Analysis Paralysis: 5 Biggest Mistake Digital Marketers Make With Numbers

Metrics to Avoid in Analyzing your Digital Analytics

Analysis Paralysis: (or paralysis by analysis) is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome (Source: My Dearest Wikipedia). We here this term a lot and mostly because it is clever. It absolutely crushes most modes of rhetoric. Each word has 4 syllables. It rhymes. Puts the geeky guys back in their place after they play too many number games. Makes you stand out in a meeting that goes to long.

The list goes on.

But, analysis paralysis does make a huge splash in the digital sphere. People start talking about tracking everything via Google Analytics and understanding your KPIs. Social marketers are worried about likes, follows, shares, and anything else that fits neatly in a tally. It is great that we can track nearly everything in the digital world, but we get caught up in this world of numbers, meanwhile, we’re forgetting the numbers that keep us in business – revenue.

Let’s look at the 5 biggest analytical errors that people make.

Mistake 1: Like Your Way to the Top

How many of us measure social media campaigns by the growth in likes? This question is rhetorical because it is nearly everyone.

Now, how many of us see profit from these likes? This isn’t rhetorical but it should be.

If you are counting your likes, there should be a direct correlation between those and dollars coming through your doors. You should be pushing your like count on Facebook other items that leads to. Likes are not an end in themselves. They are just the beginning. Perhaps, that “like” expands your “reach” to which you put your marketing message. This marketing message sells your sale or service, in which more likes is beneficial. But in the end, it is for that sale!

Mistake 2: Page Visits

People are visiting your site. Great start. Don’t go buying expensive meals just yet though. Things are just beginning, and they may not be going the way you like.

We live in the world of … spam. That’s right, for the majority of the first timers on analytics, the visitors you are seeing are spam. They are coming from, to or any other website that is looking to pull suckers in by showing up on their analytics. These can be blocked but new spam sites keep coming up and directing traffic to your site.

Instead, it is best to keep looking deeper at your analytics to make sure the traffic coming through is benefiting you. Is it boosting your search engine presence? Are you getting leads? Most importantly, are you earning more than you’re spending?

Mistake 3: Bounce Rate for Bounce Rate Sake

We have all heard that a high bounce rate is bad. The funny thing is, we’ve probably also heard the hype of a single, infinite-scroll website. So, a website with just one page that has all of the information will receive a 100% bounce rate.

Most people would see that and think it is bad. But, within that bounce could be a lead, product view, or even purchase, all while fitting into the norms of the content consumption. Maybe a more useful KPI would be time-on-site and conversion tracking. Again, think about what matters. Put yourself in the shoes of the visitor – what steps do they take that bring you business?

Mistake 4: Click Through Rate

So, now you are spending money on driving traffic to your site. You are using Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads or anything else, to drive traffic to your website. You are being charged by the click (CPC) or by the impression (CPM – stands for cost per thousand impressions).

The main thing to think about is what happens beyond the click. Are people taking the path you’ve defined for them? Is a high click through rate leading to a low time-on-site?

Remember, you are spending money on these clicks! Make sure this revenue brings you profits! A more important metric may be a conversion rate, and that conversion rate should be higher than your rate of costs. Return on investment is what you should be looking for here!

Mistake 5: Overthinking the reports

Reports are great but you have to consider what they are great for! This is the real Analysis Paralysis. Don’t just look at the reports and think about the numbers. Think about the numbers that relate to your objectives, then take it a step further. Something actionable has to come out of your analysis.

Optimize your online efforts to translate to increased business goals:


  • Add negative keywords to an AdWords campaign to reduce wasted impressions, increase CTR and sell more product. Overall goal, increase ROI through eliminating waste.
  • Add lead capture goal in Google Analytics, to increase goal completion of other campaigns and increase overall sales through lead follow-up emails.
  • You are currently spending $10 on every 100 Facebook likes and your like-to-close ratio has been determined to be 1% (meaning for every 100 likes, you get 1 sale) and your average profit mark-up is $50. That means the cost for every 100 likes can be increased to no more than $50 to increase revenue. Start increasing spend and start earning more – no need to be frugal if the numbers are there!
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