Businesses want marketing to drive client acquisition and brand awareness, but to do this they need to measure the right metrics. But all too often, they don’t. They get hung up on stats which often don’t tell them what they think they do and may not tell them anything useful at all. Here’s 4 stats that are basically pointless…
Comparing Monthly Website Visitors
A surprising number of businesses like to compare one month of website traffic with the previous month. And I can never understand why. Very few businesses aren’t affected by seasonal ups and downs or won’t see their traffic affected either positively or negatively by national holidays. I actually once had to explain to an MD that February had three less days than January and our visitors were down by the exact same amount! It makes a lot more sense to compare year on year or against the average.
Assuming ‘Open’ means ‘Read’
Another common misconception that can have a more serious impact is that people assume when people have opened an email, this means they have read the content. Which very often isn’t the case. A lot of email tracking software will see if the images in an email are loaded and count this an open, depending how people read their emails, this means that in many cases every time someone deletes an email above, that email will be loaded again and will appear as a new open. If you’ve ever thought to yourself “Wow, Emily has opened our email 27 times!” this is probably why. The major problem is that A LOT of marketing teams see opens as a sign of interest, so they set up automated workflows where the sales team may be sent a recommendation to call Emily when she is not actually interested. A much better metric to measure would be a click-through rate assuming you are hosting content on your website and linking through your email.
The accuracy of Ad Impressions
So an Ad Impression SHOULD in theory tell you that your advert was shown to one person. But the reality is that if your ad loaded, but the user never scrolled down the page to where that ad was…it will still be counted. If your ad was going to be shown on a certain page, and the user had ad-blocker installed…it might still be counted. Google admitted that 56% of ad impressions may not have been viewable. This is why for B2B clients, I don’t recommend using paid media for brand recognition. You may literally be throwing half of your money away. There are plenty of other ways to get your name out there. In terms of stats you may want to pay attention to, typically its CTR and also what your ultimate goal is. So 99 people clicked your ad, but how many of them actually filled in the form? It’s also super common for people to come back to your website weeks and months after their first visit. You may have to give paid attribution to those enquiries that aren’t on your radar, aren’t on your prospect list etc.
Average Bounce Rates
A bounce rate tells you whicj percentage of people who go to a web page and then leave without doing anything. Which is obviously not something you want. The problem many businesses have is the only yard stick they have to determine if their page is particularly bad is ‘average bounce rates.’ The range for this is anywhere between 20-70% and as such is not a particularly useful metric. No matter what your current bounce rate is, the obvious goal is to lower that number, but this is not as straight forward as many people seem to think.
Your bounce rate will fluctuate with activity. If you’re running an event and get an extra 2000 visitors to your website, your bounce rate will go up. A lot has been written about designing web pages in the right way to lower your bounce rate, but probably the best advice I would have is to make everything as obvious as possible. Think about how many times you’ve visited a company website and not understood what that company does. Too many marketers want to use piffy lines or clever slogans, but for key pages it may be better to start with the obvious on who you are, and what the point of that particular page is. This will help it be indexed in the right way and mean that more people find the content that they are looking for.
So that’s 4 marketing metrics that are commonly mis-understood or used in the wrong way. The only data you should be paying attention to, is those things that you can actually effect.