Measurement gone wrong
The good news about digital advertising is that you can measure everything. The bad news is that you're often asked to try. Everything cannot tell you a story that makes sense, just as I cannot tell you the story of how I met my wife in a way that includes all the words in the Oxford English Dictionary. What matters is that you choose the right words, or in this case, the right metrics that will let you know if you've spent your money in a way that achieves your goals.
The problem is that we often select metrics very broadly, or for reasons that don't have much to do with the campaign goals at hand. Sometimes we're just trying to compare to benchmarks, spending goals, or even just reaching into the grab-bag of the familiar. We also have a tendency to try to measure a spectrum of different tactics with one rigid set of metrics, like deciding that length is the thing that matters most and then measuring water with a yardstick.
Choosing the right tools to determine the success of a campaign is crucial. Below are a few examples of how metrics and strategy can become unhinged -- and how we might line them up again.