Avinash Kaushik, a very known web analytics guru, emphasizes that it is important to consider the factors that the marketer needs to keep in mind in order to generate valuable and measurable metrics:
1. Uncomplex. The metrics needs to be transparent and simply in order to be understood not only by the online marketers, but by those who make decisions.
2. Relevant. The metrics the company uses to measure success is different since the business models, objectives and priorities vary. Sometimes the metric is irrelevant. “Not many marketing metrics are universally wrong, but an awful lot of them are wrong in a particular context. Sometimes a metric is wrong because it doesn’t only tell you what you want to know, it actually misleads you. There are numerous examples of using irrelevant metrics to the business goals. For example, one of the company’s goals could be increasing the number of leads going to the call center, however it is very critical to analyze if the call center is even able to handle (contact, email, follow up) the leads that are coming in. Also, the company may conduct events where the business cards are being collected, however none of them can potentially have the titles that the company is interested in based on the pre-determined objectives.
3. Timely. The web data should be readily accessible and the marketers should provide reporting and analysis in a timely manner. It is not allowable to wait for a long period of time to know what worked/didn’t work a while ago. Valuable metrics must be provided in a timely fashion so that the business decision makers make efficient and successful decisions.
4. Instantly useful. The marketer should be able to make decisions and immediately act based on the data provided.
Avinash Kaushik investigates whether bounce rate, one of the most popular metrics, passes or fails a “four – attribute” test. “Let me give you a very simple example that I think will crystallize the methodology above. I think Bounce Rate is a “great metric”. Here is how it passes the required four attributes test:
Uncomplex? Single Page View Visits. Easy to understand, explain and propagate. Enough said.
Timely? Bounce rate is now standard in pretty much every web analytics tool, and available in every report. Every day. Nice!
Instantly Useful? You can just look at it and know what needs attention, what needs to stop. You see 25 – 30% for your site and instantly you know things are fine. You look at a page with 50% bounce rate and you know it needs attention. You see a campaign / keyword with 70% bounce rate and you know there is a fire” (Kaushik, Web Metrics Demystified, 2007).
These are metrics that sound good, but mean little if anything. “How many names on an email list? How many likes on Facebook? How many followers on Twitter? It’s great cocktail party fodder, and people go for those numbers to impress people. But what does it mean if you’ve got a mailing list with 10 million names on it, but 80 percent of them haven’t even looked at an email in the last year?” (Cook, 2011).
Concluding, it is important is to determine which metrics the marketer really needs in order to make smart marketing decisions. Accurate online advertising metrics are critical for developing an efficient and predictable marketing strategy. The key is not to be distracted by metrics that simply don’t matter to the business’s growth and profitability.
Cook, R. (2011, March 17). Marketing Metrics: The Good, The Bad, And The Irrelevant. Retrieved August 7, 2012, from www.cmo.com: http://www.cmo.com/web-analytics/marketing-metrics-good-bad-irrelevant
Kaushik, A. (2007, December 11). Web Metrics Demystified. Retrieved August 7, 2012, from www.kaushik.net: http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/web-metrics-demystified/