This year we want people to touch shit in our stores

So I was in the mood to swear in the title. Yes, but I am also a little bewildered.

Our friendly neighourhood stats pusher eMarketer has released some stats that blow my mind. If these are seriously the focus of, and I quote, "Seniors Marketers Worldwide" the world of marketing and advertising is in for one hell of a shitty ride over the next 5 years.

As the saying goes, "statistics are just numbers looking for an argument", and guess what, they found more than an argument.

Well here are the stats:
Are you kidding me? Senior marketers should be concerned with little things like improving brand their brand, reducing churn, increasing retention, driving acquisition .... or how about they should just be concerned with objectives and strategy. Not "engagement" or "time spent".

These measurements would be like a senior marketer saying this year we want people to touch more things in our store. Or, we want people to spend more time in our retail location, or we want people to test drive more of our cars. All of this is bullshit. Wake up and realize that engagement, time spent, CTR's, etc all mean nothing unless they are connected to an experience, born in a strategy and conceived by an objective.

What concerns me most is that these top priorities and metrics are so 2006 and possibly the worst metrics we could consider. Lets look at a few.

  1. Time spent on site: Unless they are tying time spent to "least time spent" then we as consumers and active online users are in trouble. I want to spend as little time on your site as possible. Let me find what I want within 1, 2 or maybe 3 clicks, get the info I want within 15 seconds, forward it to whoever I need to (boss for approval, client for education, friend for a laugh, girlfriend for brownie points, etc), or share it on my twitter, Facebook, Digg or blog. If it takes me longer to have a satisfying experience I will leave and not return. Time spent matters if it is against something real. If it takes 18 seconds to understand a product benefit, or if it takes 45 seconds to watch a demo video, then measure against the completion of a valuable act not total "time spent".

  2. Unique page views: Give me a break. I no longer enter your site through the homepage. I come to your site because of a link I received from a friend, colleague, trusted blog or other news/info source OR because I found the page through Google/Bing/etc. I only want to look at one page in your site, get the info I need then leave. Unique page views is like saying you want someone to try on as many pieces of clothing as possible in your retail store... and you don't. They tie up inventory, staff, change rooms and leave frustrated. You want them to try on one thing, buy it and leave as soon as possible so they can tell all their friends about their new shirt.

  3. Click through rates: Are we still giving a shit about click through rates? How valuable is a CTR if your bounce rate is 65%, and then the other 35% spend 1 minute clicking through 5 pages trying to find something relevant before they give up and leave. How about you try to measure quality of clicks, or valuable (to both brand & consumer) second clicks? If one banner or media placement has a 1% CTR with a 90% bounce rate and another has a 0.35% CTR with a 10% bounce rate what would you be spending your money on?
If you are a "senior marketer" and you care about this please rethink your career choice.

But before I finish this I need to attack the 6th largest priority. This priority is "viral campaigns". Are you f#*%ing kidding me? There is no such thing! A "viral campaign" is simply creative communications. Develop an experience that I want to share, create a video that is entertaining, make me feel something and I may send it on. You don't create "viral campaigns", you create great advertising that gets shared and then reap the rewards. Their priority should be to create advertising that builds their brand by connecting with consumers through the delivery of a valuable experience. That will get shared....Period.

This is not rocket science but apparently to the respondents of the survey it is all a mystery.