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vanity metrics vs actionable metrics




there s one good read about marketing that i came

There’s one good read about marketing that I came across with

that gives that “makes-sense-to-me” in the thought bubble. I can

go over the post a few times and nod with satisfaction. The post

from Hubspot discusses being critical of which metrics are

measuring your marketing campaigns performance vis-a-vis your

marketing goals and which ones are just cake toppers. Actionable

is the keyword.

We are all familiar with social media followers, page views, and

subscribers. At first glance, they make your performance look

promising, but whether they are giving you the real deal is what

you are yet to find out. These metrics are what termed as “vanity

metrics.” They make you look good but aren’t really moving the

needle when it comes to the context of your business goals;

neither do they have a bearing on your marketing decisions.

Marketers should not be blinded by their glossy surface but

instead, focus their resources on working on and measuring

metrics that are actionable.

janet rounds up the five vanity metrics that

Janet rounds up the five vanity metrics that should be avoided and the actionable

metrics that should be tracked and measured instead.

Facebook Fans – There has been a decline of 20% on the

engagement rates for branded Facebook Pages in the last year. This

can be attributed to the saturation of companies who’ve posted on

Facebook that share the space on users’ newsfeeds. This results in

fewer instances that users see or read content from one company.

For all we know, there may be other intent for clicking “Like”, and there

is a likelihood that they never return to the Page or read the content

on their newsfeed.

A more actionable metric is to measure the

Engagement Rate by using Facebook Insights. This free

analytics tool analyses which posts have the highest

engagement (shares and comments) and impressions.

A high engagement level is indicative of a high

EdgeRank score (EdgeRank is equivalent to SEO for

Facebook newsfeeds.) Once you have identified your

high-performing posts, then you can replicate it with

other posts.

twitter followers this time we debunk the saying

Twitter Followers – This time, we debunk the saying, “There is strength in numbers”

because it doesn’t mean anything, regardless how many followers you have. People follow

you even if they do not know you. They may have other reasons other than being interested

in your business, or they just want to be followed back. Janet shared the following tips:

By adding a “+” to the end of any link or using, you can see who

retweets your content and identify influential followers. You can also check out their most

shared links by using Cadmus.

A more actionable metric is to check who are your

competitor’s followers. By comparing followers of your

competitor with yours, you can see who aren’t

following you yet and check which type of content they

are following. Also, don’t be left out, follow and

participate in conversations within your industry.

Lastly, you can tap competitor followers and show

them what value following you can benefit them.

blog page views without knowing what happens

Blog Page Views – Without knowing what happens after a visitor lands on site, blog

page views do not really mean anything, especially if your campaign goal is conversion.

A more actionable metric is determined by bounce rate and social shares. Bounce rate

is the percentage of people who enter your site, made no clicks, impression or

engagement of whatsoever and leaves. If you have a high bounce rate, that is bad for

your site. On the one hand, you need to be careful what behaviour should be considered

as bounce rate. For example, a visitor lands on your site and the content satisfies what

she’s is looking for; she may leave the site without having to visit another page on the


Be reminded that our main focus is to get conversions. In

Google Analytics, you can use the segment “Sessions

with Conversion” and “Sessions with Transactions” to

effectively measure how close we are to that target. By

focusing on keeping readers’ attention, having a good

call-to-action and linking your content to other pages in

your site, you can decrease your bounce rate. Search

engines consider social shares in ranking pages, so it also

makes sense to track social shares of your content by

your readers.

email open rate is measured by emails opened

Email Open Rate is measured by Emails Opened / Emails

sent – Bounces. The open rate measures the effectivity of

subject and the timing of the email. However, some email

client requires that images be loaded to count as an open,

and some users have images turned off by default. So this

measure may not be as accurate as you expect it to be.

It is rather more actionable to focus on your call-to-action

(CTA) in your email and measure the click-through rates

(CTR) of the links in your email. It may be a CTA to download

something or subscribe to your newsletter. High open rates

are indicative of high lead generation potential.

number of subscribers or product users tracking

Number of Subscribers or Product Users – Tracking the number of

people who have accepted a free trial or agreed to subscribe to

newsletter does not equate to actual conversion. Emails may sit

unread on inboxes and people may not be actually using free demos

until they have expired.

A more actionable approach is to track how much active users you

have. There are metrics such as visitor loyalty or recency in Google

Analytics that are more indicative of conversion than the volume of

free trials or subscriptions. Repeat customers and retention numbers

are metrics that will effectively measure conversion rates in e-

commerce sites.

furthermore tracking which content generated more

Furthermore, tracking which content generated more leads that

have converted and the actions that these leads had taken in

their buying journey before they became customers provides a

clear picture of what works for your business. 

One way to extract data is by adding tracking links to your CTAs so you can see how

your lead moved from one point to another as they travel their journey before they

made a purchase. Repeat this process until you have refined the best CTAs that bring

you more conversions, and ultimately more revenue.

Before transitioning your metrics, it is ideal to review your goals and define them well

and that your team have agreed as to which data to use in measuring if your strategy is

performing to achieve your goals.