Reporting is PAINFUL (and pointless)
Think about your goals and how they apply to you. Everyone’s short on time, especially if you’re an individual business. Think about which of these goals apply to you, and which you have time for.
Making reports is almost always painful, and a waste of time. Unless you’re solving a particular business problem, it’s just a generation of charts- and a production of charts by any particular style won’t mean anything because the problem you’ll be solving will be different each time.
If someone DOES want a report, or you need to make a report, ask yourself: “So what?” – What do you intend to do based on the report? Reporting without some kind of intended action (change your landing page, change your offer, post more frequently) is pointless.
Reporting analytics is a proxy for what you intend to do to optimize your results. If you don’t have any data, then what is there to optimize?
Here’s a fun example: If you’re the pilot of an airplane, what is the most important? Your velocity? Altitude? or your direction? If you say direction, sure- your plane needs to be pointed the right way, otherwise you’ll end up way off course. That one would be important mid-flight to make sure you’re going in the right direction, but what if you’re mid-flight and only at an altitude of 10 feet? At any point, any particular metric could seem out of whack.
If you say fuel- When you’re taking off and you have no fuel, that’s a problem. If you’re landing, and you have close to a full tank, that’s also a problem because you didn’t plan how much fuel you needed. If your altitude is 40,000 feet and you’re about to land in two minutes, you’re not going to make the runway.
Depending on where you are in the flight, there is a correct number to be at.
People ask us all the time “What’s the right CTR? Cost per fan?” – There is no solid answer. It depends on what vertical and situation you’re in. We wish there were particular numbers, but there’s over 300 metrics you can pull from Facebook (believe it! our database pulls all of the metrics available to us).
Have you ever looked inside of an airplanes cockpit? They’re full of dials, knobs, and gauges. If you’re a pilot, how do you know if any one of them are out of whack from all of these blinking lights and flickering numbers? This is the problem with analytics: Should they install even more gauges and alarms in the most sophisticated airplanes – maybe if there’s twice as many dials and knobs, then it will make everything safe, right? More is NOT better.
If you’re a small business and you do not have many fans (less than 500 ), and you’re spending less than $10.00 a day, analytics will probably not do very much because there’s not much traffic to analyze. This is also true in Google Analytics. If you do not have much data coming to your website like conversions, or if you are a new business, you can safely disregard analytics for now. Remember: without data, there is nothing to optimize, which means few decisions for you to make.
About the Author
Dennis Yu is the Chief Executive Officer of BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company that partners with schools to train young adults. Dennis’s program centers around mentorship, helping students grow their expertise to manage social campaigns for enterprise clients like the Golden State Warriors, Nike, and Rosetta Stone.
He’s an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook Marketing and has spoken in 17 countries, spanning 5 continents, including keynotes at L2E, Gultaggen, and Marketo Summit. Dennis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, CNN, Fox News, and CBS Evening News.
He’s a regular contributor for Adweek’s SocialTimes column and has published in Social Media Examiner, Social Media Club, Tweak Your Biz, B2C, Social Fresh, and Heyo. He held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines and studied Finance and Economics at Southern Methodist University as well as the London School of Economics. He ran collegiate cross-country at SMU and has competed in over 20 marathons including a 70-mile ultramarathon.
Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you.
You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org