Vanity metrics are data based on nothing more than the numbers you see. Often they mean nothing without digging much deeper into your analytics. In this article, we are going to look at the four most common vanity metrics that businesses consider as a measure of success, and explain what you should be looking at instead.
Four vanity metrics you need to stop using as a measurement of success.
1. Website visitors
Shocking I know, but website visitors mean nothing in isolation. They are a vanity metric. You can have 25% increase in website visitors each month, but if they are bouncing off in their droves and not converting, then what value do they really have?
While looking at website visitors, you should also consider:
- Who are they? Are they your target audience?
- What are they doing once they are on the site? Are they converting as you have hoped?
- Which pages are haemorrhaging visitors?
- Do you need to tweak your user experience?
- When did you last audit your website to see what improvements you could make?
Only then will you get the full picture of your website visitor success.
2. Social media followers
The one that most people get way too excited about is the number of fans and followers they have on their social media profiles. This vanity metric is a tough one not to look at, but that fact of the matter is, if they aren’t your target audience or engaging with you, then they are just a number. Those numbers do not help you hit your goals. They do not get you seen. They mean nothing….on their own.
Some accounts have amassed a massive following of loyal fans, of which you can usually tell. But for businesses, unless you are building rapport with your audience, you are not going to get anything out of them.
Our top tips:
- Start slow – you don’t have to have a presence everywhere
- Stay present
- Share valuable content (not just your own)
- Respond to everything (and we mean everything!)
- Set yourself realistic goals and give clear expectations to your audience of how quickly you may get back to them
3. Email subscribers & open rates
The obsession with having a huge email list is real.
While you should 100% be cultivating a list of people that are interested in your offering DO NOT get blindsided and just go for vast numbers as it will just screw your results.
A mass influx of questionable subscribers often happens when an offer is running. These people simply sign up as they want that free thing or discount. Just be wary of this and qualify OUT those that are in it just for that initial offering.
Similarly chasing that high percentage of an open rate can be a waste of time. Think about it. How many times have you opened an email only because it was the next one in line? Or have clicked on it without thinking? It doesn’t mean that person has taken any interest, even if they have done this 20 times.
Base the success of an email on conversions not opens. Did the reader take action(s) you wanted them to? As an example, your click rate is a much better measure of success. Even better, on-site conversions that have come via your email referral path.
4. Page one rankings
Let me explain this vanity metric in a bit more detail.
Anyone can be at the top of the pops when it comes to search engines. Carry out some good SEO practices and bam, there you are. However, this doesn’t always equate to success.
Why? We all get those emails promising to position us in the top spot. What you need to ask is what keywords will you be ranking for, do those keywords attract traffic and how much online competition is there for said keywords?
It isn’t difficult for these companies to get you ranking highly when they:
- Pick a random keyword that won’t draw the right traffic
- Choose a keyword that has no or low competition (low hanging fruit right there)
- Don’t care about the traffic or whether it results in conversions
This is why you need to speak to a company that carries out a keyword analysis based on a specific brief of your offering and target audience. It can mean that there is then a mixture of high to low competition keywords with some that draw a small amount of highly relevant traffic. The key aim is to get those visitors to your site to convert as per your business goals. Not to just visit.
Once these keywords are in place, you monitor them and add more to the site via content. A decent SEO and content marketing strategy will ensure that you are flying high (eventually) and converting.
There you have it. An overview of vanity metrics that you need to stop tracking in isolation and start reviewing in detail.
If you are not sure how your website is performing or need to review your conversions, get in touch with The Typeface Group.