Google Says Measurement Is About Quality Over Quantity

By: Samantha Wood

October 6, 2017

When it comes to measuring your PR and communications efforts, more is not always better.

Google Head of Insights & Analytics Janneke van Geuns

Janneke van Geuns, Head of Insights & Analytics, Google

Janneke van Geuns, head of insights and analytics at Google, says that she has seen communicators try to collect and track an overabundance of metrics. But collecting more data isn’t going to bring about better insights, she says.

Instead, communicators should break through the clutter of unnecessary (and just plain meaningless) metrics to focus on the ones that truly matter to you and your organization. This is especially important when bringing your metrics to senior leadership. Communicators can’t let extraneous metrics dilute the message you’re trying to present to the C-suite.

We recently talked to van Geuns about what metrics communicators should focus on, and what new tools Google is developing to make it even easier.

The Social Shake-Up: What is the biggest misconception people have about using analytics to measure their communications strategy?

Van Geuns: The biggest misconception is the perceived need to capture and measure everything and anything. A common belief is that if you capture every type of metric, it will tell you magically what works and what doesn’t. Unfortunately, that is not how we get to insights, and would be comparable to having to find a needle in a haystack. Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) up front is a crucial step in the analytics process. We recently conducted a study with Econsultancy* and found that 45% of all respondents said that unclear definitions of KPIs present a significant negative impact on their organizations, whereas business leaders are 47% more likely than the mainstream to say that their data and analytics strategy includes how they define KPIs for paid media (and 38% more likely for owned properties).

It is pretty simple: If you don’t know what you’re working toward with your analytics approach, you can’t know what’s useful to you.

The Social Shake-Up: What new feature(s) is Google Analytics working on now?

Van Geuns: Google Analytics is one of many tools to help communicators understand how their PR and marketing tactics are working, and we are always aiming to make it as easy as possible for companies to quickly get to insights to support business decisions. One of the ways we are doing that is through Google Data Studio. This tool (in beta) turns data into informative dashboards and reports that are easy to read, easy to share and fully customizable. I have been excited about the capability to link Google Analytics to Data Studio to interpret web analytics data effectively. For all our latest developments, check out the blog.

The Social Shake-Up: What’s the most overrated metric in social media measurement? Should communicators put much stock in measuring impressions?

Van Geuns: A metric can’t be overrated if it is important to assess how social media is contributing to business results. If driving awareness is a KPI for an organization, there is value in measuring impressions since that can be an indicator of reach and efficiency.

The Social Shake-Up: What’s the most impactful metric that communicators can bring to the C-suite to prove the impact of PR or marketing?

Van Geuns: The most impactful metric is one that corresponds to business results that the C-suite cares about. If that is sales, penetration or improving margins, there are corresponding marketing objectives and metrics that can be tracked to assess how PR and marketing are contributing to that. For example, 1) proxy metrics in brand health trackers that can guide if there is consideration and purchase intent, or 2) clear intent from someone reading and clicking on articles to learn more about a brand or product.

*Econsultancy/Google, “The Customer Experience is Written in Data”, May 2017, U.S. (n=677 marketing and measurement executives at companies with over $250M in revenues, primarily in North America; n=199 leading marketers who reported marketing significantly exceeded top business goal in 2016; n=478 mainstream marketers) (remainder of the sample).

Follow Janneke:@jannekevg

Follow Samantha:@samantha_c_wood

At The Social Shake-Up