Are Marketers Collecting Too Much Data?

Amber Dawson | January 13th, 2022

Data is the engine that drives successful marketing campaigns. As a result, marketers have naturally started believing that more data = more success. 

But more doesn’t necessarily mean better.

Let’s pretend data is an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s so tempting to pile your plate high and grab a bit of everything, but what typically happens is that you end up eating a random mix of stuff and feeling sick. 

The same can be applied to data. You shouldn’t fill your datastreams with unknown sources until you know they’re a firm favourite and work together harmoniously. 

As a marketer who runs multiple campaigns in parallel, data is your main ingredient. If you let invalid data in your mix, all you’ll be cooking up is a recipe for disaster. So, don’t put anything on your plate that doesn’t compliment your overall goal.

The Dangers Of Having Too Much Data

53% of marketers claim you can never have too much data.

Let’s talk about why this can be problematic. 

Firstly, the study that statistic is taken from goes on to say that 1 in 3 marketers don’t know what to do with their data. So they’re collecting it and then not doing anything with it, which is not only a waste of time and effort but also the resources it takes to collect, store and manage it.

Worse still, many don’t think of the privacy implications of holding such vast amounts of data. As the world begins to take a privacy-first stance, businesses will quickly come under fire if they mishandle their customer data. 

However, this ‘collect everything and filter later’ mentality isn’t unique to marketing. 

Did You Know?

At least 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, and the world has become obsessed with collecting it.

The problem is few people have the training to know what to do with it. In fact, data complexity was marked as the biggest hurdle marketers currently face. 

So how can we start to understand what data is important and how to unlock its full potential?

Do More With Less Data

Just because we now have machines that are capable of processing huge amounts of data doesn’t mean we should. 

As we begin to rely on automated solutions to churn through it all and give us an outcome, the time between collecting the data and acting on it increases. 

In an environment where people boast of dynamic strategies and reactive marketing, this painfully-slow methodology becomes a ball and chain that’s holding us back.

It’s time to start doing more with less. And that starts with cutting out anything that isn’t leading you in the right direction.

How Bots Skew Analytics

We know that not everyone who clicks on our PPC ads will become a customer, and so naturally we try to filter through our ad data to understand the target audience and buyer persona.

But trying to separate the good from the bad when it comes to your data is a time-consuming task. 

This is made more difficult by the fact there are things lurking in your ad data that you really don’t want to optimize for more of. 

Removing bots and other invalid sources is a quick win for cutting through the noise of so much data. By proactively cutting out the bad, you protect your good data and make your life a lot easier. 

The Clean Data Myth

The main reason PPC Managers don’t actively exclude invalid sources is because they assume ad networks take care of it and that they’re automatically protected. Sadly, this just isn’t true. 

Ad platforms aren’t doing enough (if anything) about ad fraud because it’s not in their interest; their aim is to drive as much traffic to your ads as possible, regardless of their quality. They’re not going to knock on your door and offer you a refund – that would damage their bottom line.

Trying to get a refund for invalid traffic from ad networks is purposely frustrating and long-winded because they don’t want to deal with it. That’s not to say they won’t refund you, but you have to prove it, and even then the amount you get back is a fraction of the damage that invalid traffic will have caused. 

Bots are a huge problem for advertisers, and that’s not simply because they often don’t realize they’re an issue. 

Scrapers, click farms and other invalid sources waste your ad spend, mislead your optimizations, skew your KPIs and impact your entire marketing funnel.

Worse still, they cause you to attract more of the same: if you feed bot-infested data into an automated campaign, for example, you’re essentially asking for more invalid clicks and entering into a vicious cycle. 

By discovering what data is invalid, you can eliminate it from your considerations and pinpoint the true behaviors of your ICP. 

Data Breaches Eat Brand Reputations For Breakfast

Another factor to consider when overfilling your plate with data is the trouble you can land yourself in. 

Unless you’re dedicated a lot of time, money and resource to handling it properly, you could easily find yourself joining these companies on a list of the World’s Biggest Data Breaches.

Here, you can find details of which companies are guilty of breaching data protection laws and the fallout of each incident. Unsurprisingly, Facebook features heavily. 

British Airways were slapped with a £20 million fine (the biggest in history) for their mishandling of data back in 2018. They lost the personal data of over 400,000 staff and customers including payment information, names, addresses and password information. 

As a result, their brand reputation plummeted as consumers no longer felt they could trust them. Of course, as huge corporations do, they bounced back (only to be hit by a global pandemic, bad luck) but could the same be said if this happened to you?

The damage a data breach can have on brand reputation is huge. It’s worth considering whether this is something you want to risk for data that you just store and leave to rot. 

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