Analysis Paralysis for Marketers: When Your Data Works Against You

Digital marketing is being revolutionised by data. Having the ability to track conversions on a granular level, find out what campaigns, ads or landing pages are converting the best and what headlines your email list responds best to are the type of information that will set the difference between efficient marketers staying ahead of the game, and the rest.

Properly utilised data can turn a hunch into a winning marketing strategy and maximise your ROI by knowing exactly what works and what doesn’t in your marketing activity.

But, what happens when our data-driven dreams turn into an analysis paralysis nightmare?

With so much data now available to every business, many marketers are spending more of their time mining numbers and less time managing their campaigns. This problem is only getting worse, as data sources are becoming increasingly fragmented between new social networks, new apps, new ad buying platforms and any touch-point with an audience.

By the time marketers are done collecting, organising and analysing huge stacks of spreadsheets, the opportunity to make the most of it may be gone, while many hours have been spent on routine work instead of working towards improving performance.

With too much emphasis placed on getting as much data as possible and not enough emphasis placed on targeted data tracking, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the numbers and never make a move.

So, how do you know what metrics to focus on and what to ignore?

Focus on Your Objectives

When you’re gearing up for a new campaign, make sure you have a clear objective for that campaign in mind before you press ‘Go’. Are you trying to drive positive evaluation of your brand through your email campaign? If so what metrics are going to give you a real indication of your success? Measures you could focus on are:

  • Number of email opens
  • Clickthrough rates
  • The type of content engaged the most with

Or maybe you’re trying to figure out how effective your free ‘lead bait’ guide was in getting sign ups to your service in a couple of months time. If this is so, you will want to match your campaign’s leads list with your customer list. You will also be interested in finding out how long it takes on average for a lead captured via a free guide download to become a customer. There is also a possibility you will find out your leads are not converting, at which point you will know it’s time to review your strategy instead of just continuing to work hard on pushing your free guide to the world.

By simply focusing on the metrics that impact your campaign objective, you’ll be less likely to get sidetracked with data that doesn’t matter and more likely to effectively use your data.

Don’t Get Distracted by ‘Vanity Metrics’

Vanity metrics are data points that may look really good, but aren’t giving you any real results. For instance, your organic web traffic levels are through the roof! You’ve worked for months on a solid SEO plan and you’re excited to show your colleagues your success. But when having a closer look, you may see that none of that organic traffic is leading to conversions and that your site’s bounce rate is higher than you thought. That great web traffic isn’t doing you any good if you’re not able to convert it and keep it engaged.

Focus on the metrics that are driving results and impacting your bottom line and ignore the rest.

Not all data management systems are created equal. Even if your ad platforms enable you to track how many clicks, leads or subscribes you got, how do you then track how many of those actions actually lead to a sale? Make sure that your data systems are maximizing your efforts and giving you insights that you need, not bogging down your team and getting in the way of your progress.

Data is an incredible tool and should be used whenever possible. However, when your data starts hurting you and distracting you, it’s time for a change.

A platform like Hyphen that enables you to better manage your data and extract insights instantly can help you be more efficient and avoid analysis paralysis.

Paul Davis

Hyphen Technology Ltd, 7 Albert Mews, Albert Road, , London