It started in a bar, as most good ideas do. It was at an Analytics Meetup, the title of which I cannot recall but that’s neither relevant nor important to this story. There was a discussion around use of the term “hits” instead of the correct term “visits” which quickly evolved to include numerous other misuses of various terms and phrases. Everyone had their one of their own to add. With the onset of the inaugural unconference for the Digital Analytics community the opportunity to do something was apparent: A Swear Jar at MeasureCamp.
Ernest Hemmingway said ““Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” I’m still to learn, hence me writing a blogpost about the introducing and explaining the MeasureCamp Swear Jar. Now the best way to write a blogpost without actually writing a blogpost is to get others to do it for you. So I got in touch with a few of the attendees and asked for their favourite/most hated examples.
Something occurred to me today that gets on my goat, although I don’t know quite how to form it into a suitably pithy phrase! Something like the following phrase is often heard, when people are talking about ‘big data’ and getting the ‘full customer journey’ by combining online & offline data:
Simply combine the different sources of data, using a common key, such as the visitor ID…
When what they should be saying is more along the lines of:
“Good luck finding the same, consistent unique ID (that isn’t personally identifiable info) recorded in two separate systems! If you’re lucky enough to have one, it’s likely to rely on the users logging in – which means your segment is immediately confined to users who are already engaged, rather than the prospects that you’re usually most interested in”
It’s a metric I love to hate; a lot of people take it with a pinch of salt. The issues come when someone converts it into an indication of people. Due to the multiple devices that people use, multiple computers in multiple locations unique visitors is not an indication of people but more an indication of device id’s.
A term that I came across many years ago and was used in a number of reports before visits became commonplace. This term I think will actually come back into fashion with the app generation where webpages potentially no longer become the norm, and you get you’re content in front of someone eyes and it doesn’t require a specific visit to somewhere!
Used mainly to describe an unfocused vague desire to get customers to do something via some sort of unstructured marketing without a clear goal, target or measurement. The word in itself is not an issue; it’s the fact that often it’s used without knowing what engagement is really wanted or how it will be achieved.
Grab the low hanging fruit
Basically, unless I’m in an orchard, I don’t want to hear this wishy washy agency speak. What does it mean? What fruit? I don’t want fruit, I want to you to deliver value and realise goals. I prefer someone to be explicit: “We are going to target quick wins initially – these include x, y & z . These will be measured by … Etc.”
Push the edge of the envelope
Again, what a load of drivel. It means nothing. Say what you mean – are you intending to be innovative? Creative? Controversial? Be specific about what tools and techniques you are using, why and what they will achieve.
Web analytics implementation
Again, this is often mis-used: an implementation isn’t just adding default tracking code to webpages. An implementation is defining business needs, mapping tagging requirements to support these & configuring the web analytics tool(s) to deliver business requirements.
Beloved phrase of politicans and reporters everywhere, it is not a web analytics term
It is such an easy habit to fall into and I know this one will trip a few people up. More importantly, we want to know what you think.
There will be swear jars littered around the venue in which fines will be deposited for use, or misuse, of any of the above as well as anything you deem to be improper Analytics speak. The fine will be £1 a swear. Like the Bureau of Guardians from the Russian Novel We, we will rely on attendees to monitor their co-attendees, though in a far less sinister manner, and call out any improper verbal conduct be it in general conversation or on stage. As a concept, unconferences are designed to encourage discussions & exchange of ideas and I feel this exercise is in keeping with that concept.
“Where will the funds raised go?” I hear you ask. As, I have been informed, the bar tab is more than adequate we have a more noble intention for the fines. So we thought the money should go to charity instead. Peter has made an executive decision to be selfish and nominated Tommy’s as the charity. He is running in the Royal Parks Half Marathon in 2 weeks and, in addition to be being unfit, needs to raise funds in support of them. <Tommy’s are an excellent charity funding research into stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage, this is supporting a good friend of mine who suffered from a stillbirth a year ago – Peter>
What’s nicer than contributing to charity? Being able to make someone else contribute. But please, this is not about ridiculing or criticising people for what they say but about understanding and learning how the jargon we use is more a hindrance than a help, what we should be saying instead and of course having some fun.
Partly because it’s used to end the discussion not continue it: “Well best practice is…” so that’s that. Partly because there is no “one, size fits all solution” but mostly because it will ensure at least £50 from Peter’s own pocket.
In closing we would love to hear your contributions to the “list” in the comments below. Until tomorrow.
Author: Ashley Lindley
Position: SEO Manager, Starcom MediaVest