Accept That Data is Directional
Every once in a while I get an email from someone asking a question where the resulting answer creates a good blog post. So recently an attendee to one of my digital marketing seminars asked the following and here is how I responded.
Thank you very much for your seminar. I found it EXTREMELY helpful and useful. I’m actually using several of the slides in a Digital Marketing Master Class that I’m conducting for my stakeholders. I feel like I have a good handle on everything, but would like some more elaboration on one topic…with regards to Optimizing and tracking what matters…can you talk a little more about “Accept that the Data is directional”? How can I best explain this to my stakeholders?
I am very happy you enjoyed the seminar! So, in regards to your question no problem – below are some quick bullets. I hope they help! Call me if you want more information or elaboration.
– Online tracking data is not 100% accurate
– This includes web analytics (Omniture, Google Analytics, etc.) and campaign tracking (Dart, Mediaplex, etc.)
– Also, 2 systems will rarely, if ever, display the same results when tracking the same site or campaign
– But this is totally ok as tracking does not need to be 100% accurate – its purpose is not to act as your account system
– The data is really meant to be directional
– The purpose is to allow marketers to make Fact Based Decisions to optimize their activities in the short, mid and long term
– So for example, typical direction data will tell you:
- If your spending money on the right sites or keywords by tracking the resulting traffic and actions from those placements
- That way you can pull money from non-performers to redirect into performers
- What creative (banners, ad copy, etc.) generates the most clicks and highest click rates
- So you can pull the no-performing creative and learn what works
- If your landing pages are performing or which ones in an A/B test do better
- So you can optimize post click conversion and engagement
- How much organic traffic you are getting to your site
- So you can see if your offline ads or SEO are creating a lift in non-paid traffic
- What paths and online site elements create conversions
- So you can make sure those elements and paths are surfaced and optimized
- So if you data is not 100% accurate, if you have two systems that don’t line up perfectly (under 10% variance) don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure it out.
- Focus on using the data to invest your time into identifying what really works according to the data
- Then optimize by focusing your time, resources and budgets into those things that work
- Escalate your insights into other mediums and opportunities
So, if you have ever dealt with questions or challenges around your campaign reports and web analytics not lining up – don’t sweat it too much. If the variance is in an acceptable range, accept that data is directional!