Futility and other feelings:
a marketing analytics study


We compiled a list of frustrations marketers can encounter at the workplace. Participants were required to pick at least three things that resonate the most with their workplace, but some picked many more than others. Take a look at the complete list with results below:

37% Futile work. Feels like no one's reading those reports.
32% Checking metrics online is usually a chore.
31% Huge, endless spreadsheets. And nightmares about spreadsheets.
28% Copy/paste numbers from one app to another, again and again.
27% Numbers are off or don't add up in different apps.
26% Too many traffic channels to keep an eye on.
26% No clarity, goals are not set and lines are blurred.
25% Data is often out of context.
24% Short deadlines for reporting.
23% It takes forever to make a report.
23% Reporting is prone to errors.
22% Irrelevant metrics are requested as a part of the report.
20% No visibility, I'm often missing key info from my colleagues.
16% Making errors when transferring numbers from one app to another.
14% Wonky native apps. Who's building those things?
14% Outdated insights in apps and/or reports.

How does it look to you? After looking at all of the metrics, channels, and reporting problems that people have, we never expected that what bothers them the most is that no one is reading their reports. Perceived futility of the reporting process seems like quite an issue — as it’s a reality for 37% of survey participants. But it’s actually just the first in a long list of marketing frustrations. Ugh…

Of course, we expected that checking metrics online was going to be near the top of that list, as the growing number of channels alone can cause the metric monitoring experience to be quite frustrating. And if you have multiple accounts or brands to tend to, it takes a lot of time just to load everything up. As we mentioned at the beginning of this report, one marketer handles around 8 different platforms at the time. So multiply that by 2 or 3 accounts per brand and checking metrics online can easily steal away an hour a day.

A hand-drawn illustration of a hand holding a pen over a line graph with an upward trend arrow.

And don’t get us started on spreadsheets. We hate them just a bit more than your average marketer. Spreadsheets and a multitude of platforms are what got us riled up to make Grasp Metrics in the first place. Without a sweet tool like Grasp, the process is clunky, complicated, and it’s so easy to make mistakes without even noticing.

Reporting is a thankless job, so when you think about it, it’s no wonder that people are frustrated in the order listed above. You do all that work and your report goes from a printer and into a bin — or a shredder? There must be a better way to do things, and there must be a better way to utilize your knowledge, skills, and time. And we’re on a mission to figure it out.

Looking at some of the segments, we found that different groups have a variety of issues, but the perceived futility of the reporting process always stays near the top of the list. And that’s something that no amount of technical solutions can fix. If nothing else, faster reporting can even lead to more reporting that nobody cares about. We need to find a way to change habits, not to enable them.

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