Measurement, Metrics or Analytics: Which is it?

At conferences and in conversations with internal communicators, the topic of measurement is coming up more and more often.

I have noticed people, myself included, using the terms measurement, metrics and analytics interchangeably.

These conversions are always about putting some numbers to your intranet and Outlook email communications efforts, but while these terms are related, they do not mean the same thing.

Measurement is simply the action of measuring something. Internal communicators are often near ground zero in this department.

Metrics are the result of measurement, the standard measures you use to monitor performance. Sometimes internal communicators have some basic metrics, say intranet page views or, when given marketing tools to work with, maybe email opens and click through.

Analytics has become more of a buzzword, if only because a number of business intelligence tools use the term in the product name (Google Analytics for example) . Analytics can be thought of as the systematic analysis of your metrics and measurement data.

You might think of the tool you use to do your measurement as an analytics tool, which it should be. At the same time, know that the objective of analytics is the analysis and insights to be found in the data.

Basic metrics allow you to report on your activity, but often won’t give you much in the way of insights.

Analytics tools (which includes your Excel spreadsheet) should provide for the discovery of meaningful patterns within the data, and ideally utilize data visualization (OK, big word meaning charts and graphs) to communicate those insights.

So let’s wrap it up in a sentence.

Your measurement provides metrics and your analytics yields the insights to improve your employee communications efforts.

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