counting sheep puts people to sleep

counting sheep

To everyone obsessing about how to increase page views, followers, or ‘friends’ on social networking sites,  here’s a simple word of advice:


Forget keeping score: it doesn’t matter.

Reach doesn’t equate to engagement, and people are only ‘friends’ if you interact with them on a regular basis.

Let’s focus on what really matters.

Over to Seth

Many thanks to Niall over at Simply Zesty for sharing this video
UPDATE: seems a few people have run similar stories in the past day or so too – this post from All Facebook is one of the best examples


3 Responses to “counting sheep puts people to sleep”

  1. 1 John Barton October 3, 2009 at 03:12

    Great post. It goes well with your sage advice “keep on blogging the stuff that you care about.”

  2. 2 phil October 3, 2009 at 20:19

    let’s try and go back to why we had these measures – impressions, GRPs, reach, frequency – in the first place… these metrics were put in place because we needed a currency to trade in a non-complicated world.

    media buyers needed to be able to quantify the number of people watching a certain combination of programs or newspaper titles in order to negotiate for better rates for their clients. the number of people watching, reading and listening, therefore, were born out of the need to ensure efficiency in investing, not effectiveness.

    counting people is therefore not about engagement (no matter how one defines it – because i believe that we still don’t have a proper definition of engagement).

    the problem is we got involved with the numbers THAT much.

    hence the idea that “more is better” and “more is more effective”.


    here’s another thought about ‘reach’: what exactly are we measuring when we measure ‘ratings’ on which reach is based?

    the conceptual definition is easy: it’s the number of people exposed to a program or a TVC

    the operational definition of ratings is far more complicated: “the number of people from a sample panel – which HOPEFULLY represents the entire population of people we are interested in – who willingly said YES to the research company to install a set-top box in their home, be identified by a button on a remote-control like device, and who actually press the device to identify themselves when they plop in front of the tv”.

    how is it that media decisions involving millions of dollars are made on this operational definition?

    sure, there are statistical and quality-control arguments towards it: BUT we conveniently forget that when we defend media plans.

    • 3 eskimon October 5, 2009 at 20:35

      Spot on Phil – the whole ratings / reach thing is a big mess. These metrics could help us to avoid investment overlap, but the process for collecting the data is so convoluted that it’s unlikely it’s accurate enough to help us do that either.

      The real irony is that, in attempting to reduce wastage in advertising spend, we’re wasting a different set of dollars instead.

      However, the complex array of vested interests in the measurement arena mean this problem isn’t likely to go away overnight.

      However, as we saw at length in the measures of success piece, that situation must change, and soon.

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