Thursday, May 28, 2009
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes makes an interesting point (in the short story "Silver Blaze") about the conspicuousness of zeros in the data. They can, as in this story, lead to interesting investigations and important conclusions.
However, in the busy world we all live in, they can often be overlooked, as they generally do not appear in most analysis, due to the fact that they are by their nature non-events.
I was reminded of this in a conversation with Mark DiMaurizio regarding visual clickthrough analysis in email. Often, in looking at tabular or chart views of email clickthrough analysis, we will only see the links that were clicked on. If zero links were recorded for a click, either due to a technical error such as a broken link, or due to that call to action not engaging the audience at all, that is very valuable information that is being missed.
A very valuable and insightful question to ask whenever looking at any marketing data is "what is NOT being shown" as the insights based on absence from the data can often be as valuable as insights that the data itself shows.
As we look more and more to analyze our efforts in social media, and the efforts and forums that are driving interest in our solutions, we need to keep asking deeper questions of our data in order to draw out the insights from it.