“Not everything that can be counted counts.” –Albert Einstein
It is true that one of the great blessings of online marketing is the fact that so many things can be measured. Tools like Google Analytics track hundreds of data points–how many visitors visit your site, what they click on, what sites refer them to you, which keywords were entered into Google to find you, what country they came from, and even what network they were using at the time. The laundry list of available data being collected in real time goes on and on.
While this “measurability” is indeed a blessing, it is also a heavy burden. One of the major challenges for Internet marketers is making sense of all of this information. Keeping tabs on all of this data can be overwhelming, especially for smaller businesses. In addition to monitoring Google Analytics, other services like Facebook, Twitter, and others produce marketing statistics that are also voluminous. How many fans do we have on our Facebook page and are people engaged? How many people are following us on Twitter? How are we ranking on search engines right now? All of these are questions that marketers should be considering.
As the services are added and the data stacks up, many marketers become overly-inundated with information. Making sense of it all becomes impractical and some simply avoid the monitoring process altogether or do it sporadically because of the time required. In the end, many marketers miss out on the promise of measurability.
The good news for marketers, though, is that not all of this information is really important. Albert Einstein once famously said, “not everything that can be counted counts.” In other words, just because something can be quantified does not necessarily mean that it is relevant. This is particularly true for Internet statistics. While there is a great deal of empirical data available to marketers, much of it is irrelevant to the typical Internet marketer.
So how can this be reconciled? Internet marketers should probably consider finding an internal compromise by isolating the metrics that are most relevant to them and keeping tabs on just those things that really–as Einstein says–count. In other words, figure out what metrics are relevant to your online marketing activities instead of watching everything and becoming frustrated.
Determining what measurements matter is not an altogether easy task. In reality, this will vary from one organization to the next. In large part, however, here are a few of the more important metrics that matter to most organizations:
- Web Traffic Statistics – Determining how many people are visting your Web page, how they finding you, how long they are staying once they get there, and what caused them to leave.
- Search Engine Rankings – Monitoring how you rank on various search engines and how your rankings compare to those of your competitors.
- Facebook Statistics – Keeping an eye on the number of people who “like” your page and measuring the various pieces of activity therein.
- Twitter Activity – Counting your followers, monitoring the conversations that users have with your Twitter account, following the conversations your competitors are having with their users, and even tracking certain “trigger” words being used on Twitter (i.e. a golf course might want to watch for users within a 25 mile radius that mention the word “golf” in a tweet and invite them to play your course.)
Naturally, this list will change and evolve over time and will likely be different for every organization. Some organizations may not be interested in search engine traffic, for example, because they rely on relationship selling and referrals instead of blind leads.
Either way, it is essential to measure your Internet marketing activities on an ongoing basis. As overwhelming as it can be, culling and monitoring this type of data gives marketers powerful knowledge.