Lies, Damned Lies, and Content Marketing Metrics

Mark Twain had it right about content marketing metrics. No matter how objective your analysis seems to be, cognitive bias affects how every marketer interprets metrics.


  • Cognitive bias can lead well-meaning marketers to misinterpret crucial data.
  • Content marketers should view metrics as guideposts for their next steps, rather than infallible indicators of success or failure.
  • Enlist an outside eye when analyzing data to limit the impact of your own cognitive bias.

Anna: Mark Twain once said there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. Now it’s been more than a hundred years since he last said that, but it still rings true today, especially when we’re talking about content marketing metrics.

Hey everyone, my name is Anna Hrach, and I am a Strategist at Convince & Convert, and today I wanna talk to you about content marketing metrics. Measuring content is consistently cited as a top challenge for marketers today, but the problem isn’t access to data—it’s actually how we misinterpret it, thanks to our cognitive biases.

Everyone has cognitive biases. It’s not something we can escape. Cognitive biases are when we take data and overlay subjective information or thoughts on top of it, and we unintentionally skew data, most likely in our favor. A good example of this is when we’re looking at two different data points, say in Google Analytics, they happen to be going the same direction, so we automatically assume that they have a relationship, and that they correspond, when in some cases, that’s not always true.

Now, as I mentioned, everybody has cognitive biases. There’s no escaping it. But I do have three quick tips for you today. The first tip is to just assume that you’re putting analytics together incorrectly. I know that sounds really negative, but it’s really gonna help you in the long run. Be critical. Put your data together, and then tear it apart. Make sure you’re looking at it from every way possible.

The second is to use data as more way-finding than hard and fast rules. We have this tendency in marketing to look at data as the end-all, be-all, when really we should be using them as guideposts for the direction we should go, rather than the only way to go.

Finally, have someone else look at your data if you can. Sometimes it just really helps having someone who’s not connected to the outcome of the data just take a look and tell you what they think is going on. It can really help change your perspective.

Now, for more information and tips and tricks on content marketing metrics, be sure to check out the Convince & Convert blog, or leave me a comment below and we can chat. Until then, see you next time.

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