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The Danger of Average

Did you know that on average your Facebook posts reach only 16% of your Facebook fans? Source

Or that the average business email has an open rate of 20.68% and a click rate of 3.18%? Source

Or that B2B websites convert an average 1.6% of search traffic leads? Source

I bet you probably saw one of those numbers and sent it over to someone on your team before you even finished reading this sentence. Or you looked at the numbers and thought, “My business hasn’t achieved that yet. I’m obviously doing something wrong.”

And therein lies the danger of average.

Everyone is always claiming, “average this” and “average that”, but the truth is that average is a death trap for businesses. You could spend your entire day poring over and analyzing those all-encompassing averages, but you’re barking up the wrong tree. It’s time to pull your head out of your… sandbox… and look at the bigger picture.

Why? Because NO ONE is average! Average is a constantly shifting number and poring over high-level averages is a waste of your time. Realize that many of the people affecting that average number are not your target customer!

Here’s a great example. Think about ‘average visit duration’ and let’s say the average for your website is 2 minutes. Well practically nobody spends 2 minutes on your site. Some spend less than 10 seconds looking for the price on your landing page, while some spend more than 10 minutes reading a 1200 word article. Do you care about the guy who spent less than 10 seconds? Probably not because he’s not the kind of customer your business wants to work with. How about the guy who spent more than 10 minutes consuming your every word? You need to find a better way to get him to convert!

So why are you worrying about the broad, average number of 2 minutes? Trying to increase or decrease that overall number will only waste time and is just another danger of average. The only ‘average’ you should be concerned about is the one regarding that specific segment of your target customer – those 10-minute plus visitors – who obviously like your content but need that extra push to convert. That is the kind of targeted average data you should be working with, not overall average.

That’s why it’s important to “find your average” or define your own benchmarks. Don’t just jump in and accept the overall average that a computer spits out or an industry expert provides you. Determine your own target segment, dissect the information until you find that group’s specific numbers, and use that to make changes and build your business.

As always, success starts with segmenting and targeting customers and setting forth to achieve goals with numbers that YOU set in place. So screw averages. By intelligently targeting the numbers that really matter to your business, you will be successful!