Lesson 7: How to Keep Your Focus and Act on Data That Really Matters

04 Jul 2017
| Last update: 03 Aug 2017

Render, measure and get results.

Every marketer’s dream, right?

Or at least this is what most of them picture themselves like. Always in control, always in charge.

But then reality kicks in and you have to remind yourself that your job is quite the challenge. Perform miracles out of dead figures? No biggie.

At first, data is nice to look at – you get reports and you have the impression things are moving in one direction or another.

Most often than not, however, marketers under- or over- interpret it. To the extent that they sometimes lose track of the goals initially assigned to the content they’re monitoring.

Your #BetterMarketer strategizing mind needs to start structuring that data, though.

But how can you make sure you’re chasing the right numbers?

We’ve got some ideas.

Figures Everywhere - How to Tame the Beast

We stated above that data is nice to have a look at, as it conveys a productive vibe, of sorts.

So how come we’re talking about taming?

Well, we forgot to mention the ‘niceness’ is misleading. Lots of data means lots of work on figuring it out. To do that, improved marketers channel their efforts in such a way they:

  • Define and track the most accurate metrics and KPIs
  • Implement time-efficient measures
  • Stay within the allotted budget
  • Manage data reports in real time
  • Are able to take actionable decisions based on relevant data

If good metrics would be a physical object, they would cost their weight in gold. But since they’re quite an abstract notion, marketers are left with the option of constantly seeking the best ways to define what a ‘good metric’ is.

What Is a Good Metric Supposed to Look like?

In a few words, effective metrics should:

  • Spot the flaws or lacking areas within your marketing program
  • Indicate futile marketing actions
  • Shape opportunities for further optimization
  • Help improve the customer journey
  • Provide and shape the best ROI – return on investment

Plus, they train your eye to look at crowded analytics dashboards in goal-oriented patterns.

Here’s where well-defined metrics come into play. They are the switch which turns an average marketer into a skilled professional.

Each marketing process needs to be tracked. And when you manage one – or more! – content platforms, this could be particularly tricky.

So where to start from when you need to build your metrics?

How About Some Terminology?

When we build a house, we want it to last. All right, maybe not forever, but for two or more generations at least.

So, we make sure we invest in a solid foundation.

As marketers, the house we’re building is the mindset we develop when we take on each new campaign or strategy. And its foundation is a solid grip on marketing terminology.

Today, it’s about metrics vs KPIs.

It’s one of those things we have the impression we master, yet we can never be sure we do. In any case, too much basic terminology never hurt anybody.

First, let us point out a straightforward fact: metrics are actually everywhere. If we didn’t use them, we wouldn’t be able to perform basic activities or devise an efficient schedule.

We depend on units of measurement to shape up our world. When we need to perform certain activities. Where and how we get to certain destinations. Which steps we need to make in order to complete an action. How frequently we want or need to do a certain deed.

This is how we move forward.

In this respect, business performance is no different from everyday life – it also needs to be cut up, sliced and partitioned, so that it is able to advance in the direction we want it to go.

Plain and simple, business metrics are the measures used to quantify the success or progress of a business action. When you need metrics, you employ a live source to extract data from (Google Analytics is the first coming to mind). You get a pile of material you need to further:

  • Make sense of
  • Structure
  • Select for tracking

Then, you start monitoring it to get an account of how you fare on that particular action.

To do that, you define metrics. Instead of dealing with an amorphous pile of data, better marketers strive to achieve a superior level of discipline and skill. ‘Discipline + skill’ is what makes a better marketer learn to keep an eye on metrics like:

  • Revenue – every business needs to keep an eye on this, right?
  • Retention
  • Customer acquisition
  • Productivity
  • Gross margin

In some cases, you’ll need to gather evidence which has to do less with figures and more with people’s perception on your offerings or website.

These can be tracked monthly or yearly, depending on your business’s needs.

Now, out of these metrics, not all of them can or must be tracked at the same time. So, you select some which better define your business activity. And next actions, most importantly.

These are the KPIs.

Key Performance Indicators

They stand for ‘key performance indicators’ – and with good reason. You need them to prioritize the critical figures you want to track and align.

Have you ever been to a sweets shop and felt a rush to pick every single piece of candy you could find? And then, it dawned on you: you can’t actually stuff that much sugar into your body because your organism will not be able to process it.

Yep, we know. The struggle is real.

But necessary.

It quite works the same for metrics and KPIs. When you first discover the former, you’re quite tempted to chase each of them to see where they get you.

But, ‘Gotta catch ’em all’ is not a good slogan for a business.

So, defining KPIs comes to the rescue and keeps you from going after redundant metrics. This is the voice of reason you yourself are supposed to be cultivating.

For instance, picking the number of Twitter followers as KPI will not indicate whether your business is experiencing critical struggles. If you want, these metrics would be ornaments, whereas KPIs like Return on Investment are vital signs to your business. So, keep this in mind each time you have to decide upon what metrics to define as KPIs.

Main Categories of Metrics

Now that you learned why it’s important to draw a line between the metrics which matter and the ones which don’t, it’s time we further advance towards building that basic knowledge font.

For the love of charts and frameworks, the marketing man has created four main categories of metrics:

  1. Engagement metrics – conversions, time on page, bounce rate
  2. Social media metrics – Analytics tools usually take into account ‘social interactions’ when they display social media metrics. That means they count how many times visitors have clicked on social buttons on a page.
  3. Traffic metrics – Reveal how many people got to your pages: page views, time on page, unique visits.
  4. Content metrics – These help you assess your content in objective criteria like: word count, mobile optimization, keyword(s) or SEO score.

Taken separately, these metrics won’t help much.

It’s when you try to connect the dots you can actually act based on what you see there.

The word count of an article is not that relevant. Unless you match it with a high bounce rate, high time on page and a high number of page visits and start questioning.

What does that mean?

Maybe you delivered great content which reaches people. They get there, spend some time. They’re interested, but they don’t ‘convert’. That is, you don’t see any outcome like new subscribers or more comments/shares.

In other words, your content follows a closed circuit and you need to find the switch which opens it up.

So How Can You Take Action?

The switch is in your hands and translates into potential user experience actions. In the case we outlined above, it means you could work on adding more engaging CTAs. No matter how experienced you are in gathering and working with these metrics, you still need to find the easiest workflow.

That said, how about some Math? We promise it won’t take long. And you’ll actually get to apply it :D.

The four metric categories above should really come together nicely, so that your efforts have a result. So, you kind of get the following picture:

But since we’re always striving for more, we’re aiming for something which rather looks like:

We want that extra something which sets us apart. That extra chromosome in our marketing DNA.

So What Would the Variable 'x' in The #BetterMarketer Equation Be?

To us, it is something which means ‘accuracy and clean content overview’, which enables us to have a more comprehensive understanding of where and how to best direct our marketing efforts.

More often than not, quite a lot of marketers don’t seem to find the right value for this variable. They keep looking for that tool which would bring their efforts together.

If you’ve followed our previous lessons, you may have guessed by now: to us, this marketing variable is no longer unknown. It has a value and a name: ContenLook.

If you read Lesson 2, you may remember how we tried to track social media campaigns using ContentLook. It’s because we realized how effective it was to have the data and the people working with it within the same platform.

But, those were the early days.

Since then, we devised other sorts of campaigns for which we needed performance reports and tracking.

What happens when you use multiple content pages is that you need to find an optimal way to navigate them when you need to work with the metrics.

Here’s where a ContentLook feature will come just in handy.

Meet a Worthy Content Refinery: ContentLook Filters

You refine the criteria, so as to get the exact content you want to take actionable measures on. And then, get on to hard work on that portion, obviously.

At first, you need to get acquainted with this feature, so ContentLook has in store a suite of default filters to test.

How do you get there? From your ContentLook dashboard, press ‘Start working on this’ and you’ll get to a separate dashboard for that particular site.

You’ll be directed to the Pages Insights tab, where you’ll see the Table or Items view for all the pages on that website.

Of course, you’re only looking for certain pages, so your first step is to look right above the table or items view and click on the ‘Show me‘ tab.

Inside the Show me bar, ContentLook is asking you ‘What would you like to see?‘. Before answering, take the time to select the type of pages you want to pick from: All/Articles/Product Pages/Videos/Author Pages/Other Pages.

Now, feel free to hover over and scroll down the predefined (or ‘easy’) filters:

Congrats, this is the first filter you’ve used!

Now, ContentLook will retrieve only the articles meeting the criteria of that filter.

In case the criteria are not met, you can manually add a URL.

The good thing about the filters feature is, once you get the hang of it, you can easily move on to ‘advanced’ status and create your own filters.

ContentLook knows content marketers have different needs and use their content for different purposes – especially when they want to test new ways of becoming better.

After all, this is the fun and thrilling part – and ContentLook enables you to do that in an optimal manner.

No, but really. A great deal of your content management operations will be improved when you take the time to dig your pathways through the pages on your sites. Here’s how you can start doing this with ContentLook:

The ContentLook Advanced Filters Feature from Squirrly Limited

Advanced Filters - Endless Possibilities

Of course, not all of us will take the same paths towards becoming better marketers.

The #BetterMarketer mindset is the common ground we can start building on – and I hope I helped you shape this mindset. But from there on, it’s worth being aware that each gets to take their own steps.

Now, it’s ContentLook’s turn to enable your own journey towards marketing success.

Exciting, right?

So don’t forget the main takeaway of this lesson: try to use figures to nurture your webpage visitors.

First step? A growth mindset.

Second step? Patience to acquire lucrative skills and discipline with implementing them.

Third step? Defining a workflow which is ready to tackle any content marketing hurdle.

Fourth step? Keeping an eye on your Inbox, where you’ll shortly find Lesson 8.

Ioana Budai
I'm also on

Ioana Budai

Lover of books and whimsical accessories, Ioana is a wandering mind seeking to find some order in writing.
Supercharged by drama and ideologies, as well.
Ioana Budai
I'm also on