10 Fatal Flaws in Mass Market Analytics

October 13, 2022
Brian Ryu


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Mass market analytics platforms have been around over ten years, and the one-size-fits all approach is becoming more and more obsolete. How businesses should be approaching data insights is changing rapidly and if you’re still using these tools you’re missing key components that are likely killing your growth. Here are the 10 fatal flaws in mass market analytics you need to know. 

1. One-Size-Fits-All Doesn’t Work

By definition mass market analytics are a one-size-fits-all, used by tens of millions of businesses. There is very little flexibility in the reports or data that you’re getting. This means you are looking at the same reports as completely different businesses and websites, different business models, different industries, different traffic sources and different priorities. This is why you will struggle to extract any real meaningful insights that will help you make decisions. 

2. There is No Competitive Advantage 

The digital space is extremely fast paced and constantly evolving. Cutting through the noise with campaigns requires constantly evolving strategy, moving with the times and adapting to developments like new social platforms, AI technology or privacy laws. This also applies to data and analytics. If you are using a mass market tool that has barely changed in 10 years, do you expect to be getting the best insights to lead your decisions? If you are using the same reports and analysis that all of your competitors are using, how can you expect to get ahead? Data and insights are so important that that analytics presents one of the biggest opportunities to gain a competitive advantage.

3. They are Often Not Compliant With Privacy Laws

Mass market tools are run by the bigger corporations. These guys move slowly and are not flexible - and this almost always applies to the data centers (where your data is stored). If you’re a company that operates in the EU, or with visitors in a country with a GDPR or similar law in place, and your data is being held outside of the EU, it probably fails to meet the requirements for compliance. To be fair to Adobe Analytics in this respect, it is possible to choose to host the data in the EU. However, this is not the case with Google Analytics or GA4. This affects these tools right now, but thinking ahead, the trajectory is for these laws to potentially get even stricter.  

4. You Need An Impartial Source of Truth

You are probably relying on the same platform that is selling you ads to provide the analytics telling you if the campaign worked or not. This seems a bit backwards, right? Ad platforms are marking their own homework and getting all the A’s. This is a big issue when you’re trying to decide where to apply a finite budget; Facebook, Google, Bing and everyone else are all claiming the same conversions. This is where attribution analysis tools are needed to delve deeper and give you the truth so you can optimize your budget.

5. Advanced Customization is Impossible or Needs ‘Hacks’

Mass market tools are poorly suited to advanced customization. Every business has its own unique set of needs. If you want to create your own metrics or dimensions you are severely limited in what’s possible. For example, if you are an ecommerce company and you want to show ROI by channel:

  • Can you upload custom cost data for Organic activities and content? 
  • Can you assign profit margins by product? 
  • Can you even create an ROI metric to display in a chart? 

The answer is probably no. If you can’t even chart ROI, what use is your analytics? You can’t get basic budget insights. These tools fail at the most basic level and so businesses can never advance to the stage of using Machine Learning for more advanced analysis. 

6. Data Needs To Be Future Proofed 

Bigger players are the targets for specific action when it comes to privacy crackdowns. Whilst GDPR has plenty of gray language within it, a flat out ban on GA has happened in 3 countries - so far - and more are likely to follow suit soon. If you were using a mass market platform and had all your past data sat with it, and it gets banned, think of the disruption that could cause to your business.  

7. User Level Data is Prohibited Unnecessarily 

The likes of Google and Adobe are more sensitive to perception and bad press, understandably, and this can lead to policies on privacy which are not required by laws, but are put in place to manage public perception. At the same time, this harms anyone using the platform as their data quality is reduced severely. For example, GA4’s privacy policy prevents any user level tracking, even though this is not against even the GDPR (you can track user level with consent). If your business is serious about actionable data, you need to analyze at the user level. 

8. ITP & Plugins Put Big Holes in Your Data

Mass-market tools are bigger, much easier targets for Ad-Blockers & Intelligent Tracking Prevention. It is easier for these to be identified and blocked by users automatically using plugins or by browsers, putting big holes in your data.

9. Specialist Analysis Features Are Missing

Big web analytics systems lack important specialisms such as consideration for LTV, in-depth attribution modeling and so on. They take very top level data points, which can lead users to make poor business decisions. Some forward thinking businesses may have separate tools for this analysis, however the problem is they plug into the mass market tools for data collection, and perform the analysis on flawed data. It is important to use one system that does it all end-to-end.

10. B2B Companies Are Left Without Any Meaningful Data & Revenue Attribution is Impossible

With limited integration capabilities and restrictions on user-level tracking, mass market analytics platforms are completely unsuitable for B2B companies. For example, they will give user numbers, returning user numbers (with some accuracy) and session counts, but how useful is that information in reality? If you want to understand the buying stage of each visitor (Prospect, MQL, SQL, SAL, Customer) or the account they belong to, and chart these, you can't. 

More importantly, understanding revenue attribution for B2B is impossible. The majority of mass market analytics do not allow you to tie revenue closed offline by a sales team to an online, multi-session user journey. For example, data housed in the CRM cannot be tied to the specific conversion event that drove that revenue so simple channel level ROI or revenue can’t be visualized. This is a huge flaw, rendering them useless for any B2B company serious about being data led.

The Bottom Line

Stop wasting time on mass market analytics systems and find better tools catered specifically to your industry, or that are flexible enough to provide you what you need to measure your marketing. This will mean investing in your data, but the ROI will be worth every penny to your business. Data-driven insights will allow you to create more engaging and effective marketing campaigns that will resonate with your potential customers and deliver ROI. Data can be complex and confusing, which is why having the right tool to help you optimize your performance is key to being ahead of the competition. 

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