Digital jargon busting pt.1

Red apple

The digital sector has loads of jargon, let’s bust that jargon wide open. I’m a proud Yorkshireman, I say it how it is so I’m going to attempt to clarify some of the words, phrases and acronyms used by my fellow professionals…

  • Attribution: One of my all time favorite topics. Attribution is the allocation of value. In digital terms it often relates to the method of attributing value to a specific channel. In a simple world the channel is the method someone uses to get to a website to do a thing. Linear attribution which is the easiest and most comfortable version of attribution to understand basically means the value of a visit is attributed in a linear fashion to one channel, often the channel last used (last-click attribution). An example of attribution in a non-digital world?
    • I walked to a shop and bought an apple for 50p. The shopkeeper can attribute that 50p to my feet. Hooray, well done feet.
  • Non-linear attribution or multi-channel attribution: It takes into account the journey and touch points someone might take to reach a particular goal. We spend lots of time online, influenced by many channels (what is a channel again? It’s a method of getting to a website or a method of communicating a particular message to drive a desired action). This all sounds very jargony so here’s another non-digital apple example.
    • I saw a poster for an apple, then a friend told me about these amazing apples in the local shop, the next day the shop assistant dropped a flyer off at my house and I finally thought it’s about time I tried one of these damn apples so I walked to the shop and bought an apple for 50p. This example describes what you might experience digitally; a display banner (poster), social media advocacy (a friend sharing their love of apples), a targeted paid ad (flyer) and finally going direct to the source with your own two feet (direct visit). Where should the value be attributed? All touch points have played a part and that is what multi-channel attribution is all about, determining the value and importance of the different touch points. In my opinion this shopkeeper has spent too much marketing budget on posters and flyers for a 50p apple but if the customer then buys apples for life it will eventually pay off.
  • Big Data: I’m getting this one in early, it’s generally a meaningless overused term. There’s lots of data available and the amount of data is growing exponentially. The origin of the term is unknown although just Googling that may throw up some contradictions to this. There is so much data that it is difficult to process the scale of certain data sets and data processing is a growing challenge across all aspects of digital. A better way to think of data is to use the phrases ‘useful data’, ‘meaningful data’,’intelligent data’. If you have a question what data is likely to give you the most useful answer to that question.
    • Example: Who is visiting my website? You can collect data on age, gender, location, interests, motivations, relationship to other customers. The scale of the data to answer this question could be big. Most of it is meaningless unless a particular type of customer or visitor meets the objective you want them to.
  • Customer Experience: There is an obvious explanation for this, the complete experience a customer has with a brand or website, this can last forever. The not so obvious explanation is that it can refer to the experience of a specific journey trying to reach a specific goal like booking a holiday online or looking for travel direction on Google maps. A customer experience can make us feel good or bad or indifferent for many reasons. When it feels good it tends to feel effortless, like contactless payments. When it feels bad it can feel like wading through treacle, like trying to cancel a subscription to the Times. CX experts try to understand customer needs first before matching an experience to meet and then go beyond expectations. Where possible always go beyond expectations, generosity should be encouraged and doesn’t necessarily have to cost anything other than a bit of imagination.

Let me know if there is any digital jargon that you’d like busting or if the above was helpful. There’ll be more to come.

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