Understanding Your Own Numbers And What They Mean Too You

There is probably no other subject that stirs up emotion so vehement than that of anything related to Search or Social Media. Doesn’t matter whether I’m in front of a room of 20 somethings, a room of over 40 somethings, or in a private conversation with just someone. All I know is almost to a person – their conceptions of their metrics don’t align with their conception of reality.

In other words: what they think they are, what it will do, and what they want it to do – are usually not even close.

The problem more often that not that will (or currently is) frustrate them is: when they look at their #’s whether it be Likes, Followers, Views, whatever. If it isn’t based in the hundreds of thousands, or the millions. All they see is failure. It’s absolutely ludicrous as far as I’m concerned. And it stupefies more people into fits of inertia far more often than into bits as to move forward.

I wrote an article that is also in my first book called “Beware Of The Hit Men.” In that article I explained why you need to understand (or to know) what a “click” or whatever it is you’re counting means too you. i.e., Is it better to have 100,000 clicks that don’t purchase a thing? Or, 1 click that does?

There are arguments for why both have value. Understanding the difference between the two as well as knowing what they mean to your bottom line is what’s important. Yet, far too many I find really have no idea. It’s purely based on assumptions with no real basis of business reasoning.

Believe it, or not. That one simple question has stopped more people in their tracks like a deer in the headlights than almost any other question I’ll ask. And the reason for it is: Most (if not all) have never really given it much thought. It’s just some vanity metric they have in their head formulated by looking at other people’s sites, or social pages. Then inferred: this is where they need to be – or they’re a failure.

It’s rubbish in my book, and if you don’t have clear meanings and ways to verify if you’re truly hitting your marks. The general numbers associated with all those metrics; will be the end of you; or make the end of you, in short order.

Over the years I’ve written and posted results, formulations, the how and why, etc., etc., using myself as the example. I’ve shown the good, the bad, and the ugly because if I’m going to have any credibility for what I profess – I had better be able to demonstrate it myself in real-time examples. I’ve received great pleasure over the years from readers, and more, when they’ve expressed an “ah ha!” moment where it finally “clicked” for them. (pun intended)

I also find the need to make clear for there are some that think I’m bashing everything “social” or I believe there’s no use in any of it. Nothing could be further from the truth. What I am saying: It has its place. Just don’t kid yourself in both the using, as well as – not to use the medium. Just like in all businesses. Everything has a cost, and a pay back. Just make sure you’re getting out of it whatever it is you decided is an equivalent pay out for what you need to put in. That’s all.

So, with all that said. Let me give you another quick relevant example (again using myself) as to demonstrate if you don’t know exactly what you’re trying to do, and what a number (any number) truly means too you. You may be fretting over some number (or metric) when in actuality – you’re wasting valuable time and resources over something meaningless. And you don’t even know it. Or, worse – can’t tell!

As of today the amount of intellectual property (articles and so forth) I have on the web has not only increased two-fold (if not more) in volume over the last 3 years, it is also been spread far further.

During a discussion I had yesterday the topic of “SEO” as in search engine optimization came up. As many of you know I have railed against this as being a top-level concern for most unless: you have absolute metric numbers that need to be met as to prove it adds to the bottom line in a definitive way. For I’m about business metrics, not vanity numbers.

As I’ve said, I use myself for these examples. So I asked V.V. at StreetCry for a search metric from previous examples as to show how if one was concerned about “increasing” their web presence using the numbers today could (or would) fool them. To wit:

Here’s a screenshot (the top) I was using for an example at a talk I was giving in 2012. As you can see this search resulted in nearly 4 BILLION hits. Of course they aren’t all me. However, they are looking for any and all with my name in it proper. At that time I did have a lot on the web, and I showed, spoke, and explained: “When you can go 10, 15, or 20 pages deep – and it’s 90%+ all you and from differing places. That’s how you begin doing true assessment and not kidding yourself.”

Far too many I expressed were looking at the 3.8 Billion result (of what ever theirs were whether higher or lower) in their own metrics as some form of confirmation of doing good, well, poor, or worse.

Now the screen shot right below it was done yesterday using the same criteria as you can see. The result? 12,700. Should I pack it in? Pack it all up? 3 years of work and I lose over 3.8 BILLION search hits?! All that work and all I could manage was get my website to the top of the search! What a failure I must be, time to throw a pity party, for what else is left!
(On an aside. At the time of the first example I was explaining why everything you did for SEO at that time could be useless with just one algo change via Google. And the example below not only proved that point it shows in stunning detail 3 years later just how far ahead I was at the time in 2012. A time when everyone was more than happy to express to me that I had no idea.)

Google Search Me 2012 1 0f 2 Screen shot 2012-08-06 at 5.39.11 PMGoogle Search Me 2015 2 of 2 Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 3.09.44 PM

You need to understand your numbers, where they’re coming from, what they mean, why you need them, etc., etc. Otherwise you’re not only going to drive yourself crazy – but probably nuts! However, the worst thing it’ll do is make you focus valuable time on things that either don’t matter – or lose money. And if you’re in a business, vanity is nice – but it don’t pay the bills. Period.

I could go on about this subject and in some talks I do just that. But for the sake of brevity I hope you’re getting what I’m trying to express. And to help drive this point home further let me illustrate one last point, again using myself. As of today, although my work is at times re-posted or carried on other sites of note in multitudes of a few years ago. The only web notification I receive from Google™ stating my name or work has shown up on the web is – from my site alone. No where else.

I have yet to still receive a notification of my name posted anywhere else on the web – in years!!

And here’s a bonus for those who feel they really need those “vanity” metrics or people won’t think highly of their work. Next time you see someone with metrics you long for, or dream that you could have. Here’s a screen shot I took that shows how you can solve your own dilemma.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 3.07.03 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-27 at 3.07.57 PMAs you can see. There’s a price to be paid for vanity. You can find where to buy them just like the above shows across the web in any search engine that you choose. And if all you want to do is look good, and it makes you feel good. Then by all means maybe what you should do is buy whatever it is that you think will make you confident – and be done with. This way you can spend your time trying to get 1 happy customer to spend $1 with you more than once. After all – that’s what you’ll need to do so you can pay them. For like I’ve said many times…

“The people making real money in Social-Media. Are the people telling (and selling) you Social-Media.”

The only important metric in business is : Sales and Net profits first. Vanity second.

Not the other way around.

© 2015 Mark St.Cyr