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When Numbers Lie: Tracking the Wrong Metrics

When Numbers Lie: Tracking the Wrong Metrics

Numbers don’t lie. Except when they do.

Getting to meaningful numbers is a key part of measuring the effectiveness of your marketing program. Metrics can provide a clear path toward your content marketing goals or become a swamp that bogs down your program and obscures any real progress (or lack thereof). The difference is whether you and your agency focus on measurements that show what’s working and demonstrate agency performance, or choose to look at everything just because you can.

When numbers lie

The temptation to measure all the things is strong. Everyone’s talking about the power of data, so more must be better. But that approach will generate a flood of numbers you’ll have to slog through to reach your goals. A better plan is to focus on the metrics that show where your particular program is strong and where it needs some redirection.

Different goals, different metrics

As you develop your content marketing strategy, decide what metrics will support your goals, show what’s working, and highlight areas that need improvement. For example, a thought-leadership strategy is very different from a lead-nurture program. Each approach requires its own metrics focus. Let’s look at some different scenarios.

When you’re working to establish expertise and drive engagement on your site, your agency should track the number of engaged visits, the number of overall visits, what’s driving traffic to the site, how long visitors stay, and how many pages they visit.

If your program is designed to generate leads, your agency should track how people are finding you and the types of content they engage in before joining your lead-nurture program. The right metrics for social media programs show you which channels are driving the behaviors you’re looking for.

If your goal is to drive traffic to your blog, track which social media platforms are delivering visitors. If, on the other hand, the goal is engagement for viral execution, pay close attention to your followers, fans, shares, and likes numbers. Your agency should measure those anyway, but they’re especially important metrics to analyze for social engagement.

Relevant metrics, better results

Let’s say one of your program’s key performance indicators is 100 leads, and the program ends up driving 250 leads (yay!), but from different sources than you expected. You’ll want to optimize the program based on what you learned and direct more resources to developing that unexpected but very productive lead source.

Ideally, your agency will do a monthly review of your KPIs against your program benchmarks so you can optimize regularly. That’s much easier to do if you focus on the most relevant metrics and avoid getting caught up in the rest.

Need help picking the right metrics for your strategy? Contact us.