Vanity metrics

Vanity Metrics – Are you tracking the right stats for your campaign?


What are vanity metrics?

Firstly, what is defined as a vanity metric? Vanity metrics are numbers or stats that look good on paper but don’t really mean anything important. Everyone has been susceptible to vanity metrics in their life, be it personal or business. Below we write about how you can turn your vanity metric into an actionable metric, and give some meaning to your stats!

Facebook Fans / Engagement Rate

The more Facebook fans the better right? Wrong. Did you know there had been a 20% decline in engagement rates for branded Facebook pages since last year? Going for many fans usually means going for quantity rather than quality, decreasing the engagement rates even more, so regardless of how amazing your Page is and how many people have liked your brand’s Page, the vast majority will never really see the content you provide.

This is why you need to start focusing on the engagement rate. This includes comments and shares of individual posts that have been pushed out by your brand’s Page. Facebook has a free analytics tool called Facebook Insights which checks which posts generate the highest level of engagement. With a higher level of engagement, comes a higher EdgeRank score (which is basically the SEO for Facebook newsfeeds).

Think about what you’re posting. Look what content has the highest engagement and impressions. Focus on creating content that will spark a conversation rather than posting for the sake of it.

Blog Post Views

Great, you managed to increase traffic to your website and hit a new record of page views on your blog page. Perfect, but what does this really tell us? Firstly, it’s another of the vanity metrics regularly used and also that you have no idea if they have even read the blog, if they went elsewhere on the website or if you have generated any leads.

There are three key actionable metrics here. The first is bounce rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit your website but then leave without clicking further into the website. High bounce rates = bad news. Does your blog post have clear CTAs? Is there an easy to navigate menu? If you are achieving a high bounce rate on your blog post, you really need to analyse the customer journey.

Another actionable metric to measure would be conversions. With Google TAG Manager you can track conversions from where they land on your website, such as your blog post. If you keep posting blog posts that lead to no conversions you will have to change your strategy to make sure you are getting a return.

The final actionable metric is social shares. Why you may ask? Did you know search engines such as Google and Bing are now considering Facebook shares and Tweets in their algorithms? The amount of individual page viewers that are also sharing your content on their own social networks is a more accurate way to measure the long-term SEO benefits from a popular blog post.

Email Open Rate

I got an 85% open rate! That’s great news, right? Kind of? This is considered to be one of the “good” vanity metrics to check how effective the subject line and timing of your email is, but there are various technical limitations that can hinder this as the majority of email clients have to load all images to be considered “open”, and by default, many users have images turned off. Track it, but don’t push it as a main metric.

An actionable metric in regards to email would be the click-through rate (CTR). Really look at focusing on one CTR that pushes users to your website, and measure the click-throughs via those links. If you obtain a high CTR for a particular email campaign that has a goal of pushing users to download a white-paper on your website, it shows the email campaign has high lead-generating power.

Number of Product Users

Another one of the vanity metrics is the number of product users you have. Yes, you may have a lot of people who have converted into trial users of your product or downloaded your app, but how much of your content and product are they actually consuming? Often, product demos and apps go unused or unseen.

Instead, you need to track “active users”. Active users are the ones who are engaged with your content and product, and these are the users you need to be focused on. What is an active user? This is a person who accesses an app or product for a given period of time, consistently.

Metrics such as visitor loyalty and visitor recency can be helpful depending on your product or app. If you’re focusing on e-commerce, measure repeat customers and retention.

Before throwing out all your current vanity metrics, make sure you and your team have redefined your goals and the data points that you will use to measure whether or not you’re achieving them. If you need any help with redefining your vanity metrics, get in touch with us and we will be able to help you with your strategy.

Written by: James Coughlan

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