4 Ways You’re Misreading Your Analytics

Knowing your numbers is key to a rock-solid marketing strategy.

Source: Alexey Godzenko / shutterstock

Any marketer worth his or her weight knows how important analytics are. By keeping up with your data, you’re able to make better decisions about how to sell your products and service, therefore attracting more customers and helping your company grow. But analytics aren’t always as cut-and-dry as they may seem. Here are four ways you’re misreading your analytics and preventing your data from actually helping you thrive.

  • Reading your metrics too often: There are some marketing statistics that don’t need to be checked daily, and if they are, they can actually lead you astray. If you’re meticulously tracking your website traffic, you may get frustrated to see a minor dip 1 day. But if that day happens to be a Sunday, and your data always dips on Sunday, you aren’t going to see that by focusing on the trees instead of on the larger forest. Data should be consumed both up close and from a bird’s eye view in order to see reliable, consistent patterns.
  • Falling victim to confirmation bias: Cherry-picking data to fit ideas you already have is one of the most common analytical mistakes a marketer can make. If you believe your new social media manager is a rock star, you may go in looking for data that proves he or she is instead of taking a comprehensive view. Examine your analytics with an open mind and try not to simply confirm your own ideas.
  • Thinking correlation is causation: Just because two things move in the same direction doesn’t mean that one caused the other. Maybe you’ve started using a live-chat feature and have been noticing an increase in sales … or maybe your increase in sales is due to the holidays, or you hired a new Facebook ads wizard, or any number of factors. Few things in marketing are as cut and dry as one tactic leading to a radical change in your business.
  • Forgetting to focus on conversion: A high amount of website traffic doesn’t mean much if the people checking out your site aren’t becoming buyers. Your conversion rate is one of the most important numbers a marketer should be aware of. Try to look past vanity metrics, like the size of your e-mail list or the number of Instagram followers you have, and start focusing on your actual sales. This will help you see which marketing tactics have a high return on investment and which are solely fads.