How to avoid vanity metrics by picking the right conversion goals for your business

Too often when we’re having those initial chats with clients, we ask about their conversion set-up and get a blank look back. If we’re going to work on a business’s website, we need to know what metrics to track our progress with.


Now, we love getting deep in the data over here at TFG, but there is also such a thing as too much – too much data, too much irrelevant information. A 600% increase in social media followers is fantastic progress, but if you never make any sales or get any engagement from those followers – it’s looking less than ideal. Whereas a 20% increase in click-through-rate could result in a noticeable bump in sales.

So, let’s nail your conversion goals to start collecting relevant data.

Identifying Meaningful Conversion Goals

If you don’t track any conversions, you’re running your business blind. Yes, if you have a basic analytics set up you’ll see users, pageviews, bounce rate, and so on. But what are these people doing on your site? What do you want them to do when they are on your website? Not knowing these, means you can’t work out where things are going wrong and where you can make improvements. Without clearly defined conversion goals, businesses risk wasting time and resources on activities that yield minimal return on investment.

This is where defining conversion goals becomes really important. They need to:

Understanding Vanity Metrics

Vanity metrics are goals that don’t actually provide meaningful results for your business. These are things like increased traffic, social media follows, newsletter subscribers. They are all great things to be achieving growth in, but are they actually translating into sales?

You’ll often hear the phrase actionable metrics vs vanity metrics and it’s a good way to differentiate them. Actionable metrics offer clear guidance on what steps to take to improve performance or achieve a desired outcome. They are typically relevant to the core objectives and goals of a business or project.

Tips for Avoiding Vanity Metrics

How to Set Up Conversion Goals in GA4

Once you’ve determined your conversion goals, you need to make sure you can track them. Setting them up in GA4 is the best way to start, as this way you can look at different pages and areas of the site and see how they are performing against different conversions.

Helpfully, Google recently changed their terminology from “conversions” to “key events”. So in this blog, we’ll use these two interchangeably.

Define Conversion Events:

Test and Verify:

Keeping Conversion Goals Front of Mind

Setting conversion goals is just the first step; maintaining focus on these goals requires ongoing commitment. You should be tracking conversions against major areas of the website, and stepping in if conversion rates begin to fall. Don’t just set them up and forget they exist – use them to underpin your strategy wherever you can.

Review Existing Conversions

If the one thing you take away from this blog is to review your existing conversion goals, we’ll take that as a win. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut of tracking the “big” numbers, when there are far more important data points that could be used. If you do follow the whole process, we know your website and business will be all the stronger for it.

Plus, getting your conversions set up properly will help your sales across the whole funnel. What funnel? Dive in here to see how to nail full-funnel marketing.