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Posted by: Em Rohrer 5 months ago

In digital marketing and business analytics, the pull and value of metrics is undeniable. However, not all metrics hold equal weight when being used to determine if a marketing tactic was successful. 

Numbers that give your ego a little boost and stats that may look relevant at first glance often fail to reflect genuine progress or contribute meaningfully to your marketing objectives. We call that type of data vanity metrics.

Understanding the distinction between vanity metrics and helpful insights is an important step toward making data-driven marketing decisions.

In this blog post, we explain the concept of vanity metrics, discuss their limitations, and share how to tell which metrics are valuable vs. ones that merely appeal to our vanity.

Need help with your digital marketing and don’t know where to start? Schedule a consultation with our team today.

Social Media Vanity Metrics

One of the most common spaces where you encounter vanity metrics is on your social media channels. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube all have robust tracking systems you can easily lose yourself in if you don’t identify which metrics are useful.

Ignore Follower Counts

The number of followers a brand, business, or even an individual has on a social media platform creates an impression of popularity, but doesn’t necessarily correlate with genuine engagement or conversions of followers to new customers.

Pay Attention To Shares And Comments

A much better indicator of whether your social media content is resonating with your target audience is to check to see if people are commenting and sharing your posts. 

These metrics can also help grow your audience, as platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are more likely to share content that has interaction from your followers.

Website Vanity Metrics

While it’s important to keep an eye on your website’s performance and make sure it’s ranking in relevant search results, not every metric reported by Google Analytics is relevant to your business’ growth and presence online.

Page Views And Traffic

If you’re looking at website page views and traffic in a vacuum, that data won’t create an accurate picture of your site’s performance.

While high web traffic can seem impressive, it fails to account for the quality of those website visitors or whether they lead to new business.

This is particularly true for local businesses. For example, we’ve had clients who have had huge website traffic spikes because a blog post they published gained nationwide popularity.

However, they don’t provide services nationwide, so even with that increased traffic, it didn’t translate to new customers for them.

Pay Attention To Conversion Rates

Your website’s conversion rate measures the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase, clicking to call, signing up to receive your e-newsletter, or filling out a contact form.

Tracking a conversion rate is essential because it directly reflects how effective your website is in achieving your goals.

A high conversion rate indicates that your site is successfully guiding potential customers toward valuable actions while a low conversion rate could reveal areas for improvement in user experience, content, or calls to action.

Pay Attention To Average Session Duration

This metric is often overlooked but can provide you with essential information about what your potential customers or current customers are looking for on your website.

Average session duration measures the average amount of time visitors spend on your website during a single browsing session.

A longer average session duration suggests that visitors are finding your content valuable and engaging enough to spend time exploring multiple pages or consuming information in depth. 

In contrast, a short average session duration may indicate that visitors are quickly leaving your website, potentially due to a lack of interest, unclear navigation, or irrelevant content.

Not Sure If Your Marketing Is Working?

If you haven’t been tracking the effectiveness of your marketing tactics, how can you know if they’re working the way they should?

Understanding the limitations of vanity metrics is a great first step toward understanding how to adjust your digital marketing efforts to help you better reach your business growth goals.

Have questions about digital marketing and how to get started? We’re here to help!

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