Understanding metrics

There is a poignant quote on statistics which proclaims that some people use statistics as a drunk man uses lamposts - for support rather than illumination.

It's a quote that I feel is very relevant to many things in the industry today.

It's easy for people to claim that they have very strong conversion rates, the reality is that when looking at what they're actually bidding on, it's not necessarily where their growth areas are. This skewed view is often the difference between long-term strategy and short-term views.

There needs to be a greater emphasis on understanding what is actually happening with these metrics as well as how to move them in the right direction and actually deliver results, as opposed to massaging your numbers to make them look like you're delivering results.

In terms of what metrics actually are, there is a profound difference between two sub-groups, referred to as soft metrics and hard metrics.

Hard metrics tend to be what we're actually chasing, think ROI, transactions, and conversions etc. They generally define the success of any given campaign.

By contrast, soft metrics allow us to understand where traffic is coming from, how it's behaving, and vitally user intent. They include figures such as bounce rate, page views, and click-through rates (CTRs).

To really grasp what direction a business is going in a mixture of analysis for both hard and soft metrics is ideal. This approach helps you comprehend your place within your market, gain insight as to how to grow, as well as expand and reach new audiences.

In terms of creating a long-term strategy, you need to understand the size of your potential audience.

When looking at campaigns and trying to build out, solely focussing on brand terms will have a great conversion rate. However, it will often leave you left short-handed moving forward as you will have an impression share that simply doesn't grow.

To provide an overall strategy, you need to focus on tiering your audience. Look at how your journey is carried out by your audience to set parameters of your various tiers.

The tier of your audience where most of your impressions are situated is oblivious to you. They may potentially be interested in what you have to offer but, they don't know or trust you.

At the opposite end of the scale, while we need the lower-tiered audience to convert, emphasise increasing the breadth of your audience and its maximum potential.

To achieve this requires moving your oblivious audience further along your tiers. Your audience needs to start conducting their own research about your business and what you offer, indicating higher user intent.

Eventually, we want these consumers to reach a point where they are actively considering making a purchase from you. This generally comes after they've conducted research, visited your website, and seen what the competition has to offer.

The most crucial aspect of building your long-term strategy is to be realistic in the target setting.

Your business needs to understand that you're not going to be inundated with hard metrics representing your core KPIs. To really maximise the potential of your audience pay close attention and invest time into each tier along your customer journey.

If you make the mistake of investing all of your time focussing on one aspect of the user journey you'll effectively be ignoring everything that could potentially increase the potential of your tier one group.

You must understand where and when to use different channels across the user journey, more info of which is explained in the video below.

We hope that you've found the information presented in these workshops useful. If you feel that you're in need of a little more insight into how your business can master its metrics, why not get in touch? Alternatively, take a look at how we can assist you.

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Meet the author ...

David Berendt

Head of Paid Media

David heads up the paid media team across all platforms. What works best for one client on one does not necessarily work on another. Through his extensive knowledge of the ...