Back about a decade ago I worked on the server business for IBM. The market trend at that time in the business was all in the direction of cheaper PC-based machines that ran on Intel chips. Dell, who were used to selling on a stance of value and used to selling directly, dominated the market. My client (who later became my friend) decided we should do as Dell was doing and try to sell servers "directly off the page."
After we started running ads, my client told me a story. His boss asked him how the ads were pulling. He replied, "sales are up 400%." What he later told his boss was that the ads sold eight machines, up from two from the previous week. A 400% gain.
Of late, it seems to me, we have had a proliferation of data. And, more to the point, a proliferation of people who analyze data and interpolate out of that data what is called "business intelligence." Most often the data is about as meaningful as my server example above. It's not exactly a lie but it's not exactly something you should or can learn from.
I think about this when I think about all the effort clients make to post videos on their You Tube pages or the time and money they spend creating Facebook pages. All to get a dozen or two eyeballs of dubious value. I'm sure those You Tube videos that gain 136 views in a month are ballasted by data that says something like "but we're trending up 11% week over week."
That might be true. But what does it mean?