Marketing statistics are a goldmine. When leveraged effectively, they can tell you a lot about your audience, the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, and even how you can improve your offering to better suit your customers’ needs.
The bad news is that too many marketers use stats incorrectly. They confuse correlation with causation, and they focus only on numbers rather than the meaning behind them. As a result, marketing stats are frequently useless when it comes to improving marketing performance.
So before you start mining your marketing statistics, you need to understand what they mean and how to correctly interpret them.
Identify The Type Of Analysis You Need
Let’s start with the obvious: You won’t learn anything from analyzing sales numbers alone. To understand what makes customers buy your product or service, you need to look at all the marketing activities that preceded their purchase. That includes analyzing traffic, analyzing conversions, and using other platforms to gain insight into customer behavior.
In some cases, you might even need to look into the operations of your competitors to understand what is happening underneath the surface. For example, if you’re launching a new product and want to know what resonates with your audience so you can improve your offering, or if you’re looking for growth opportunities and want to know what attracts your audience so you can go after them.
The key is to look at all the marketing activities that lead up to the action you’re trying to analyze. You can pull data from any number of sources, but you’ll never get complete information unless you connect the dots. For example, if you’re analyzing store visits on a site, you need to know that those visits were preceded by organic search engine optimization, paid social media campaigns with a conversion tracking pixel, and a retargeting campaign on Facebook.
Avoid The Myths
Stats can be a great tool, but they can also be a source of tremendous misinformation. One of the biggest myths is that consumers don’t care about the business and operations of the brands they interact with online. That’s simply not true. People are much more interested in the value offered by a business than they are in the business itself.
What’s more, a 2018 study from the Global Market Intelligence Platform found that 86% of consumers would be interested in learning about a brand’s history. But only 20% of respondents said they would be strongly influenced by this information.
The bottom line is that while your audience might not care about your business, they care about the value you offer. So instead of focusing solely on what you want to convey about your brand, determine how you can provide value to your customers.
Here are some more common myths about online marketing statistics:
Only Focus On The Most Popular Brands
This is especially important for e-commerce businesses since you want to focus on popular brands instead of trying to compete with smaller businesses on a level playing field. Popularity alone doesn’t guarantee financial success, but it certainly helps. So instead of looking for the best price possible during an online sale, why not focus on getting the best deal for your audience? You can do that by ensuring you offer great value and adding a few perks for your audience. For example, you can bundle products together to reduce the price for your audience, or you can offer free delivery for the products they like so more likely to purchase.
Only Look At The Past To Judge Success
Performance metrics from the past don’t necessarily indicate the future. Just because a company had a successful trial program during a certain period of time doesn’t mean it will continue to be effective in the same way. You need to look at the whole picture and not be blinded by a positive (or negative) experience that occurred at one particular place and time.
Sometimes it’s useful to look at what happened before the point in time you’re researching. But you also need to look at how the situation evolved and what actions the company took in response to previous situations. For example, if you’re looking at the performance of a retail store brand, you need to take into account the performance of its previous stores as well as how the company is using what it’s learned from previous experiences to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness.
Only Care About Your Audience’ Demographics
It’s a widely accepted fact that consumers across the globe are becoming more digital and approaching content through their phones. As a result, the way we think about demographic targeting has changed. While in the past we might have reached out to certain segments of the population based on age, sex, or geographical location, today we can target our content to engage with the people most likely to engage with us.
In 2019, marketers need to stop focusing on demographics and start focusing on behavior. To know which groups of individuals to target with our marketing efforts, we need to learn a lot more about consumer interests, motivations, and preferences. Only then can we craft effective marketing strategies focused on acquiring, retaining, and motivating customers.
Performance Metrics Aren’t Consistent From Company To Company
Every business is different, and that means the metrics we use to measure their performance will be different as well. Some companies might value sales more than others, and some might value traffic more than others. So when you see a performance metric that seems a little skewed, it might not be telling you the whole story. You need to take that into consideration when you’re trying to understand the performance of a brand or company.
Look At The Biggest Audience Vs The Little Guy
One final point about online marketing statistics: You shouldn’t compare apples to oranges. Instead, look at the overall picture and make your comparison from there. For example, if you’re comparing the sales of a clothing store and you see that the store sold a lot of T-shirts in 2018 but didn’t really grow much of its business, you can safely assume that most of its sales came from a small audience of highly engaged fans. Maybe try a comparison to another large clothing brand and see if its sales are more or less similar.
Looking at just the top-line numbers alone can sometimes lead you to make assumptions that aren’t necessarily correct. As a marketer, it’s your responsibility to put everything in context and not make rash decisions after simply looking at the numbers. This is especially important when you’re trying to determine which marketing strategy will produce the best results for your business.