Why Real Time Marketing Data is Overrated (and what to look for)

We need it.  We love it.  But it has major shortcomings.

It’s time to get real about your real-time marketing data for digital content.  Getting to the heart of why campaigns succeed and fail cannot be revealed at the press of a button.  But brands that invest in this type of analysis will get a great ROI.

While we're enamored by real-time metrics, there is no algorithm, nor artificial intelligence, that exists today that can do a thorough analysis of content performance, and identify the factors that are influencing results.  

When analyzing your data, here’s an overview of what to look for, and common pitfalls to avoid. 


What to look for: The reasons why campaigns are succeeding or failing

Pitfalls to look out for: Only using real-time data to identify the “why” behind campaign performance. 

Recommended Approach:  In a world focused on instant gratification, few take the time to accurately identify the specific factors influencing performance. Brands need to take a step back, look at content strategy and identify the factors influencing content performance.  This requires both qualitative and quantitative skills, and ideally contributing team members will have backgrounds in Marketing, Sociology and Statistics.  Together, the team will take a scientific approach to determining variables and finding correlations.  Don't have the resources at your fingertips?  Brightside Data can help. 


What to look for: KPI Data

Pitfall to look out for: Assigning the wrong KPIs to a campaign.  There’s no doubt that KPI data is important, but what’s even more important is selecting the right KPIs for the campaign.  KPIs should reflect the goals of the campaign, and setting the right goals for the campaign up front gets the entire team aligned and moving in the same direction.  

Recommended approach: Identify where the marketing tactic falls in the sales funnel, and the corresponding performance indicators.  Looking to build awareness of your brand?  Impressions are important.  Are you approaching the narrow part of the funnel?  KPIs such as dwell time and conversion are important. 

Tip: Even if you’re focused on one KPI, always track multiple metrics.  Every campaign is an opportunity to generate data points for future analysis, and presents an opportunity to learn more about what moves the needle.   

What to look for: Opportunities to adapt and learn

Pitfall to look out for: Prematurely labeling a campaign a failure.

Recommended Approach: It’s OK to start with the best-case scenario, but if that’s not working, incrementally remove any self-inflicted barriers to success.  For example, if you’re offering gated content, remove the gate and offer free access to the content.  The time and effort used to create the content are sunk costs, and there’s no getting those resources back.

Tip: Before a campaign launches, predetermine how you will test and leverage your digital assets when underperforming.  Determine performance thresholds that would justify action to adapt and test.  


What to look for: Graphs, Charts and Other Pretty Stuff.  Because you have to convince internal stakeholders that your campaigns are getting results to receive additional marketing budget, and simply presenting numbers are not enough.   

Pitfall to look out for: Make sure you’re communicating the right metrics.  Its’ easy to fall in love with a graph that shows a steep incline, but ensure your metrics and comparisons are telling the right story. 

Tip: Put metrics in context, by comparing results to last-year’s data, other recent campaign, or industry benchmarks.    

Ready to go beyond real-time metrics, and uncover WHAT is driving content performance?  Contact us today for a free consultation.