy sports habit is learning to evaluate games and players in different ways. Baseball fans, for instance, will be at least passingly familiar with OPS, an only recently-popularized statistic for evaluating a player's offensive contribution more deeply than a batting average. Football Outsiders has done wonders -- and unearthed hidden insights, many rapidly becoming conventional wisdom -- with unorthodox analysis of NFL games. So my ears perked up when the indispensable Progressive Exchange mailing list took an innocuous inquiry about mailing every month as opposed to every other month* and galloped into a conversation about what metrics like e-mail open rates measure and whether they really matter. Mark Rovner of Sea Change Strategies struck the tocsin thusly:
We all — myself included — pay far too much attention to these measures because they are so easy to get. But are they really telling us anything important? Is your goal for a newsletter really to get them to click to your site, or is it to bond them to the organization?
This is an incredibly discomfiting area into which to venture. What does one really want from one's online presence? Is it possible that the most ready-at-hand metrics -- the count of subscribers, traffic to the site, even donations -- might not only fail to measure but actually trade off with less readily quantifiable but ultimately more telling goals? Amazingly, even marketers under the straightforward whip of a dollars-and-cents ROI struggle to understand what an e-mail address is really worth. Rovner proposes using Net Promoter Scores as one way to take a different look at list health ... and change the way one thinks about working with it. *Eve Fox of the M+R Strategic Services consulting shop was ready with an apposite answer from their current newsletter. Update: Much more about measuring engagement at nfp2.0.


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