Organic follows, impressions, Klout scores, even bounce rates — the marketing playbook is an evolving beast; but just because something once worked doesn’t mean it always will.
We see a lot of businesses waste their time focusing on marketing metrics that just aren’t worth it (not anymore, at least). We know you’ve got a lot on your plate, so to help you avoid spinning your wheels, consider the following when deciding what metrics are worth it for you and your business.
Pinpointing your objectives
Before launching a campaign, you need to identify the marketing metrics that align with your objectives. Creating a strong campaign means that all of the components — including copy, creative, ad bid types, and target audience — need to focus on reaching these goals.
Let’s say your goal is to increase sales. You’ve been tracking impression metrics and hit 100,000 impressions by the end of your campaign. Much rejoicing ensues. Champagne is flowing! You’re feeling like a champion! But on the flip side, the CEO is glaring at you because the campaign failed to convert to sales.
Impression metrics aren’t the numbers that your executive team will care about here. The key aim of the campaign was to get people’s wallets out, not just attract eyeballs.
The truth about vanity metrics
While they’re impressive on paper, vanity metrics won’t move the needle in terms of your business objectives. They include data such as:
- Likes and follows
- Ad impressions
- Audience overviews
- Total pageviews
These are shallow metrics. While it’s pretty exciting seeing those graphs shoot up to the top right corner of your charts, they don’t give you anything concrete to work with.
So, wait — are vanity metrics useful at all?
Vanity metrics are just one layer on a big tracking cake, if you will. Many times, for metrics to be truly useful (and delicious), you need to consume multiple layers at once.
Say for example, your campaign generates a huge number of total pageviews. It’s not the pageview metric itself that’s important, but the effect of those pageviews. Instead, ask:
- What deeper information can I extract from those metrics?
- Was there a high bounce rate?
- How much time did visitors spend on the page?
- Did they visit other parts of the site?
- Did they convert in any way?
If pageview metrics can help you better understand and segment your audience for future campaigns, or teach you some lessons about your CTAs or landing page copy, then you can start to draw some value out of the data to make it worth your while.
What about social media metrics?
Social media platforms are one of the main culprits when it comes to vanity metrics. Businesses that have tunnel vision with their social analytics can spend a lot of time and effort tracking these metrics and getting little in the way of real value out of them.
Building your likes and follower counts was once a popular tactic for increasing conversions, but that has long since ceased to be the case. Facebook alone has 2 billion monthly users now, and most of the likes that come your way don’t mean much. With the decline of organic reach on social, there’s a good chance that many of your likers aren’t even seeing your content, or worse … they might not even be human.
Social media is a great way to get your message out there, but a lot of the time, audiences coming in from social are fickle and less committed to your brand. While shares, mentions, comments, and likes are all great ways to measure social engagement, depending on your campaign goals, there are usually more important metrics out there.
Identifying actionable metrics
The metrics you should be focusing your attention on are the ones that give you a clear context to guide your future marketing decisions. My click-through rate was high, but my time on page was low; was I delivering what I promised my audience in my ad/social post? People are visiting the site and spending time there, but not converting; is my value proposition strong enough? Are my CTAs relevant?
Once you’ve identified the key measures of performance for your company and your marketing strategy, these are the metrics you need to be tracking relentlessly.
Actionable metrics help you to analyze what’s working so you can adjust and improve your strategy in order to reach your goals. These metrics might involve:
Whichever metrics you decide to focus on, make sure you measure what matters. The data you collect needs to specifically pinpoint ways you can increase your ROI and revenue (or both!); baseless distractions on a graph will only get in the way of you reaching your goals.
The world of marketing metrics is overwhelming. There are many to choose from, and a lot of them will have you wasting your time tracking things that don’t give you an accurate measure of how successful (or unsuccessful) your campaigns have been.
If the metrics you’re tracking don’t ultimately matter to your campaign goal, they might not be the right ones to spend time on. Instead, focus on actionable metrics that directly tie in with your objectives. Your CEO (and CFO) will thank you for it.