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The jungle of metrics and the measurability of digital

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The jungle of metrics and the measurability of digital

The overtaking Disney against Netflix. Among others, we also wrote about it, in the margin of the data on subscribers to paid streaming platforms in Italy.

Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding who has misled most. In the financial statements, in English, we speak of subscriptions not of subscribers. The overtaking of Disney therefore is related to the number of subscriptions and not, as erroneously interpreted by many, of subscribers. Of course, not having the company data, but only those presented in the financial statements, it is hard to say how many subscribers have more than one subscription, as could be the case with those who subscribe to both Disney + and Hulu or ESPN +, to stay at Disney, but there is no doubt that it is different metrics. It is therefore certain that Disney has, at the end of June 2022, a greater number of subscriptions, but it could equally be that Netflix instead maintains the primacy in terms of the number of subscribers.

This is an oversight, for which we naturally apologize, which is much more common than you think. For example one account is the number of visits to a particular website and another is the number of visitorswhich could be significantly lower.


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It is not just a matter of understanding the correctness of the terminology to be used case by case but above all of metrics, their value and meaning.

Compared to traditional media, one of the advantages of digital is, or perhaps it would be better to say it would be, the measurability. An aspect that obviously interests advertising investors, marketers and communicators in particular, who want to know as precisely as possible when they actually make their investment. The famous ROI.

For example, to stay in the world of television, in the broadest sense, only recently, finally, Auditel introduced the “total digital audience” and the “unique code” of video commercials, a sort of plaque that allows you to track every single advertising film enjoyed on all platforms and on all devices, whereas previously the measurement was partial. New way of measuring the television audience, and the viewing of the commercials, which seems to be still to be refined, let’s say, as shown by the data relating to the audience of the first day of the Serie A football championship.

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In an ancient world, single-channel or almost, the measurements were paradoxically rudimentary, but simple and shared: the share of the Auditel, the copies of the newspaper, which formed the basis for other advertising measurements. We all agreed on what to measure, even if the data were, as it were, statistically inferred, and not directly derived from the target’s behaviors. Today, digital advertising is faced with a more complicated control panel than that of a Boing 747: in real time it sees the view counter that goes up, the number of those who click, those who like, those who buy. It turns on the engines on one target, turns them off on another, accelerates on that particular audience that suddenly turned out to be “aerodynamic” towards conversion. The search for the perfect investment in the perfect consumer is a bit like the Holy Grail of marketing: when it seems to be close to its discovery, something goes – inevitably – wrong, as Gianluca Diegoli very well explains.

It happens very often in the analysis of conversations on social networks where, beyond a whole series of other possible considerations, very often, too often, the potential scope of the message is confusedthe so-called “opportunity to be seen” that the best social media listening / monitoring platforms provide as data, compared to the actual range, to the viewsor impression, if you prefer, that that particular content actually had, as we always emphasize when we conduct this type of analysis.

These are aspects on which it is important, and urgent, to work to resolve them. Otherwise the advantage of digital could continue to provide numbers in many cases, in the negative sense of the term.

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