4 Vanity Metrics You Need to Avoid Using

Marketing Insights for Professionals

Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, February 18, 2019

Vanity metrics may look good but they provide very little value to your marketing campaigns. Here are four you need to stop using today.


Vanity metrics look good but provide very little to your marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, if you're blindsided by them, you can end up wasting time on improving aspects that offer very little value in terms of your business or marketing strategy.

Here are four vanity metrics that you need to stop using:

1. Social media followers

Although having thousands or even millions of Twitter, Facebook or Instagram followers may look impressive, this metric does nothing to show you how much people are interacting with the content you're sharing.

Social media followers can be purchased if an individual or brand is willing to splash the cash so it's more important to look at engagement metrics that measure how people are reacting to what you're posting. You also need to bear in mind that your followers may be made up of a handful of different personas. Just focusing on the basic figure won't tell you this.

Doing research into whether your followers are returning customers, or new visitors will tell you much more about your social channels and how they work for your brand than follower count.

Measure instead: Social shares

2. Website traffic spikes

Huge spikes in traffic heading to your website can feel like a victory but it's normally a red herring. In the majority of cases, it's almost impossible to understand why this sudden surge came from. With so many factors that may have provoked the change - social media shares, an advert, seasonal changes etc. - it's tough to guess what may have happened. This makes it virtually impossible to replicate and fairly useless to your marketing campaign.

Traffic also acts as a distraction from more important metrics. People simply landing on your website means very little if you don't know what they're doing or thinking while they're there. You need to understand user behavior, what brought them to your site, and what they're hoping to find.

Measure instead: Conversions

3. Pageviews

This is often misleading because pageviews can show that you're creating great content that people want to read, but on its own, it's not enough information to make a proper judgement. It doesn't tell you whether readers enjoyed the content, got the answers they needed or have improved their opinion of your brand.

Instead, look at metrics that help you find this out. Whether you look at heat maps, social shares or time on page, these will all provide more guidance about how readers reacted to your content than simply focusing on pageviews.

Measure instead: Bounce rate

4. Newsletter subscribers

Measuring the number of newsletter subscribers is an outdated way of gauging the success of your marketing efforts. This is because, like page views, it's often viewed in isolation without considering the other aspects that matter when it comes to how people are interacting with the content you're pushing out.

Instead of looking at the pure number of subscribers you have, focus on the number of new leads they generate for you each month. Marketing should ensure that the newsletter content is optimized, with clear CTAs and strategy to each issue. If you're getting a high number of new leads via the newsletter, experiment with sending it out more frequently.

Measure instead: New leads

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