Down the Rabbit Hole: When Analytics Become a Pitfall
Physically falling into a pit is embarrassing and will cause some serious pain, but metaphorical pitfalls can hurt a lot worse - personally and professionally. When it comes to reporting on your marketing performance, knowing when to keep your head on a swivel and avoid major pitfalls is a must. So let's dive in!
A common analytical pitfall in marketing is mistaking correlation for causation. Take the good ol' fashion billboard, for example. Does the billboard drum up new business and bring in new customers? Was it that whacky, waving, inflatable tube guy you purchased on a whim? How do you know? Again, correlation does not imply causation, and the ROI on something like a billboard is rarely ever accurately measured.
Thankfully, enter the data-fueled digital age with analytical software abound. Now-a-days, everything from how many likes that piece of delicious pizza you posted on Instagram generated to how many sales qualified leads you received with your latest email campaign can be measured. The only problem with wielding all of this magnificent metric-performing power is there is A LOT to learn and A LOT of pitfalls to avoid.
The following are some best practices for measuring your analytics and knowing when those methods may have you falling deep down the wrong rabbit hole.
Analytics and ip addresses
The next time you ask yourself, "What can Google can do for me?" think about the analytic programming built into those systems.
Applications like Google Analytics, HubSpot, and many other programs are hyper-focused on metrics. These programs aren't just tracking URL pages, but they keep track of digital cookies and IP addresses so the website owner can see what content is getting the most traffic. This is great because it helps decide which strategies are working, which ones need more attention, and which ones need to be dropped like hot cakes.
However, if you don’t turn off the IP address of your companies devices, the reporting done over digital content will have your local IP address listed as a user. This doesn’t give an accurate representation of who your business is trying to target online and can significantly skew your metrics.
Tip #1: Be sure to turn off your local IP address for more accurate targeting.
clicking Your Own Google Ads
If your company decides your SEO tactics are working, but you want to have more interaction with your customer base, this might be a good time to invest in Google Ads. Google Search Ads put your business at the top of Google's search results and help attract people who need a little more encouragement to click to your website.
Google Ads do come at cost, though. They are paid-per-click (PPC) meaning every time someone clicks on your ad, you are charged for that click. This also means if you and your employees see your company's ads while at work and excitedly click on them to see what happens (hint: you should know what happens), you are simply wasting your money.
Here's an example that might make it clearer to understand. If you invest $10 a day for your ad to be on Google for a month (around $300), but a majority of those clicks are coming from inside your office because you or your employees want to see if those ads are working, the report on those ads will be inaccurate and that overhead of digital ads is wasted!
Tip #2: Don't click on your own ads!
A/B Testing isn’t for everyone
Sending emails to clientele is a great way to keep them engaged and informed, as well as encourage them to a call-of-action. With A/B Testing, test emails are sent to a small population of your email list and whichever email performs better, that email will be sent to a the rest of your email population, creating a better return in the long run!
However, using A/B Testing isn’t always effective. If your business only has between 10 to 1000 people subscribed to your email list, then that email population is too small to perform an accurate A/B test.
Tip #3: The best course-of-action when you have a small email list is to skip the A/B testing and send the same well-crafted email to everyone.
Boosting low engagement posts on social media
The following scenario might seem logical to some business owners:
You create some content and post it online, but after a couple of days notice it has a low amount of likes and shares (engagement). You decide the best option is to slap some of your hard-earned money down on that post and "boost" it so more people will see and engage with your content.
However, this type of ack-bassward logic is great for breaking the bank and falling into a deep pit of analytical despair.
If your content is boring and lacks substance or authenticity to begin with, boosting it will only showcase your snooze-fest content to an even larger audience. Look, not all publicity is good publicity.
Tip #4: When boosting content on social media, use content that has good organic engagement. Boosting a post with good organic engagement will have a better return and you’ll see those likes and shares soar!
Say your content went viral and got millions of views, likes, shares, and the like. Congrats! It's always great to receive brand awareness while feeling like you conquered the internet. But any good business professional will take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask: "how many sales did this post actually create?”
If you don’t see a correlation between your marketing content and your call-to-actions, then you shouldn’t celebrate quite yet. Vanity metrics can get the best of companies. Maybe the content was amazing, but the call-to-action missed the mark. Maybe it went viral for something negative, like a bad product/service review online. Maybe an influencer made your content go viral, but the influencer is seeing the credit over your business.
While being a trending topic is fun, don’t confuse popularity with success.
Tip #5: Focus on creating quality content with good call-to-actions so your business can have a healthy ROI and succeed.
Metrics and analytics are the way of the future. It's time to bury the days-of-old mentalities that relied on guess work. There should be no more guessing if the guy you hired to dance and wag a sign outside your business is helping increase your bottom line. If you continue to be smart, diligent, and adaptive with data and how you measure your analytics then you’ll see growth like never before.
As a result of working with such a diverse list of clients, we have been able to look at the commonalities of each individual strategy and focus on the fundamentals that made them successful. This attention to detail is what led us to the development of our SOAR System.
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