According to the popular saying there are “lies, damned lies and statistics”. Nevertheless, the truth is that numbers do not lie. They can be misstated, misrepresented, and misunderstood but they cannot lie.
Misstatements are most often used to create the impression that the numbers indicate something other than what they actually say. 40% approval does not equal 60% disapproval. 52% of the votes cast is not the same as 52% of the electorate.
Misrepresentation is the active presentation of numbers to advance a false premise. Perhaps the most memorable instance in the recent past was the falsehood that leaving the EU would “save” Great Britain £350 million per week and that Boris Johnson would put that money into the NHS. The sad truth is that Brexit is probably costing the UK £350 million a week and Boris has, strangely enough, not increased the NHS budget by £350 million a week.
Similarly, a 1% increase in interest rates in mathematical terms would be (say) an increase from 10% to 10.1% when in fact the rate will increase from 10% to 11% (a 10% increase).
Misunderstandings are most common. In business, the difference between mark-up and margin. A 25% mark up equals a 20% margin. Profit can mean anything from gross profit (sales less cost of sales), to EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization), Net profit before tax (gross profit less expenses, excluding taxation), Net profit ( net profit less taxation), Retained earnings (profit after taxation less distributions). And within each of these are the paradises inhabited by chartered accountants and tax advisors.
Many countries require selling prices to include all relevant taxes to protect the consumer from predatory pricing although it boggles the mind that we still fall for the ad that promises we will “save” money by spending money.
One of my services is sourcing traffic for clients. I have some tried and tested reliable vendors to whom I can turn when the need arises. Once in a while, I will test out a new vendor on my own programs. With online traffic the first things to eliminate are bot clicks, followed by human click farms and I invest in systems to track and analyze the traffic I provide from source to destination.
Yesterday, I started a new campaign to test a vendor I have never used before and knew immediately I checked my dashboard that things were not ok. When I dig a little deeper, I see the system has flagged almost 29% of the traffic from that vendor as suspicious and when I dig a little deeper, I can see that 95% of the suspicious traffic is coming from bots and I even have the IP address and registered owners.
Naturally, I will be asking my vendor to deliver the contracted traffic in both quantity and quality. Naturally, I won’t use that vendor again. Thankfully, I have chosen to pay for and install the highest level of tracking and monitoring available to ensure that I am able to fulfill my promises to my clients.
The auditor’s motto is “Trust, and verify” It hasn’t let me down yet.
If you need to track and analyze traffic to and through your site, your offers and communications, I recommend ClickMagick. This is what I use and I couldn’t be happier. Click here for the free 1 hour tracking guide.