A common “mistake” when using statistics is to reference the parts of the site which reflects the effectfulness of the mechanics, not the marketing or brand goals.
As an example: Four minutes spent on the site gives you four minutes interacting with the brand, but it says nothing about how successful the brand has been in using those four minutes to communicate the correct story or meaning to the participant.
The problem is that if the effectfullness of the mechanics are going to become the main goal and the main success criteria of an online campaign, then the story and the meaning of the brand takes second row to the mechanical aspects of the solution, and we are back again at square one.
So we might not be turning into idiots, but statistics as it’s been used today most certainly takes the spotlight away from the idea and the brand communication and turns it on to stickiness, low thresholds and playability etc.
Take a look at this lecture by Robin Hunicke from the Lift Conference, where the topic is games and the mechanics of games. Every game can be put into a formula M+D=A. (Mechanics+Dynamics=Aesthetics). Where the solutions itself presents the mechanics, but the participation and interactions from and between participants create the dynamics. It the sum of these two parts that create the aesthetics or the essence of a game, and the reason it becomes a success or not. The same can be said for marketing activities.
– And in this environment we need to get better and more focused on measuring the aesthetics, not only the mechanics.