8 Myths About Marketing Metrics
1. We Must Have Real Time Data
No. It’s not. There’s a big difference between “real time data” and “right time data”… You must first understand the speed of decision making in our company. If you make real time decisions, then you should probably get real time data. But, if you’re like most small business owners, you make decisions over 10 or even 30 days so it’s completely ok to go with a longer data cycle.
Real time data is very expensive. You pay a substantial amount of money to big data analytics vendors for a sometimes questionable value. It is also very expensive from a decision making perspective because if you have realtime data you’ll push to make sure every single person gets it.
Be realistic about your organization’s decision making ability and setup your metrics around that number.
2. Fix The Bounce Rate = Sell More Stuff
This is the biggest myth of them all. Bounce rate is really useful for finding things you’re not great at like poor ads, bad copy, poorly designed landing pages, poorly targeted ads, missing calls to action, etc. The real magic is figuring out if the problem is at the source (ads) or the designation (your site).
Please stop obsessing over bounce rate. Lowering the bounce rate only helps you target your ads properly and optimize your landing pages. After that, its time to focus on the rest of the process; behavior metrics like pages per visit, on the visitor flow report, on the checkout abandonment rate and on average order size.
3. Social Media Likes Prove Awesomeness
Nope. It doesn’t take very long to figure out that your Likes metric drives zero economic value or cost savings. Likes are more of a fleeting hello. Its what you do after that first hello that creates business value. Focus on that.
Focus on buying targeted impressions and you’ll reap revenue driving rewards!
4. First (1st) Search Result Ranking = SEO Success
Not true. Search results are no longer standardized but personalized. Even hyper-personalized. So stop obsessing about the #1 keyword ranking. For purely SEO, start with using crawl depth/rate, inbound links, and growth in your target key phrases. Then graduate start looking at search traffic by site content or types of content.
Measureing visits and conversions in aggregate first and then segmented by keywords (or even keyword clusters) will allow you to show real impact. You can then move to longterm acquisition quality by focusing on metrics like lifetime value.
5. We Must Always Reduce The CPC (Cost Per Click)
Wrong again. Lets say you have a stock portfolio with an online stock brokerage service. When you trade stocks you’ll incur a per trade fee from using that service, usually $10. Would you measure the success of your trades based on cost per trade? Of course not, thats insane. You will measure the impact on the bottom line as a result of the trades. As you buy paid search tools and hire smart people/agencies, measure whether you are making more profit. And measure whether, over a long period of time, you’re able to increase the lifetime value of PPC acquired customers.
At the end of the day it’s about generating new business and more revenue. Focus on that and you’ll win.
6. We Need More Page Views
Maybe... but, odds are you don't. If you’re in the content only business, stop focusing on a transient metric like page views. Focus instead on your sites ability to deliver such value to visitors that they return again and again (and pay you)!
If you’re in a the lead generation business and do the “lets publish an inforgraphic on designers vs. coders to get us a billion page views” thing, measure success on the number of leads received, not how “viral” the inforgraphic went.
If you’re in the ecommerce business, the only reason to care about page views is to understand how to create the most optimal shopping experience on your site. In the end, your visitors should making purchases, not jumping from page to page.
7. We Need Impressions, Stat!
You can imagine how tenuous the connection to impact is for “impressions” of banner ads. Did they really see them? Instead, buy engagement. Ill be a touch more delighted if you evolve to measuring clicks on those ads because at least that’s a signal that someone saw something and clicked on it. And, If you’re willing to go to clicks, do one better and measure visits.
8. Demographics & Psychographics. That’s The Focus
This proves that we are still recovering from piss poor marketing habits created by TV and other forms of old-school distribution.
This is a legacy from the old advertising channels: “we want to reach 39 year old single moms; what TV channel should we advertise on?” However, we would have no idea if single moms were even remotely interested in our service/product. Why? Because we had no intent. We do the same on the web. The click through rates prove the poorness of that strategy. Intent beats demographics and psychographics. Always.
Marketers Ruin Everything
I love this quote from social media rock star @GaryVee. It's true! Once we find something that works, we jack with it until ultimately, it no longer works. Take a look back at email marketing, direct mail, etc. Remember when a 30% conversion was the baseline? Now we're jumping up and down if we crack a 2% conversion rate!
Fear not. Stop treating social media and other networks like distribution tools and start adding value to your audience. The old guard is dying... For those of us who want to be successful today, we've got to stop looking at "ROI" of everything. I'm sick of hearing small business owners ask the question "what's the ROI going to be?". Who cares! Your customers are on Facebook, they are on Twitter and they are probably having conversations there that you could be involved in. Better yet - they are probably asking questions that you have the answers to.
Take of your ROI and Metrics goggles. Start acting human again. Marketing gets really, really hard when you try to put a dollar value on every single engagement. Stop it! Be helpful, get involved with your audience and provide value and you will start to see your company grow like never before! Stop driving every decision with metrics and data and start treating your audience like the humans they are.
Thanks for reading :)
Do you have a marketing question or myth that you'd like to share? Put it in the comments below or join me on twitter @jonathanhinshaw - I'd love to hear it.