Analyze this: If the tree falls in the forrest… 

 January 21, 2015

By  Pascal Depuhl

… and no one is there to hear it …

You’ve heard the question that’s been around for centuries: “If  tree falls in the forrest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Do you know the answer? Let me rephrase the question into our online world: “If you post content online and no one is there to read, does it make an impact?

Back to the tree. The correct answer—at least according to quantum physicists and philosophers—is “No.”, since sound is defined as our sense of hearing translating the disturbance in the air, caused by the falling tree, into sound. Ergo if no one’s around there’s no sound.

Fast forward to today. We all create content, be that as simple as a Facebook post or Tweet or as complex and a blog series or a pod cast. How do you figure out what kind of disturbance that content is creating, if no ones listening? Do you measure the impact of your posts falling in the online forrest?

… does it make a sound?

Everyone is creating content” you say “so am I not doing the right thing by writing the occasional blog post, posting a picture on Instagram once in a while and saying something on Facebook?” I interviewed a long time blogger friend of mine a few weeks ago and asked him, if it’s important to blog. “Don’t blog” he had said “if you don’t have anything to share.” But you say I DO have something to share, ok so answer me the real question: Is it effective. In order to figure that out you need two things:

  1. You need to know what you’re trying to achieve (who you audience is, what action you’d like them to take, …)
  2. You need some kind of measurement (How many the people your targeting are consuming your content, …)

I’m not gonna talk about what your web content should achieve, other than to say in the end, it needs to translate into sales for …

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… your business. This post is going to talk about how to measure your effectiveness of your content. I also don’t want to get into all the technical details of analytics here (although I’m happy to answer any questions you have in the comments).

[BTW We’re talking about how photographers use analytics all this week on ASMP’s blog and Thursday you can read how real time analytics helped me figure out, that I’ve been barking up the wrong proverbial tree—so to speak—for over a decade (here’s a sneak peak). The post that made the difference for me was on baggage fees. No. Seriously. Baggage fees.]


Back to analytics in general. Analytics can be as simple as looking at which posts get the most likes or which tweets get favored the most, or they can be as complex as embedding code on your webpages that allow you to watch people read your blog in real time, it’s a little freaky to be honest.

Analytics can help you figure out that people come to read one article and then leave your site (Google measures this as your bounce rate). Analytics can also help you figure out a way to stop this bounce as well:

Use analytics to change
Analytics helped me to cut my bounce rate of 75% to the mid 40s in a few days.


Analytics can help you see, that although you feel like it’s crazy to spend time every week to hand tweet hundreds of “thank you mentions” to every new follower for #ThankYouThursday, it turns out not to be. You wanna guess on which days my organic impressions on Twitter spike as high as 10+ fold?

How twitter analytics help

But more importantly analytics can see which posts get traction and which ones don’t. Which posts get picked up and read by your target audience and which ones don’t. Analytics let you measure your success online. Do you use them? I think you should and if you listen very closely – I think I can hear the clicks falling onto your online content …

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    Pascal Depuhl

    Miami product photographer, video producer, cinematographer and chief mindchanger at Photography by Depuhl I love to share the knowledge I've gained over the past two decades. Catching light in motion.