marketing / social media / SEO / website

Four vanity metrics that you need to stop tracking now!

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 open rate

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 1 rankings

Let me explain this vanity metric in a bit more detail.

Anyone can be 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, but the aim is to get those visitors to your site to convert as per your business goals.

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.

To find out how your website is performing or to book a social media audit of your current accounts.


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