What Are Vanity Metrics And Why Do You Have To Stay Away From Them?

One of the key elements in any online marketing strategy are  web analytics metrics  , as they  provide objective data that allows you to know if the objectives have been met . Metrics are used to evaluate the marketing and communication strategy, to correct and improve each action. But not all are worth.

The purpose of the metrics is to provide concrete information translated into numerical data that allow assessing if the strategy is working, that is, if the business objectives have been achieved, whether they are to increase sales, increase the database or improve the impact of the brand. Hence the importance of knowing what to measure and how to measure.

What are vanity metrics?

The presence of companies on social networks has made many of them focus only on the number of followers, retweets, or “likes” they achieve month by month. Based on this data, they measure the success of their campaigns, the impact of their brand or the performance of their online marketing strategies.

These numbers, which are very easy to analyze and provide immediate satisfaction, are vanity metrics. They are so-called precisely because they only serve to feed the vanity of brands but do not delve into the real operation of an online marketing campaign. These metrics should be part of the statistical data provided to measure success but should only serve as a starting point for further analysis.

Vanity metrics give us a rough overview of the results. Therefore, we should not rely on them to make decisions, since they are absolute figures that by themselves are not really useful. To know if things are being done well we need metrics that can be translated into objective data.

For example, if we want to increase the number of followers on social networks, it is not enough to know how many more followers we have achieved since the last measurement. You have to know what the percentage of growth has been with respect to the latest data collected.

Even so, we will still not know if this has really translated into higher sales, which is the ultimate goal of the Wonder Animation company. To get there, you have to keep measuring other variables.

In a much-summarized way, vanity metrics are not useful for decision making and can lead to a wrong view of reality.

But what are those vanity metrics that I shouldn’t use?

Many companies think that the more followers they have, the better they will achieve in terms of sales objectives. However, it is almost always quality that matters, not quantity. Sometimes a small but active and faithful community is preferable.

For example, if a business increases followers but they don’t click on or don’t share posts, it may mean something is not being done right. The content may not be interesting or the creatives may not be appropriate, since it is not generating engagement, that is, involvement, with the followers.

Now that you know what vanity metrics are and why you shouldn’t use them, you just need to know how to identify them. We are going to help you.

Number of visits

By itself this data does not tell us if the visits refer to a single user who visits the page often or to many users who have only entered once. To know its real value, it must be used in relation to other metrics.

Number of page views

The number of page views is a data that is of very little use. Mainly, it is useful for businesses that depend on the sale of advertising space.

Number of unique users

Knowing the users who visit us only once does not provide us with any relevant information on why they have left the page or, on the contrary, why they have stayed.

Time on site

By itself it is not very relevant for most companies. The fact that a user spends a long time on a page does not imply that they are interested in our products or services.

Number of pages visited

This metric can be misleading because it does not allow us to know if the user is browsing because they like what they see or, on the contrary, because they cannot find what they are looking for.

Number of followers and “likes”

Having many followers is not very significant if they do not interact with the posts of a page or with the contents of a blog. We cannot know why they have liked it.

Subscribers to our newsletter

We may have a large database of emails to send our newsletters. However, the most important thing is to know what percentage opens them. Perhaps they signed up to benefit from a promotion but are no longer interested.

So what should I measure?

To correctly measure the effectiveness of our marketing strategy, it is necessary to find the appropriate metrics for the objectives set and that allow us to obtain realistic and reliable conclusions. In this way we can analyze in depth what is being done well and what needs to be corrected.

The metrics that provide us with this objective information are called actionable metrics or KPIs. These indicators are variables that help us evaluate online marketing actions in a serious and professional way.

For example, the number of visits to a blog is a vanity metric but if, from the number of visits, we measure the conversion rate (who has subscribed, who has shared, who has bought … depending on the objectives set), and we are using a useful KPI for our online marketing strategy. If the data obtained is negative, we will have to think about what we are failing and how to correct it. If it is positive, we know that we can continue in that same line.

As you can see,  analysis is an essential part of an online marketing strategy  because it allows us to  make decisions, improve and correct our actions . The key is to move away from vanity metrics and focus on actionable metrics.