We’re starting a new year and a new decade (although I think the latter is debatable) so it’s a great time to make some resolutions. Let’s eat less junk food, exercise more often, and stop making the same digital marketing mistakes we made in 2019! Here are four things you can do to be a better marketer in 2020.

Resolution #1: Focus more time on fewer metrics

When I started my digital marketing career twenty years ago there were three main advertising metrics that I looked at – clicks, impressions, and click-through rate (CTR). Those were simpler times. Nowadays there are hundreds of metrics that we’re actively measuring. This can complicate how we determine success and more importantly, how we’re optimizing our advertising campaigns.

It’s not uncommon for a marketing team to look at a dozen or more metrics when analyzing performance. Inevitably they determine the need to optimize metrics that can have an inverse relationship. For example, click-through rate and conversion rate. In order to optimize for conversion rate, for example ecommerce sales, you want to be more selective about the traffic you’re driving to your website. Optimizing for CTR means you want as many users to click on your ad as possible. Trying to increase both metrics at the same time could be an exercise in futility.

Resolution #2: Stop wasting money on banner advertising

This one might be considered controversial by some of my peers. Are there situations where banner advertising can be effective? Maybe. By and large though, banners are often blocked, “viewed” by bots (fake website traffic), or easily ignored.

A couple of years ago, Procter and Gamble, the world’s biggest advertiser, cut digital advertising by more than $100 million. The cuts were made mostly to banner advertising that could appear on sites with bad content (not brand safe) or that weren’t viewed by humans. Eliminating these ads had zero effect on their sales.

For many years of my life, I wouldn’t have had a place to live or a car to drive if it weren’t for banner advertising. But now, even I use ad-blockers whenever I can. Sorry banner ads, we’re breaking up. And it’s not me, it’s you.

For marketers who are looking to increase brand awareness or perception, digital advertising dollars are much better spent in video channels like YouTube or on social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. These channels provide an engaged audience and ad formats that can break through the clutter.

Resolution #3: Don’t make your marketing campaigns about you

When we start paying too much attention to metrics and internal stakeholders, we can lose sight of the most important element of any marketing initiative – the customer. You should make it as easy as possible to do business with your company, regardless of how marketing campaign performance is measured internally.

For example, you might have two ways that customers can reach out to your company, either through a contact form on your website or a phone number. The marketing team can’t track phone calls as well as they can track web forms. Because they’re being evaluated based on the number of customers they can trace back to their efforts, they take the phone number off the website. This action increases the number of contact forms submitted (because customers have no choice) but overall it decreases the number of customers who contact your company and creates a poor experience. If you’re looking very narrowly at your marketing results, this mistake could easily be seen as an improvement.

Resolution #4: Use a mobile-first approach

Each year, the average adult is spending less time watching TV, listening to the radio, reading newspapers, and using the Internet on their computer. Is it because people are spending less time interacting with media? Nope, not at all. People spend more time with media today than they did at any other time in history. The supercomputer in everyone’s pocket is replacing the time that was once spent with other media channels and even distracting us when we do sit down to watch some television.

A recent eMarketer report predicts that the average adult will spend close to four hours per day on their mobile device in 2020. Does that mean your company needs a mobile app? Probably not. There are over two million apps available in the Apple app store and most of them don’t get used. But it does mean that you should probably take a mobile-first approach to your website design and your advertising strategy.

If you choose not to exercise more or eat better in 2020, I’m fine with that. Frankly, it’s none of my business. Digital marketing, on the other hand, is literally my business. Let’s all be better this year!

Originally published by the Rochester Business Journal