There is more to a march than numbers.
The messages, the mood, the passion and its lasting impact are all vital.
Yesterday's independence rally in Edinburgh was a modest and largely good-humoured start to a series of demonstrations leading up to the 2014 referendum.
Many of the arguments were well put and the speakers spanned a commendably wide cross-section of Scottish society.
But there is no ignoring the fact that the turn-out was lower than many expected.
That does not mean that the cause is lost or that future marches will not attract more support.
It does mean that the Yes campaign – which was not the organiser of yesterday's march but perhaps should have been – has work to do to encourage more people to connect with this debate.
That will involve articulating a compelling narrative around independence and injecting real passion into a debate described by both sides as the most important to have taken place in Scotland for 300 years.
For undertandable reasons, much of the message put forward by those supporting independence has tried to avoid scaring the horses. It is true that the votes of those who already support independence are in the bag. It is the large number of undecideds who represent the biggest potential for the Yes campaign.
But it requires courage and ambition to take that step in 2014 - and a belief that real, transformational change will follow.
The Green MSP Patrick Harvie touched on it in his speech yesterday, when he said waverers would only be converted if they believed independence – while not a panacea – would deliver a radical change.
A more Scottish version of the status quo would not tempt people to take the plunge, he said.
Over the coming months it falls on the Yes campaign to make that argument.
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