Ask, Measure, Learn
Using Social Media Analytics to Understand and Influence Customer Behavior
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: January 2014
Pages: 338

You can measure practically anything in the age of social media, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for, collecting mountains of data won’t yield a grain of insight. This non-technical guide shows you how to extract significant business value from big data with Ask-Measure-Learn, a system that helps you ask the right questions, measure the right data, and then learn from the results.

Authors Lutz Finger and Soumitra Dutta originally devised this system to help governments and NGOs sift through volumes of data. With this book, these two experts provide business managers and analysts with a high-level overview of the Ask-Measure-Learn system, and demonstrate specific ways to apply social media analytics to marketing, sales, public relations, and customer management, using examples and case studies.

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Worthy of a Read

By textureweb

from Halifax, NS

About Me Designer, Developer


  • Accurate
  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written


  • Bad Data Bar Charts

Best Uses

  • Expert
  • Intermediate

Comments about oreilly Ask, Measure, Learn:

I think the photo I have of the copy given to me speaks volumes of the value of this book.
To be clear I consider myself a digital marketing professional. Part of what I do is advise people/clients/dogs (@WilburBasset) about the best way to utilize social media. Because of the role I have, I try to do as much research and learning as possible, but sometimes, nothing is better than sitting down with a book (to me paper still trumps ebooks for notes) to spend an hour or so every day to read up on.

There is a lot of things in this book that I knew and have relayed, however this book allows me to reference the anecdotes in a formal way as the book itself has a great amount of reference material cited. This is known as footnotes, but I think younger folk might think of this as search. BTW not only is there footnotes on pages but a reference section sorted by chapter. Someone took the time to understand the failings of a lot of reference books and integrate the use of online references with paper.

The opening of this book is the best I have seen on any subject. The book explains the theory and needs behind the actual content. It also describes the content not in an index, but in a sorted way so that you can use the book as a manager, a data scientist, someone who wants just the lowdown, or a data novice. The recommendations are ones that fit with me, browse and identify first the chapters you NEED to use, and then start the process of how you want to absorb this information.

For me, I am first looking at those related to marketing, but of course I have to look at all chapters as a reviewer.

The content is well put together and well done. I really think that this is something that professionals need to absorb and own. For those who are novices or not enough time, I would say – lean on those who know what they know and are eager to know new information. This book is also one, which is not one that is good for now and not for next year. I think that this is one that will be built upon with newer additions and also a defining book on the subject of social media. I found myself dreaming at night about the subjects I read. Maybe my life could be more interesting, but it shows that the information is not 'over your head', nor irrelevant.

The caveat to this book? A lot of the bar graphs do not differentiate the data sets in terms of colour enough as they are in grey. Indeed some have the key and the bars, which should be at least shades of grey, all coming out in the same colour. I think the eBook version which you can get when you purchase the book should have the colour data charts, but in the book you cannot use them well. The copy however does back up the charts and the charts in a way are used to visualize the copy, but just not in a helpful way.

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