Chapter 7:

Common myths

Like urban legends, there are thousands of false facts, creative truths and blasphemous lies out there about analytics and measuring. We start with five and will keep adding if you send them to us.

Myth 1: "Everybody needs to do online advertising." #

No everyone doesn't have to advertise online.
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While we agree that the web is a great place to put your contact information, writing a blog, posting in Facebook or doing a banner campaign might not be the right idea. What you should be making sure is that you can be found, which is pretty much what the whole web was in the first place - a big directory.

Myth 2: "Online marketing is cheap." #

Online marketing can be seriously expensive.
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First of all, if you're choosing your marketing methods due to their price tag, you shouldn't do marketing at all. It's easy to understand though, if you pay a hundred euros, you get a hundred flyers printed out - if you pay a hundred euros for digital, you might get a million views on site X, but that doesn't really make it any cheaper than the flyers. It's all about the conversion rate.

Myth 3: "I need to measure everything." #

You don't need to measure everything.
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You simply do not need to measure everything in the beginning. Measure costs. Then measure returns. Then figure out the bit in the middle (how to get lower costs and better returns). Start with cost per visit and cost per acquisition. Understand these two metrics thoroughly in the context of your business and you're half way there.

Myth 4: "I don't have a cost per acquisition metric I can follow." #

Everybody has a cost per acquisition metric they can follow.
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You do. You just haven't thought hard enough. We often hear about sites that are just there to inform people about something (branding sites or awareness sites) that don't want you to buy or download something, they just want you to read. Or government websites that have no goal other than to help internal government processes. Or Intranets that are designed for employees. You do have a cost and you do have a reason for the site to exist. Think about how much it costs for that reason to be realised and you have a cost per acquisition. Your cost might be time but then you need to ask what could you earn with the hours your spending if you weren't doing this? It may be harder to work out than say an eCommerce operation but the metric is there waiting for you to define it.

Myth 5: "Conversion rate optimisation is the best thing I can do" #

Don't just focus on conversion, focus on optimizing your profit.
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Nope, not always. Long term profit optimisation is the best thing you can do and they aren't always the same thing. If you get earned traffic from say CNN - 1 million visitors because you got good PR but you normally only get 500,000 visitors to your website a month your conversion rate will go through the floor we guarantee it. However your profit will go up if even a small amount of that free traffic signs up, buys or otherwise converts. Repeat customer conversion (and the channels you use to attract repeat customers the most often) is a better metric to look at.

If you liked this chapter, please recommend it to others.

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"Data, data everywhere and yet all decisions from the gut!" That just about encapsulates why our marketing strategies are faith based, why our websites are barely functional ("the CEO loves purple!"), and why we are not making the types of profits we deserve. I love this book because Steve and Markus provide specific advice on how to unsuck our lives! Buy. Don't suck. Win.
Avinash Kaushik
Digital Marketing Evangelist - Google
Author - Web Analytics 2.0
In your face and a Must Read for beginner and expert analysts alike.
Jim Sterne
Founder - eMetrics Summit
Author - Social Media Metrics
Chairman - Digital Analytics Association

About the authors

We have a single goal together, to make our customers a billion euros in profit. This won't happen in one year, it might take five years, but we will not stop until we have generated a billion of provable profit for our customers.

We love meeting and talking to new people! Get in touch with us. Come have a pint with us! We are available for projects, especially in warm places with great fishing opportunities and/or great beer.

Steve Jackson

+358 50 34 35 159
Markus Sandelin

+358 44 36 99 887