Friday, 5 October 2012

Nobody needs hourly reports. I now understand why they want them.

We build a lot of business dashboards at MediaCom, to track advertising performance, what your competitors are up to, your latest sales figures, that sort of thing.

I'm a strong believer in the fact that nobody needs to see those kinds of figures daily, or even more frequently than that. You can't learn very much when the frequency of your reports is that high. There's a good chance you'll focus on a misleading figure that's not part of a general trend and the little that you can learn, you can't react to. If one of your products is flying out the door, great! What are you going to do about that this afternoon?

Other than feel really good about it.

Which is what I discovered this week.

I set up my first ad campaign this week, for an online shop selling paragliding t-shirts, mugs and gifts (pump those SEO terms...) and I've instantly become obsessed with the traffic stats. Now that there's money at stake, it's even worse than monitoring Google Analytics for this blog.

So I get it. I want daily reporting too. If we can automate it, you can have it (because whatever the benefits, manual daily reporting is still a bloody silly idea.)

You still can't do anything useful with it. You're still going to need weekly and monthly summaries to understand what's actually going on. But very frequent reports are a huge motivator - they remind you that what you're doing is actually out there, in the world, and people are buying it. And that's important.

I didn't understand that, until in a very small way, I turned into an advertiser. It's been a great reminder that before you argue with what a client wants, you should walk in their shoes.

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