Why You Should Stop Tracking Vanity Metrics

Why You Should Stop Tracking Vanity Metrics

Do you ever go onto the performance analytics section on your social media pages or websites and look out for significant changes in performance? Some of you may do it obsessively, checking your analytics every 5 minutes waiting to see that increase or decrease in shares or open rates.  Don’t you just love it when you notice that you have a few new followers, increased comments or views on your socials and websites? 

These metrics sure do feel good to see, and yes, your marketing efforts are bearing fruit, but are they translating to any significant ROI or guiding your business objectives? We shall discuss what vanity metrics are, how to identify them and what to do instead.

What Are Vanity Metrics?

Vanity metrics are any online statistics that look impressive on paper but do not translate to any kind of meaningful business results. The data obtained from this statistical research may look spectacular, but they do not reflect a business’ main objectives e.g. increased sales or higher conversion rate

They are mainly measured in social media, content marketing, digital advertising, PR and inbound campaigns to measure performance and success of marketing efforts.

An example of this kind of metric would be reporting the 100,000 likes on your Instagram post about the new coffee flavor that you’ve just produced, but turning a blind eye to how many people have converted or made a purchase. Here, the number of likes without the conversion rate is a vanity metric.

Vanity metrics include impressions, likes, shares, comments, followers, open rates, views, traffic time on site, bounce rates, downloads,  etc. 

It is important to note that following these metrics are not a problem, but assuming that these metrics are leading to business conversions and goal achievement of the business is where the problem comes in

The real value of a vanity metric is in measuring non transactional marketing goals eg. Brand awareness, and share of voice, as well as to optimize campaigns and troubleshoot marketing problems. 

The problem in measuring vanity metrics is that they’re easy to achieve and record but not valuable to the business goals. It’s easy to take this route because you want quick results and to show quick results

Instead of using vanity metrics to measure ROI, it is better to use them to optimize your content based on performance, to know what your audience likes or doesn’t like, and provide more valuable content. They are basically more helpful in marketing goals but not business goals.

How Do You Identify Vanity Metrics?

Since you now know what vanity metrics are, you may be asking yourself how to identify them in your online performance statistics. It’s easy to miss out on vanity metrics if your marketing team does not have any specific goals that match the overall business goals. They give an impression that you are doing well, without taking into consideration conversions of the business.

These are a few signs that you may be measuring a vanity metric;

  • Lacks substance
  • Doesn’t help with any business decisions
  • Skips nuance and context
  • Often misleading
  • Doesn’t help you to improve your product or business in a meaningful way
  • Overly simplistic to measure

What To Measure Instead

As opposed to measuring vanity metrics which don’t translate to anything significant, consider measuring actionable metrics. 

Actionable metrics are clearly defined measurements that deliver valuable insights related to business objectives. These kinds of metrics help teams make informed decisions about the direction of their product or service. 

You can consider measuring things like conversion rates, items per order, year over year organic growth, number of unique visitors, click-through rate, etc.

Tips To Get Actionable Metrics

Ask yourself these questions any time you want to measure your metrics;

  • What business decision can you make with the metric?
  • Is the data a real reflection of the truth?
  • How can you intentionally reproduce the result?

Now that you have an understanding of what vanity metrics are and how to know if your business is measuring them, with no significant results in your business, you can use vanity metrics for the right reasons. Which is; measuring marketing performance, troubleshooting marketing problems, and increasing the value of your content based on engagement.

Over to you, are you tracking the right metrics? If not, you are missing out on valuable insights that could help achieve your business objectives. Contact Charleson Group today on +254707477506 and start reaping the benefits of digital marketing.

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