Response to “Eight Silly Data Things Marketing People Believe That Get Them Fired”

Avinash Kaushik recently wrote a brilliant article called “Eight Silly Data Things Marketing People Believe That Get Them Fired“.

I would encourage you to spend about 10 minutes to read it through. I think the central idea is that there is a vast difference between metrics and KPIs.

Simply put KPIs are those that have a direct impact on your bottom line and metrics are those that are helpful in diagnosing tactical challenges (some metrics not even helpful at all).

1. “Marketers that did not use data to do their digital jobs”

Avinash’s comment on this is: this group should be fired immediately.

Well I have to say I agree with Avinash but if we do this, we probably will fire a “not too small” percentage of Specialists working in the industry in Vietnam. However be extremely careful about Data puke i.e. too much data without any actual insights.

2. Real time data is life changing

For me, I don’t hear this discussion a lot in Vietnam. The place that I hear this discussion more often than others could be crisis management. In dealing with crisis, I think real-time or close to real-time data is important. The rest is NO.

However in the market we do hear discussion about more and more and more data being put on the reports and people asking for reports at the frequency that makes absolutely no sense from the optimization point of view.

Avinash talked about Right Time data analysis and I think this is something that could only be fixed with the help from both agency and client. I am a big believer in presenting short and insightful reports with less than 15 slides, or even 10 slides.

3. All you need to do is to fix the bounce rate

Yup bounce rate is a popular KPI amongst marketers in Vietnam. We have the tendency to put the bounce rate of say 50% as a KPI. This is NOT right.

First of all, looking at the bounce rate as a whole, on average across all sections of the site, across all traffic sources, campaigns, landing pages does NOT help to do anything. Because if you simply ask, my bounce rate is at 70% so what? what should be your next action? Generic bounce rate for the entire site generally (yes GENERALLY only, not always) is NOT an actionable insight. Segmentation is the key.

I strongly advise those who find yourselves in this scenario to read another post about bounce rate.

Not only it is not a very meaningful metric while looking at from an aggregate level, it is NOT a KPI. It is a metric that could help you to optimize your KPIs, but it is a helpful metric at best so don’t get obsessed over it.

4. Number of likes represents social awesomeness

Well so far I think the majority understand that we need to look at the number of like AND talking about that number (or ratio of the total number of fans), actual average interaction by post to measure our social media success, not just the number of likes so I guess the local market is pretty savvy from that angle.

One thing to note those is that we often look at Talking about That figure at a point in time, not the trend. And while we want to compare ourselves with competition, not many tools allow you to look back too far away in the past so the competitive data is NOT always available. There are many different tools that provide competitor intelligence for social media like:  Social bakers, Meltwater, Alterian SM2, Brandtology etc… For a more complete list, please refer to my other post about free chapter on Digital Analytics: Free Offsite Tools & Paid Offsite Tools.

However the use of monitoring tools is still very limited so evaluating the value of social media is questionable because it’s hard to quantify EARNED Media without tools.

5. #1 Search Results Ranking = SEO success

Well this happens almost 100% of the time locally when it comes to SEO KPI. There are many reasons for this, one is the lack of visibility on the current traffic coming from organic/natural search. Another is that not many marketing managers/SEO agencies understand SEO at this level. And even if they understand, I don’t think we do a good job of explaining to clients about keyword research, generic words vs specific words, their potential traffic value yet, let alone talking about other stuff.

Avinash recommended a few metrics and I think visit from organic branded/unbranded terms would be the easiest to look at from the client point of view and we should be able to use it as one of the KPIs. Conversion number like the “number of sign up or call” could be something that are tracked/optimized over time (not putting in as KPIs from the start) unless you have previous data to back it up.

Customer life time value is tempting to look at. However, not many companies locally here could understand it, appreciate it or could calculate it.

6. Reduce my CPC, reduce my CPC now

I think we somewhat moved past this already in Vietnam. Advertisers understand that clicks should not be the final KPI, they look at visits and other factors.

However more often than not, we do not walk our talk, not many campaigns have proper tracking in place i.e. tracking that shows correct data, tracking that has been tested. I bet that only about 10% of the campaigns in Vietnam have tracking code tested & debugged before going live. To many people the idea of testing Google Analytics code or any type of tracking code before running the campaign is still a foreign concept. So more often than not, we find ourselves in the situation where we have to figure out what goes wrong after building/receiving the first monthly report.

7. Page views. Give me more page views, more and more and more!

This is still very common in Vietnam. People still think that more pageviews mean deeper engagement!

Pageview in general does not mean much. In some cases, more pageview even mean your navigation sucks and people have to click around and around to find what they want. So I think again focusing on the end game, the bottom line first and then see how pageview fits into that picture.

It would be better to look at top content vs content that you want people to read, see how many pageviews those pages receive etc…

Looking at top content can yield another powerful insight: whether the content that you want people to read receive any attention at all!

8. Impressions. Go, get me some impressions, stat!

To be honest I have to say unless you are using tracking tool that track across channels including post impression, post click, please do not care about impression “that much”. Online impression means very little unless you CAN tie them back to your bottom line. An ad impression does not mean someone look at your message once, not at all. It simply means the ad server display the ad on the screen once, that’s it.

To illustrate this point, I often ask people if they read VnExpress, Vietnamnet, Ngoisao or other popular news sites in Vietnam. The answer is probably yes. However if I ask them what banner do they remember seeing on those sites? the answer is often no one, no brand unless they click on it or engage with the banner in some ways. For myself I have ad block installed on Chrome and Safari, except firefox because from time to time, I want to check out to see who is advertising because I am in the marketing business.

9. Demographics and psychographics. That is all I need! Don’t care for intent!

The title says it all, doesn’t it?

Avinash argued that intent beats demographics and psychographics every single time and I have to agree with him. To me I don’t care if you are 25 or 52 years old, as long as you come to my site, want to buy/use certain products/services, your visit has much more value than a random 30 years old who happen to be in my target audience.

Search and Content have strong intent and that’s probably why search engine marketing is getting so popular worldwide and contextual advertising is super powerful as well.

In Vietnam I don’t think search engine marketing or contextual advertising are appreciated much in comparison to other types of online marketing.

That’s it from me. Tell us what you think? Do you agree/disagree?




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