Understanding Data Metrics & Common Mistakes to Avoid

As digital marketing professionals, we often hear the phrase “data is king!” While it’s true that data is essential for accurate insights, it can also be misleading if not properly understood. With vast amounts of data at our disposal, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and draw incorrect conclusions. This article explores common misconceptions about key metrics and offers guidance on how to use data effectively.

Metric Misconceptions

My proposal is simple: view each set of metrics as a pathway to greater understanding, not as definitive answers. Let’s explore some common misunderstandings about specific metrics and how to avoid them.

Lower CPC = Good It might seem logical that cheaper clicks are better, but what if those clicks are irrelevant? The true goal is conversions, not just clicks.

High Impression Share = Positive A high impression share might indicate that your keywords are being seen, but they could be irrelevant and cheap, leading to low-quality clicks and wasted budget.

High Conversion Rate = Highest Priority A high conversion rate is desirable, but it’s essential to consider the broader context. Changes in CTR or keyword bidding can affect volume and efficiency.

Data girl
Don't let data tell you a wrong story!

Using Metrics to Tell a Story

Metrics can tell different stories depending on their context. For example:

“Our CPC for our Scented Candles campaign in Toronto has lowered significantly on mobile during December”


“Our campaign for Scented Candles in Toronto has become increasingly more effective in targeting the right audience”

The second statement provides a clearer narrative by connecting various metrics to a cohesive story.

Making Decisions Based on Metrics

Since metrics are context-dependent, making decisions based on them can feel like guessing. This is why testing hypotheses is crucial. For instance, if we suspect that we’ve sacrificed ROAS for higher volume, we can test adjustments to see their impact on specific metrics.

data decision
Hunches are great - use data to test and act on them!

Final Thoughts

Data is abundant, and so are the questions we need to ask to understand it. Marketers must stay curious and attentive, creatively dissecting data to make informed decisions and achieve desired results.

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