Summary of Ask, Measure, Learn

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  • Analytical
  • Applicable
  • For Beginners


At last, here’s a “big data” social media book that tells it like it is. From the first chapter, data analytics experts Lutz Finger and Soumitra Dutta dispense with the breathless cheerleading that characterizes books in this genre. By pointing out the challenges, flaws, limitations and shortcomings of big data analytics and social media marketing – along with their tremendous potential – Finger and Dutta earn trust and interest from the start. This isn’t exactly a “how to” book on measurement, but it will help you consider what to collect and measure from your social media activity. You can use this guide to separate fantasy from reality and to zero in on effective social media marketing strategies. Though the book suffers some structural flaws, the writing itself is solid. getAbstract recommends the authors’ advice to marketing managers, advertising professionals, and anyone seeking to understand social media analytics and marketing techniques.

About the Authors

Lutz Finger, director of analytics at LinkedIn, and Soumitra Dutta, professor and dean at Cornell Universityfounded the data firm Fisheye Analytics. Their “Ask, Measure, Learn” system helps organizations manage data and leverage social media.



“Be Clear About the Question to Ask”

Your social media activities promise to generate a lot of data about people’s online behaviors: the sites they visit and their searches, friends, associates, “likes,” buying patterns, aspirations, and more. Big data seems to be a dreamscape for marketers. The supposed potential of predictive analysis of social media data suggests that your firm might come to know about almost every potential customer and might have easy, inexpensive access to each one – a path to delivering the right message at the right time. Yet, without focus, big data yields little valuable guidance.

Most organizations produce too much data to store safely, let alone analyze effectively. Your firm needs to reduce its data to information that’s useful and relevant. Then it must analyze this information by way of seeking answers to specific, well-crafted business questions. You must ask actionable, quantifiable queries that are linked to your strategic goals and desired results. Generally, companies use experts to develop these questions, because even carefully selected data must be analyzed properly, just as precious metals require mining, refining and processing...

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