Ten tips for successful online passive measurements
Mark Schiefelbein has written an article for the German magazine Planung & Analyse, offering the 10 essential tips for online passive measurement. Of course we can not exclude you from this precious information, so here’s the english version! (The original version can be found at the website of Planung & Analyse, and also in print version in their magazine)
1. Provide incentives for installation and activity
Participating in online passive measurement requires the respondent to install a small application on their PC or smartphone. It only takes a minute, but is potentially sensitive and needs to remain active. The best incentives therefore provide both an installation premium as well as a monthly payout to assure the tracking application is kept active.
2. Be clear about privacy
Respondents will rightly be concerned about privacy. Instead of avoiding the subject, be up front about what is being tracked and for how long, and put the respondent in control by giving them the possibility to pause or end tracking when needed.
3. Recruit a quality panel
Passive online measurement deals with large amounts of data. A panel size of 10.000 and up, tracked 24x7 is not uncommon. It’s therefore tempting to assume that you will always be able to filter out the right data. Don’t! Get the basics right, stats don’t make up for a skewed panel.
4. Play around with the data
One of the strengths of passive measurement is the enormous wealth of objective data. Unlike surveys, every user action is tracked without the respondent having been led down a certain path by questions. This leads to many hidden gems in the data that are waiting for you to uncover. So have fun with the data, try multiple approaches and play different angles.
5. Expect the expected
When boiled down to the top level, many results of passive online measurement confirm what you already know. This simply proves that the method is accurate and valuable as the results have now been proven correct.
6. But also be flexible
In passive online measurement, it is not always very clear from the get-go where to look. So have a starting point, but don’t hold on to this too tight. Different metrics will tell different stories. Results vary over time and target audiences. And every additional insight can be valuable for your customer.
7. Reserve enough budget for analysis
With passive online measurement you can collect vast amounts of data at low costs. Extensive analysis is required to unlock the full potential of the data. Make sure you nudge the budget more towards analysis.
8. Include some quantitative and also some qualitative analyses
Passive online measurement provides a wealth of data. One strength is the sheer volume, which leads to interesting conclusions when looked at from a quantitative perspective. The data also contains an unheard of level of detail, which is invaluable for qualitative approaches like profiling, personas or storytelling.
9. Choose the right classification
Online data is vast and needs to be classified carefully to be meaningful. So think through which sites to assign to which category, which search terms to relate to which interest or which campaigns to count against which vertical.
10. Have a geek on the team
Running an online survey does not require technology skills. You can always get someone to do the implementation for you. Analysing passive online data does. You therefore need someone with a firm grasp of online infrastructure as part of the core analysis team.