Vanity metrics make you feel good without really moving the needle when it comes to achieving your business goals, vanity metrics include data such as social media followers, registered followers, page views, subscribers, and other similar analytics that are satisfying on paper, but not particularly actionable.
Instead of getting caught up in the low-hanging fruit, ask yourself: “What do these stats mean? Should I continue doing something, increase the time or money I spend on a certain channel, or even stop doing something altogether?” these are questions actionable metrics solve.
Some Examples of Vanity Metrics;
This is one of the most popular vanity metrics out there. On the surface, page views look great. “People are visiting our site! They love us!”
This is how vanity metrics seduce you away from the measurements that really matter. You can’t know from these stats what caused that spike – something you did? Something someone else did? Maybe you got some attention from an influencer, or a mention on a high-authority site – or maybe something random and unrepeatable.
Alternative Metrics: Bounce Rate / Sessions
Instead of focusing on views, we should focus on the quality of those views and their behaviour, an alternative metrics is the bounce rate / Sessions.
Bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit one page on your website and leave without clicking further into the site. In other words: high bounce rate = bad content/wrong target audience.
A declining bounce rate is a great metric to report because it suggests your website is growing in its interest to your visitors.
Sessions refer to a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame. Keep visitors’ attention with a good call-to-action (CTA), as well as links to other content and other parts of your site.
If you are driving a lot of paid traffic to your website, then you might want to pay attention to direct and branded organic traffic to see if your paid efforts result in more people intentionally seeking out the brand by name.
It can be a great ego boost if millions of people follow your brand’s new Twitter account and seem interested in your product, if you are a model, for example, and companies won’t book you for a job unless you have 100,000 followers on Instagram (this is a real thing, by the way) — then this might be an important metrics
But that asides, if you actually want to use social platforms in any meaningful, applicable way, follows don’t mean much if those follows don’t translate into product sales or engagement.
Alternative: Social Shares/Engagement:
Building your audience is an essential part of social media marketing, but building the right audience that will actually take the next steps you need them to in order to generate real results, is significantly more valuable on the long run.
The right followers are the ultimate advocates for a brand, how well are your followers engaging with your content. Followers tend to share contents they like, leading to more awareness for your brand and validation for potential visitors.
If you are looking for increased awareness for your brand, you’ll do better to monitor social shares and engagement as these stats are highly relevant and result in a wider reach for your brand message
Number of Subscribers / Users Accounts
This one also offers feel-good numbers with no context. This number literally cannot go down and it won’t tell you much about how well your business is doing. Are people actually consuming your products or services?
Some users subscribe, like, follower or open an account with you and never go back to visit again.
Alternative: Active Users / User Path
Instead, track how many users return to use your website each day, these are called active users. In Google Analytics, metrics like visitor loyalty and visitor recency are helpful, depending on your product and as for ecommerce, you can measure repeat customers and retention.
You can also track what content attracted the users to your site or what location or platform they are coming from – this is called the user path or user journey.
These alternatives are not straight swaps for the vanity metrics listed. Before you add or erase certain data from your marketing analytics reports, make sure you and your team have defined your goals and the data points you will use to measure whether or not you are achieving these goals.