Click by Bill Tancer

On a tip from a colleague I recently read "Click" by Bill Tancer, and must say it belongs on every data-driven marketer's shelf. Though many of the case studies therein are of how large amounts of data can be used to "predict" (read: arbitrage) some pretty large things, such as forecasting...

  • Winners of reality show competitions
  • Tipping points in musicians' careers
  • Market share trade-offs between social networks

...there are a lot of other examples of how smaller, more tactical and hence perhaps more readily-actionable things can be done to both monitor and mold marketplaces (including planning and optimizing strategies and campaigns).

Some of the juicier bits:

If I could place my vote for Web 3.0, the need I see created by the consumer-generated content coming from Web 2.0 is a method to filter all of that information for a similarity of viewpoint, reputation and accuracy. Until that occurs, all of this content faces the prospect of becoming a collection of noise that we may not bother to rely on in the future.

We had great success at directionally predicting company revenues. While the results were in no way definitive, any edge that a trader can get in guessing the market's direction on a specific issue can be an extremely valuable tool.

...while Innovators might appear to be the target for a marketer's interest, it's the Early Adopters who have proven to be the catalyst by which a new product moves from being an exciting innovation to dominating the market by achieving mainstream adoption.

Perfect information is a theory; the true state of perfect information is unattainable in real life.

Isn't this technology, which has so much potential to bring us together as a society by improving our communication, in some cases actually isolating us?

My only peeve if any, is a minor detail in the writing style. It's written such that each chapter literally closes with a segue into the next. After the first couple chapters the predictability of that becomes a bit of a distraction. No doubt there was a reason for that, though. I'd wager it was to position the book as one that might be a single-sitting read. Personally, I don't like to read anything that's a real book in a single sitting. I'm more likely to pick it up on and off over a period of days, weeks or even months, taking however much time I have for it to really absorb its content.

Anyway, the other important thing to note in advance is of course that the book serves significantly as a promotional piece for Hitwise. That's not at all its main purpose I believe, but it's important to keep in mind. I don't think running out and grabbing a Hitwise license goes hand-in-hand with loving this book, but the book itself does help illustrate very well how Hitwise can and should be used by firms who invest diligently in online analytics (and the people who know how to think about it).

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