Avoid the pitfall of Vanity Metrics

Today’s marketing analytics are powerful. Marketers now have access to all kinds of reports, from things like page views and number of fans to more revealing ones involving leads and sales. With report-able analytics like ‘number of followers’ and ‘time on site’ available, it’s easy to get caught up in data that, more often than not, has no impact on your bottom line.

These are often referred to as vanity metrics – things you can measure that don’t really matter. They’re easily changed or manipulated but they don’t bear any correlation with numbers that speak of business success.

People often use vanity metrics because they don’t know that these numbers don’t really count, or because vanity metrics can make you feel like you’re getting results – even though they don’t really tell you anything about your business health, growth or driving revenue.

What really matters

Each business will have a different set of metrics which are relevant to them. Once these are defined, they should be mapped to actions. For example, think of the steps from the potential customers first experience, through to making the purchase decision.

Concentrate on actionable data instead of focusing on vanity metrics for your digital marketing campaigns. Consider:

Conversions – are visitors to your website completing desired actions that bring them closer to a sale?

Conversion rate – are clicks on your ads actually driving conversions or wasting money?

Cost-per-acquisition – is the cost that is being paid to acquire new customers profitable?

Time on site – are visitors spending a useful amount of time on the website looking around?

Repeat visitors – are past visitors returning to the site to continue browsing or contacting the company?

Bounce rate – are visitors leaving the website from certain pages?

Sales and profit – fundamentally, is your business actually making money from its online activities?

All of these metrics provide far more actionable feedback than simply how many visitors came to the site or clicked on your ad. It’s important to note that none of these should be viewed in isolation either – rather use them together to get a better picture of how your business is performing.

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