Tracking, analysis, and measurement is essential for any good marketing strategy. Very often, it is tempting to announce statistics like 10,000 registered users, downloads or mentions per day. 

Though these metrics may seem to indicate that your business is gaining traction, they aren’t the ones that you need to be tracking. Because if you track these ones, you’re misconstruing them for fundamental growth marketing metrics. These elements are called vanity metrics, and mean what their name suggests. Let’s dive in to understand what these metrics are. 

What are vanity metrics?

Vanity metrics are units of measurement that give you positive feedback about your brand but don’t have much to contribute to your business goals. These include page views, subscribers, social media followers and others that don’t measure your business growth. The reason you need to instead look at things like the number of conversions you’re getting or the traffic to your website is because these are data driven metrics that give you insights into your future marketing decisions. 

The issue with these flashy analytics is that they seem so appealing on paper but don’t give you the direction that you need to head in for your business. If you base your success and marketing campaigns on these metrics, then your business won’t do well. To avoid circumstances like these, let’s look at understanding the five most common vanity metrics and why your business doesn’t need them. 

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1. Social media impressions

While a large number of views or followers can be good, followers can also be bought, be fake or have no value. Is your audience composed of your loyal followers or is it made up of bots and old employees? A large following on your social media accounts often implies that you are posting valuable content, but on the contrary you need to be aware that you may have followers that are not of value to your business. 

Although the number of impressions count that you see may not indicate anything in particular, you can head in the right direction if you check the number of shares your posts receive or its overall engagement rate. Assess the quality of your audience to see if they actually care about engaging with your brand – if they do, then the followers you have are of value! 

Try looking at the conversion rate generated from your social media accounts. Tracking these elements gives you a clear view of your brand authority and validates your post authenticity. You can track these real time metrics using UTM parameter enabled links including campaign source, name, content, term, and medium parameters. 

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2. A spike in leads

Leads are significant elements of a sales funnel. A sharp increase in the leads is quite common when you run advertising campaigns. The high lead volume may look way better than it actually is though. While lots of leads are good, it doesn’t mean anything if they’re not qualified leads. Have leads that won’t actually engage with or buy from your business will reflect poorly on your conversions and affect your sales team’s confidence likewise.  

But don’t worry. It is not rare to get a variety of leads that are fake, self-promotion or that will not convert. Your skill lies in filtering them and reaching out to the genuine ones. One good technique is to look at the numbers of people that actively convert, and comparing that number to your overall leads. 

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3. A spike in website traffic

Most businesses think their marketing team has done something amazing when the website traffic spikes up, right? However, this might not always be the case. Increase in web traffic is a good thing, but tracking the exact elements that gave rise to the traffic surge may be difficult. The reason for this is there are many factors involved in a marketing campaign. Research reveals that over 61% marketers believe that traffic generation is their primary challenge. 

As a marketer, you need to reason this spike in traffic out: was it a social post from three years ago that went viral? Did an influencer mention your brand? Did an ad campaign get big results? Or is there another effort that you’ve failed to recognize that did this? 

You might, however, spend time trying to replicate all the procedures you’ve implemented all over again. This won’t work from you unless you can track where the success came from. One method to solve this problem is a landing page with a UTM that determines where traffic customers came from and why. 

But the main point to keep in mind is that when you witness a surge in your website traffic, it’s not about the traffic, it’s about the percentage of that traffic that converts. Analyzing how much of your overall traffic converts is the key element to understanding your progress. 

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4. Email open rate

Email open rate is a good metric for tracking the effectiveness of your subject line and time sent. However, it isn’t good for gauging conversions from your email campaigns as there are many technical limitations that may occur. For instance, for an email to be counted as an open email, your recipients should have loaded the images. On the other hand, your recipients may have image loading disabled, so even if they open the email, it would not be counted. 

Studies show that email marketing campaigns witness a 17% open rate and 4% click through rate. It is the click through rate that counts here more than the open rate. To avoid such technical limitations, focus on a single unique CTA that attracts prospects to your website in your email campaign. Measuring that CTA for your campaign will help you track the progress more accurately. Additionally, try looking at the accuracy of your CTA clickthrough rate, and see if it can be adjusted for more clicks. Even better yet, see who goes on to convert after clicking it.

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5. Subscriber numbers

It’s easy to track who signed up to get your newsletter, blog updates or trial software. But how do you know these people are actually engaging with your brand or have gone on to convert? It is not uncommon for people to subscribe to your newsletters or other content products and end up not even taking a look at them. It is important to understand that the number of subscribers doesn’t really give you any specific viewpoint. 

Instead, track how many people return to your homepage, product page, blog or a specific page each day. These people are more likely to be active users. One technique to help you work this out is by using the visitor recency and visitor loyalty metrics from Google Analytics. You also need to keep an eye on the exact content elements that helped in converting quality leads and their actions when they were on your website prior to conversion. 

Measuring repeat customers and their retention rate will help if your business is in the ecommerce segment. Amazon’s subsidiary, Zappos, is one of the finest examples of how measuring repeat customers as a growth metric helped them to accelerate their business. Earning about two billion dollars in revenue, it claimed that about 75% of their sales revenue is generated from repeat customers.

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Become the master of data

Data is your ticket to audience insights, interests, behaviors and more! This information can help you turn your marketing strategy into one that is able to deliver the right message in the right place at the right time quickly and efficiently – presenting you as a business that truly cares about its customers. Don’t let these opportunities escape you! Learn more in Data and Web Analytics: The Complete Marketer’s Manual

Concentrating on metrics that matter is of prime importance. Don’t work with vanity metrics, and instead ensure that the elements that you focus on avoid ambiguity and give you clear insights for your key future growth marketing strategies. You need to question the value addition your business is gaining from the metrics you choose to focus on. 

Finding the right things to track to help increase conversions isn’t easy. The team at Growth Marketing Genie can help you focus on key actionable metrics required for your business to accelerate. With our expert team of marketing strategists, you can rest assured that we will make your marketing matter! 

Reach out to us today to find out more!

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