Since digital marketing has exploded for businesses everywhere, it seems like everyone has become obsessed with data and tracking metrics. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love looking at the data and interpreting it to find trends and make sure everything’s on track to meet marketing objectives.
BUT I think it’s gone too far and a lot of marketers and business owners now use the data as an excuse to hide behind. It’s much easier to say a campaign didn’t work because you didn’t have the right metrics set up in Google Analytics than it is to admit it didn’t work because, well… maybe it wasn’t very good and your audience didn’t like it.
Buyer behaviour and customer journeys are more complicated and opaque than ever. So here are some reasons I think it’s more important to spend time getting to know and understand your clients than it is to obsess over your digital marketing metrics.
The metrics aren’t perfect
At first glance, it seems like we have so much amazing data at our fingertips. We can see all the activity that’s happening on our websites in real time, we can see how many people we reached on social media and which posts got the most likes.
But a lot of the time, these metrics can really throw us because they’re not foolproof. I want to give the example of the bounce rate metric on Google Analytics. Lots of marketers and business owners track this – in fact, I do as well as it is moderately interesting to see how it changes over time.
However, did you know that Google Analytics shows a visitor as bounced if they land on your page and then don’t click anything on your page? So this means if you have a fantastic landing page that someone spends 10 minutes reading in detail but they don’t actually click anything – that’s a bounce. Even though they could have been really engaged with your page.
Similarly, the visitor who absentmindedly clicked through your links but didn’t bother reading anything – not a bounce.
So this is really key – take digital marketing metrics with a pinch of salt and don’t base your entire marketing strategy on these factors alone.
We have lots of devices
How many devices do you use to access the internet? I’m guessing at least one computer and a smartphone. But you might have a desktop and a laptop, maybe a tablet (or two), and possibly even two phones. And we also have busy lives and lots of distractions!
So imagine you’re scrolling on your phone and you see an advert on Facebook. Then you’re sitting at your laptop so you type the company name into Google. Then you have to go out to pick up some dinner, but you’re thinking about that website. So later that evening you login again on your desktop and decide to buy something.
So would you say the advert has worked? Well, according to digital marketing metrics and tracking – no. But you did make a purchase, and your journey started with the advert on Facebook.
People are more suspicious of advertising than ever and are also more savvy about staying hidden from tracking. You can’t track anyone who’s disabled cookies or who’s browsing incognito. So you need to rely on your understanding of customers and a bigger picture view of your campaigns vs. sales.
Word of mouth is still the strongest marketing channel
Word of mouth is still the best way to get someone to buy your service or product. People trust other people and when someone else recommends you, that’s extremely powerful social proof.
Unfortunately, this can’t be captured in digital marketing metrics. There are some ways to try and get a sense of how many of your clients and customers come through word of mouth, but often it’ll still be a combination of a recommendation, plus them checking out your digital channels and content.
The way to encourage word of mouth recommendations is to provide excellent customer service and to deliver above and beyond your customer’s expectations. So it’s probably worth spending more time on this than stressing over your digital marekting metrics!
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