“You know, comrades, that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.”

Joseph Stalin, 1923
Source: The Memoirs of Stalin’s Former Secretary (1992), Boris Bazhanov.
Joseph Stalin

First you have to decide what to measure

Some claim this Stalin quote is apocryphal (of doubtful authenticity). Regardless, it connotes truth that should be applied to digital marketing analytics.

Before you decide who will measure success for your digital property (“who will count the votes, and how”), you have to decide what to measure. Everyone making decisions with the data, and those impacted by such decisions, needs to understand and agree to defined success that will be measured. Regarding a digital property, defined success needs to relate to business objectives. A website or app must support the business objectives of the related business.

Bias in measuring and reporting = bias in decisions

Consensus on defined success is a must, but it does not prevent biased measurement & reporting that can lead to biased decisions. To safeguard the decision making process, you need to make purposed decisions about who is measuring success, and how.

In financial reporting, especially for publicly traded companies, a certified accounting firm must validate reported financial results. This is meant to help prevent management from engaging in creative accounting – distorting results in their favor.

Don’t let the patient take their own temperature

The Count

Digital marketing analytics is no different. Agencies & media buyers are not immune to creative accounting of their managed ad spend performance. Letting vendors define & measure their own success is like letting a patient build their own thermometer and take their own temperature.

Don’t be like Stalin. Let a trusted, unbiased partner help you define & measure success that supports your business objectives, so you can have confidence in the decisions you are making with that data. Your employees, and clients, are counting on you.

Who counts, and how, is what matters