Web Analytics: 10 Ways to Poison the Well

Ian Lurie

Web analytics are hard. They make internet marketing complicated, introducing annoying stuff like facts and feedback.
Why waste your time?
While you may understand this, it’s possible there are clear thinkers in your organization who insist on collecting all this needless data. Here’s how you drive them utterly batty:

  1. Change everything. All the time. Rename files. Move pages around. Replace images on the home page. Soon no one will know what worked and what didn’t, and you can create those 60 second Flash intros in peace.
  2. Remove the tracking code. Nothing screws up some nice, clean HTML 3.0 more than some stupid analytics package tracking javascript. Delete it. It’s useless.
  3. Use lots of redirects. Reroute visitors from one page to the next in an endless ping-pong series of temporary and permanent redirects. This will cause any analytics package to have a total nervous breakdown. As a bonus, it totally wrecks SEO. Sweet!
  4. Become an expert. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you actually READ ANYTHING. It’s far easier than that. When you’re in a meeting with your internet marketing team, respond to every request with statements like “I don’t really think that’s necessary” or, even better, “IT says we don’t need that”.
  5. Shred the evidence. Get access to the Google Analytics account, and then delete it. Not even God or Matt Cutts can bring it back once you do that.
  6. Misinterpret the data. In basketball, bounce rate is good, right? So why is it dropping on our home page? You want a 90% bounce rate NO MATTER WHAT!!!
  7. Put on blinders. Focus on one tiny aspect of the marketing team’s data. Obsess about the word “heffalump” and why you don’t get any traffic from it. Ignore the 50% conversion rate on all the other terms. Combine this method with #6 and you may actually hear marketers’ teeth crack during meetings.
  8. Mission accomplished. Read one analytics report per year. Declare the campaign a success and shut down the project. Hey, it worked for our last President, right?
  9. Test to death. When all else fails, turn those nerds’ weapons against them. Demand that they test everything, no matter how obviously stupid it is. You never know. Maybe pink writing on a red background will work better than high-contrast.
  10. Deny, deny, deny. Whatever you do, DO NOT ACCEPT THE TRUTH if it proves you wrong. Who gives a crap if PPC generated a 5:1 return on investment? What really matters is that you don’t like this newfangled stuff.

Remember, data is helpless when confronted by sufficiently persistent ignorance.

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Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/ianlurie.

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  1. are you Thai? you would surely do well here with that kind of an attitude … for real!
    i know you’re joking, but here in Thailand they actually act and think that way; believe me; not so funny … but ok, the sun is shining, the food is delicious and the girls are gorgeous … I’ve learned to live with it 🙂

  2. @Michiel Thailand is right in step with the rest of the world, then. I have yet to see a business use analytics to its fullest.

  3. yeah, I know what you mean, I got some clients who are hard headed and insist on doing it wrong, but then again; most are ok and willing to take advice … I guess you had some bad experiences recently.

  4. I like the deny, deny, deny… I think lots of IT people do this as a matter of course. They always seem to have a better answer even if alternative facts are staring them in the face.
    So al in all… pretty close to what happens anyway! 🙂

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