Your Analytics Data is Not Perfect!
You won't see data inaccuracies trending on Twitter, it likely won't be a topic at Social Media Breakfast, and I am certain this won't be a lead story on WCCO. I can however assure you this article will save you time, marketing dollars, and increase the overall success of your marketing efforts.
When it comes to the marketing decision-making process, data is king or at least it should be. We all know online marketing has no shortage of data, but how reliable is it? My response: online data is only as reliable as the tool being used and the person making the decisions. That couldn't be anymore vague but it's true. Have you ever run a banner ad or search campaign in which the total clicks didn't match the actual visits or unique page views of the destination? Recently I had a data inaccuracy of my own. I ran a test using bit.ly to track clicks from a recent article and found that Google Analytics and bit.ly were off by over fifty percent. To prevent this from happening to you there are steps that can be taken to ensure the decisions you make are based on as accurate of data as possible.
The big question: how can we help cure our data woes? The best advice I can provide is laid out in the following recommendations:
- Understand that variables beyond your control may provide inflated, deflated, and misrepresented return is simply an online reality.
- Trending data is the best way to combat these day-to-day data waves. Acting as an online marketing day trader will only lead to misguided decisions.
- Learn how to interpret the data. Fully understanding what the data represents will help you make the best decisions for your business.
- Finally, analyze the data with a purpose in mind. With so much information at your fingertips data overload is inevitable. To avoid this, identify an online pain point, then work backwards to verify or deny the cause of the pain.
In all fairness to my marketing colleagues, we have come a long way in terms of tracking from the days of Nielsen, comScore, and log file analyzers. This evolution has created a myth that online marketing data is one hundred percent iron clad. New forms of media consumption including social media and mobile marketing have created a new series of tracking challenges. With that in mind, it is important to use and understand the available data to the best of your ability to make the best marketing decisions for your company.
Interested in learning more about this topic? Have an idea for a future topic? Feel free to connect with me directly on Twitter at @MikeRynchek or via email at email@example.com