Brandt Dainow misses the point and furthers the un-education of the masses in his "Best Website Metrics" article this week. His goal is sound: to truly rate success and failure on the web, one must measure everything simultaneously. Focusing on one metric at a time yields nothing, hence the need for Integrated Path Analysis.
Unfortunately, Brandt's goal of "end-to-end" analysis falls short because, well, he's *starting* at the end by beginning his analysis when someone clicks on an ad. Why did they click on that ad? Was that *single* ad impression the sole deciding factor that lead them to click and then be comfortable purchasing from said vendor?
I doubt it.
Chances are, they had seen other advertising for this vendor, and all of that *in total* added up to the customer's comfort level being high enough to move forward with the purchase. Heck, they might have seen the ad last week, and visited the site by typing in the URL today to purchase. No clicks to track happened, but a sale did. That's still success, right?
Branding matters, folks. It always has.
Ad clicks are an over-used metric, and a horrible spot to start analyzing most campaigns. After all, when was the last time we measured the success of a billboard by counting the number of cars that crashed into it each day?