The fallacy of analytics

Why did I shut off analytics on my website and email newsletter? To focus on marketing metrics that matter

Seth Godin said about a year ago that there were two kinds of marketing:

There’s the kind that no one can possibly like. The popups, popunders, high-pressure, track-your-private-data, scammy, spammy, interruptive, overpriced, overhyped, under-designed selfish nonsense that some people engage in.

And then there’s the kind that inspires us, delights us and brings us something we truly want. ((

I’m done with the first kind, at least when it comes to B2B content marketing. And I’d put most kinds of analytics in this category because they let us justify the popups and pop-unders and exit-intents.

And justify the time spent on them instead of thinking about and writing about how to solve our clients’ problems

Business considerations aside, the “selfish nonsense” kind of marketing makes life unpleasant for people.

But putting business considerations back in front of us, what good exactly does analytics do most of us – again, in the context of B2B inbound marketing based on content strategy? 

The truth is, analytics has its place, even in B2B content marketing; this isn’t black and white. 

  • Analytics help a few of my clients, especially in digital health since there’s often a dual B2B/B2C solution and therefore marketing strategy 
  • For some of your similar clients who might be entirely B2C/B2P, analytics are also fine
  • For anyone running an ad campaign, they are crucial; and ad campaigns can work very well in B2B marketing
  • Likewise, for cold email outreach, analytics are great, despite being highly overrated

So the important thing here is not to divest yourself of analytics, but to stop thinking with an analytics mindset, thinking about data that doesn’t really matter. Here are the metrics that matter to my business and probably to most of your:

  • Sales conversations that take place
  • Total number of paying clients
  • Total number of new clients
  • Annual revenue

There are probably a few more, but what do they all have in common? You don’t need analytics to track them. 

And that doesn’t even touch the really important metrics, like “how many of my clients’ businesses were truly transformed as a result of working with me?”, or “how many of the people I worked with will look back on the experience with fondness?”. But again, analytics don’t apply.

Take action. Try doing these two things, at least for a little while.

  1. Turn off Google Analytics on your website for one month. Scary right? Not really, just submit your sitemap XML file to data and Google Search Console will still track the most important metrics. So will a few other free products, like Ubersuggest. I shut mine off 9 months ago and I’m never probably not going back (famous last words, hehe!). ((By the way, a nice side-benefit to shutting off web analytics is that your website loads faster.. my homepage often loads in 0.3 seconds on a $30/month WebHost ))
  2. If you also have an email newsletter, turn off click tracking for a month. Why do you need to know who clicks links in your email – and how often? Maybe you have your reasons; I don’t and fortunately, MailChimp lets me disable link click-tracking. 

Again, the goal here is not to eliminate web or email analytics from your marketing. Or to eliminate data collection entirely from your business processes, especially if our clients need it and we want to live their experience. The goal is to get your mind off it and stop wasting time on it. If your content is good, people will let you know.

The fallacy is that analytics are an integral part of digital marketing. No, not necessarily. Analytics may help you in some business cases, but will they ever help you inspire your customers, delight them, and bring them something they truly want?

If you were brave enough to take this step already, reply to this email and let me know!

My best,

PS. Thank you for enduring my deep dive in productizing services last week; don’t worry, not going to get equally obsessed with analyics this week.