Obsessing Over a Single Analytics Metric: A Marketer’s Take

Business owner or marketer staring red-eyed at laptop, representing obsessing over a single analytics metric.Here at Vision Advertising, one of the many hats I wear is “the SEO Guy” – upgraded to “the SEO Guru” when I get brought up in sales. And it’s true: while I came into marketing via writing, I soon learned that successful blog writing is part knowing how SEO works, from keywords to metadata. As I continued my work, I also became “the Google Ads Guy” (which I will always remember as AdWords) and the reader of the tea leaves that is Google Analytics for client reporting. One thing that has come up in meetings and emails with clients is: “I heard [insert single analytics metric] is the best way of showing success.” Sadly, I’m here to tell you that obsessing over any single metric is both bad for your business and your relationship with your marketers, internal or external.

There Is No Single Analytics Metric That is Best

In my years of working as a marketer and “that SEO Guy,” I’ve been confronted by clients who, through reading a blog or getting an email or through their own research, decide that this one metric is the only one that matters. Let’s go through some examples and their pitfalls:

  • This one metric is better than industry norms. We once had a client with a very low bounce rate (clients visited multiple pages before leaving). When we rebuilt their site and updated their Google Ads, their traffic and other positive metrics went up, but they couldn’t see it past their one metric.
  • So, I just read this article… Me telling you that no single metric is best is not sexy, but the opposite sure is! Every year we get a client who reads an article about how some sales or marketing guru has “cracked the code” on Google Search (or how a change will make this the most important). The problem? Google is self-correcting. There is no free lunch.
  • I know more about Google Analytics than you. I understand the need for owners to understand all facets of their company. But if you’ve got internal marketing staff or external outsourcing (like Vision Advertising), you need to trust your experts. And if you do know more, teach them. For external, if you can’t come to an agreement, think about changing providers.

Dealing with Single Metric Obsessive (SMO) Clients

If you’re reading this as a marketer with the same problem, or perhaps a business owner whose staff in marketing or sales has become SMO, there is help for them. Below are some common ways to help break the ice on this topic and get them to seek help.

Let’s Do Some Reporting

Your first option should be to dig into the analytics if you haven’t already. Depending on where you are on the internet, this can change. For websites, you’ll want Google Analytics. That’s primarily where I encounter SMOs. Facebook, Google Ads, and many other platforms also include their own analytics. Think about trying a trial on a reporting complier platform to bring them all into one place.

Check Their Sources

Where are they getting their information from? If it’s a blog or article, check out the source and the reasoning. Send them other articles to read. If it’s self-taught, have them walk you through the thought process. You might find they are more open than they thought once you’re there with them.

Build Your Case

If you’ve got reporting all queued up, you might be best served to track and do reporting either retroactively where allowed or through a timespan, and then share your finding with the client. Look at the highs and lows and look at how their single metric has measured this. Make sure to work with sales and conversion tools to track where your leads are coming from to back this up.

So, What Analytics Metrics Should We Obsess Over?

With no single metric to strive toward, what then are the metrics to look at? And what marketing and advertising will raise or lower these metrics? Note that you should be looking at all of these. There also may be ones specifically for your industry or platforms used – do your research!

  • Traffic: From Google Analytics to Facebook, how many people are visiting your site or social media page (depending on your goal)? Just as important as the traffic is where it is from. Are ads playing an outsized role? A lot of organic traffic from blogs? This can lead to better marketing.
  • Clicks and CPC: If you’re using ad platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, how well are they doing? Are they driving a lot of traffic to your site? Take a look at both total clicks and the CPC – Cost Per Click, which is the average spent per click. These are good starting points.
  • Bounce Rate: This is how many one-hit wonders you’ve got on your page, but can also can tell you about user behavior. The trick here is to delve deeper: what pages have the highest bounce rate? If it’s a blog, that’s pretty common. If it’s a contact us page, that’s probably good. If it’s your home page, time to figure out what’s wrong. This can also be a sign of bot traffic.
  • Conversions/Goals: Both Google Ads and Google Analytics have Conversions/Goals – markers you can put on your site to mark success, from purchases to lead generation (such as on a “thank you” page). Many other analytics have similar options. Set these up, monitor them, and compare lead quality.

At the end of the day, like much in life, there are no simple answers or solutions. If you need help, Vision Advertising provides consulting and coaching (and we’ve got a few blogs you can look through) for your unique needs. Also, if you respond to this blog with any questions, I’ll respond (right after weeding through all the spam comments. God, so many). Here’s our contact information if you’d like to learn more.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by background, Alex writes “content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to website copy and beyond. In addition, as Senior Brand Strategist, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision, manages multiple client projects, and herds many meetings. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, reads a copious amount of fiction, plays video games, and an enthusiastic chef at home. He’s trying to become a better plant daddy.

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