Marketers – this is a brief, but super important blog post for you to read.
When analyzing your campaigns, it is critical to consider the context of the data you are analyzing. Always keep at the forefront of your mind possible reasons that the your initial assumptions could be “wrong” – in other words, be a skeptic of your own data and always ask why.
But First…Let’s talk about Confirmation Bias
Commonly, when us marketers are trying to solve a problem, there are possible outcomes that we favor. This could be as simple as “we want to be right” or “we really want xyz to be the solution” or even “sales is the issue, not marketing.” Whatever the situation is, we can likely agree that most people have the tendency to favor a certain outcome.
Confirmation Bias is the tendency to search for, recall, favor or interpret data to confirm your beliefs or favored solution. In other words, if we are in Google Analytics and there is a solution we favor, we’ll tend to find and interpret the data to support that solution even if it is not the best solution. The tough part – this is done subconsciously and we may not even realize this. Fortunately (and unfortunately) , we are all guilty – marketing, sales, management – everyone.
It’s our job as Marketers to be the objective interpreter of our data/metrics to support decision making by avoiding this Confirmation Bias.
As marketers, we are always looking for patterns in our data. Let’s say we’re analyzing two campaigns where one has a cost per click of $1.00 and the other $1.50. Before you accept that one is more efficient than the other, you need to confirm that the comparison is truly exactly the same.
Below are possible scenarios where your data could actually be “wrong” when you are optimizing and analyzing your campaigns.
For Google AdWords
- Are the keywords you are bidding on similar? “Homes for sale in Atlanta” is NOT the same as “New Homes for sales in Atlanta”
- Are brand keywords mixed in with your generic keywords? (Note: they shouldn’t be) Brand keywords being keywords for your company name or community such as “Quality Homes” or “Happy Acres Community”
- Is the GEO-Targeting the same?
This list could go on forever… 😊
- Are the audience sizes similar? An audience of 20,000 will not perform the same as an audience of 500,000
- What are the campaign objectives?
- How much did you spend?
- What are your image sizes? Vertical, square, and horizonal images usually perform differently
Website – Communities, Markets
- Consider the quantity and quality of your images
- The number of quick move-in homes available and how close they are to the advertised price
- Pricing, Product, Location
As you can see, the list of question to ask yourself goes on and on. The goal for you is to always consider the context when you are analyzing your metrics. You may not even realize you have a confirmation bias when you’re reviewing your campaigns. Before jumping to conclusions, ask yourself these questions above. Are you fairly assessing the results, or are you looking for data that will support your preferred outcome.
Always strive to make the most logical and fair comparison. We have a huge responsibility of being the interpreter of marketing metrics to our owners, managers & peers.