As a business intelligence consultant, I spend most of time looking at other people’s information. But as a small business owner, I do occasionally get to look at my own information. And when I do, it reminds me of a basic rule: Information is worthless if you can’t do anything with it.

Case in point: We use HubSpot to run our website. And HubSpot provides lots of metrics. But many of the metrics don’t really help me. For example, HubSpot tells me where my traffic is coming from. (It’s easier to use than Google Analytics in this respect.) It can tell me whether traffic is coming from organic search or social media.

When I checked out those numbers recently, it showed me that of the 5500 views we got last month, 300 or so came from LinkedIn—which is way higher than we’ve ever had before. Sounds great! But here’s the rub:

  • After a spike in early October, we’ve returned to a more regular rate of about 10 views a week or 40-50 per month coming from LinkedIn. So, I wonder, is this just a technical glitch?
  • We publish links to our blog posts on LinkedIn. And I can see folks clicking on the links in the social media posts. But the number of views of those posts is nowhere near the number of clicks I got from HubSpot. So what’s that all about?
  • HubSpot can tell me where the views came from. And it can tell me which pages got lots of views. But I can’t see which pages were viewed from where. So, I have no idea where those LinkedIn members wound up. Which means I can’t figure out what I can do to reproduce that spike in views if indeed it was real.

I discussed this with my marketing consultant. She said most folks are just happy to see their numbers go up. But as a finance and BI guy, I’m only happy if numbers go up in two situations:

  • The numbers are in my bank account.
  • The numbers can tell me what to do (or not do) to get better results.

But if I don’t have more money, and I don’t what action to take, the number is meaningless.


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