The Number You Have Reached…

Get used to the fact that there’s nothing perfect about digital marketing when it comes to “the numbers.”

A recent WSJ Digits article reported that 44% of Twitter accounts have never sent a tweet. And back in September of 2013, there was a piece in Business Insider that talked about how many fake or inactive users Twitter had.

The money quote: “There is a difference between the total number of registered user accounts on Twitter — the entire Twitter universe — and the more meaningful numbers of monthly active users and daily active users.” The same goes for any other social platform (or any platform where you’d like to connect with your target audience(s), for that matter).

The company recently wrote a blog post saying it had 200 million users. All Things D believes it has 240 million users. Venture Beat says it has 1 billion users. And where do the 40 million users of Vine, Twitter’s mini-video sharing app, fit in? – Jim Edwards, writing about Twitter for Business Insider – 9/2013

You can dig deeper into all of this, but the deeper you go, the more you’ll realize that it’s just not as perfect as you’d like it to be. Dustin Stout’s post over on dustin.tv titled, “Social Media Active Users 2013″ discusses how many users are active on popular social networks.

Get used to the fact that there’s nothing perfect about digital marketing when it comes to “the numbers”, whether you’re talking about geo-targeting, audience size, user behavior, cookies, programmatic advertising, click-throughs, page views, active users, daily users, or just about any other “number” you can think of.

I’m with Justin when he says, “The first question you need to ask is not “How many active users are on a platform,” but rather, “what platform is my audience on?”

So, relax. Instead of obsessing over “the numbers,” spend your time thinking strategically about the needs, wants, and desires of your audience(s), the problems they’re trying to solve, how they want to be communicated, and where.

If you let that drive your activation strategies and tactics, you’ll be well on your way to the results you and your clients want.

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  3. Nikhil says

    Nice post Gene. If you keep digging deep into any statistic, eventually it’s a dead end and leaves you none the richer. Eliminating the noise, consolidating multiple sources and drilling down to what’s relevant to your brand is the trick. And in most cases like you said, the answer comes down to, “spend your time thinking strategically about the needs, wants, and desires of your audience(s), the problems they’re trying to solve, how they want to be communicated, and where”. As a Twitter Fan I must add that there is a core audience of Twitter which is highly engaged and actively evangelizes / dismisses brands unlike Facebook which has a wide user base but passive engagement- interesting conversations / events / trends happen on Twitter! (disclaimer: highly biased personal view).

    • says

      Thanks for sharing, Nikhil. I’m with you – I find twitter to be a great resource for interesting conversations / events / trends, as well as a very relevant platform to air my grievances (or praise) to a brand.

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