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What Search Marketing Analysts Could Learn From Sports Analysts

On the way to work one morning, I was listening to the Philadelphia local Sports Radio Station, WIP SportsRadio, that detailed individual statistics don’t really matter as much as WINS and LOSSES. In fact, some of the radio hosts were animatedly opposed to statistics as a false representation of what they see on the field. They also talked about how statistics do not represent the athletes true skill set or mindset during the game. For example, you could be a Home Run King, but also the leader in strikeouts and be the worst 1st baseman in the field and lose games for the team.

Here is a great quote from a MLB Hall of Fame Pitcher, Tom Seaver: "If you dwell on statistics, you get shortsighted. If you aim for consistency, the numbers will be there at the end."

So that radio talk show got me thinking about how we can relate that mentality to Search Marketing and Web Analytics in general. Here is my view on how they are the same.

Similarities of a Baseball Analyst and a Search Marketing Strategist:

Typical Baseball Analyst: Most of them have played baseball for years, worked their way up the ranks and have the uncanny ability to provide insights about the game, what’s going on in the players heads and what the audience is interested in hearing better than someone who just reports on what is happening.

Search Marketing Strategist: (In my opinion) Most SEM’s have spent years "doing the actual work", providing cutting edge best practices, understand web analytics, understanding the client’s business goals and objectives, dealing with multiple clients, presenting high level plans, etc… Over time, that person (should) be promoted to a higher level where they develop the strategic plan, organize a team around them and make the client happy and give them reports and ideas they want to hear.

Too Much Data Syndrome: I have often blogged about how there is too much data in analytics and too many evangelicals and analytics companies are pushing more and more nifty bells and whistles and putting a high price on them. However, with the sinking economy, increased CPCs and many companies going "in house" for the PPC Marketing, how can one afford the time to spend 5 hours comparing apples to oranges when all that matters is:

  1. What is working?= Wins
  2. What is not working? = Losses

In conclusion:
According to, Baseball Statistics were not fully understood until 1951 and over time, (allegedly) more and more Sports Analysts use statistics as more of information vehicle than what is really happening in the "Winning" Column. I am not saying statistics are a bad thing, they are a crucial and certain metrics are more important than others and have and will always be a necessity to help make intelligent decisions.

However, the purpose of this post is to highlight on the fact that if you starting judging your clients or business success on a single statistic, you may not realize that your statistically best home run hitter often drops fly balls in the outfield and may cost you the World Series.

Filed under: Web Analytics

3 Responses to "What Search Marketing Analysts Could Learn From Sports Analysts"

  1. Site Metrics says:

    Maybe more analysts should become experts in their field, have a breadth of experience and actually know what they are talking about before they start ‘comentating’ as it were.

  2. Greg Meyers says:

    SiteMetrics, can you explain further about your comment?

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