Futility and other feelings:
a marketing analytics study

Performance Tracking

To recap the entire previous chapter — every marketer has a different set of tools they are using, and they are most likely to use 8 different platforms. And all that traffic across those platforms has to be monitored and optimized somehow, right? 

That’s where performance tracking comes in. And that’s where all these marketers have in common regardless of the company or industry in which they work.


The vast majority of marketers track 7 KPIs and 8 additional metrics on average, while the median value is 5 for both categories.

We expected to see different numbers for people working only with social media and for people tracking e-commerce sales, but the results were strangely even. Contrary to our expectations, the number of tracked performance metrics does not depend on the type or the number of digital marketing channels that they are using. 

A hand-drawn illustration of a hand holding a lightbulb.

Yes, there were a number of respondents who reported tracking 1KPI or 30+ KPIs, but these were represented in very small percentages. So, the vast majority of people had their eye on 10-ish metrics in total — 5 KPIs and 5 other metrics of some value— regardless of what their marketing stack looks like, their role, their responsibilities, or their seniority. 

Logically, there should be an increase in the number of KPIs as the number of monitored channels increases, but that’s not what happens. Given the scope of the survey and the composition of respondents, we accepted the result and started looking for an explanation.

So what happened there? How is it possible that a lot of people are doing the same thing in the same way while working in a wide variety of different setups and environments, on different products and services? The only real thing they had in common was that they are all people.

💡 We believe that what we’re seeing here is the soft cap of the human ability to genuinely care for performance metrics. Yes, we all know that we should keep an eye on a number of different things, but that doesn’t mean that that’s what we want to do.

Although puzzling, it also felt good to confirm some of what we were trying to prove — that what we think as marketers is not exactly what we feel as people. To understand that, we then asked what people actually do with those metrics.

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