This article was written as part of the SEMrush Big Blogging Contest.
One of the things that going digital does to any brand, is that it suddenly gives access to a lot of data. Data, that opens up a world of possibilities.
Possibilities which had not earlier been anticipated or even thought of. Somehow, it propels teams to start thinking in terms of achieving certain data metrics … and that seems to justify the sheer obsession with data.
However, in data lies a certain trap. Let me walk you through how a typical marketing team approaches data.
Measure & Monitor
At the start, the team starts collecting data and reporting this on a daily basis. The fact that data is being collected and monitored allows for these teams to make pretty graphs and bar charts which get discussed in weekly or monthly meetings.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for #measurement. It’s just that what do you wish to measure is much more important than the fact that you are collecting data. I have already written about this in the past, having defined a simple Success-Failure framework for measurements.
However, when I see the work being done by most teams in India, it drives me up the wall. The sheer volume of data, and sometimes the lack of understanding the context can confuse the data analyst. What happens next is just Analysis Paralysis.
This is a state of over analysing data to such an extent that no action is taken and its being discussed to no end. The data ends up getting regurgitated from excel sheets to powerpoint to emails, but no real action is taken.
It’s not that everyone keeps an eye on the more important metrics. If you are looking at a list of smart and helpful series of insights, then do go through this list of analytics insights published on the SEMRush Blog. Keep these aside for a minute, and try and see how tracking each of them would really impact your business.
Most teams, don’t necessarily do that, and that’s what bugs me. Here are some of the metrics that really get my goat.
Yes. It’s something that you would look at and obsess over. Wouldn’t you? Think again. It’s a subjective metric. What would you say to a high bounce rate for a landing page that’s giving you a high conversion rate?
The metric if considered purely on a standalone basis tends to bias the analyst, and that’s why its something you need to avoid.
This is my most hated metric. What is the point in running after loads of traffic or buying traffic that has zero business outcomes? However a lot of teams are made to run after traffic, and then instead of focusing on getting the right customers, teams start focusing on getting as many footfalls as possible.
Yes, your brand got the most number of impressions and that’s a high number of eyeballs. However, if you are getting only one person to act out of every 100, then don’t you think there is a problem?
Brand building is always a good idea, but does brand building translate into driving higher number of impressions? The mental model associated with this approach is scary – because then as marketers and businessmen, we start focusing on running after the wrong metric.
Imagine showing a wrong message to a vast audience. Scary right?
This is a metric for those of you who are are running paid promotions on digital. Since a lot of the work that is done on paid promotions is customer acquisition, there is an unhealthy focus on looking at clicks.
Clicks are good, but when it comes to paid promotions, who knows perhaps the person clicking is being incentivized to click your banners and has zero interest to engage with your business.
This again is a personal favourite. For a lot of content oriented brands, the number of social likes is somehow extremely paramount.
If we step back and examine why people likes things on social platforms, then we will see that most of the times it is to express an opinion about something (yes, we are opinionated, and we love it!). Some times it is to open a dialogue and have a conversation about a topic.
Yes, having more likes typically does translate into a greater reach and engagement. However, this number is also a very subjective metric. Perhaps the link being liked is so bad that it’s good (think Gunda, or the Friday-Friday song). Would you as the content creator be happy or sad that people are (dis)liking your content?
The next time you sit down to define which metrics to track, definitely think about how the metric is going to help your business. If you can generate a straight line visibility between that metric and revenues for instance, then that should be something you need to track.