Many times businesses and marketers alike focus on vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are commonly defined as those that look good on reports without necessarily being indicative of the overall health of a business. Think about it—when you’re running your own company, what do you want to focus on? The number of visitors or pageviews? Or the number of people who actually complete their purchase and become customers?
What are vanity metrics?
The term “vanity metrics” refers to any type of measurement that’s not an accurate reflection of how well your business is performing.
Vanity metrics look good, but they can be misleading and don’t necessarily indicate growth or overall success. They might even slow down your business if you focus on them too much since they aren’t directly tied to revenue or profit generation. Some examples of vanity metrics include:
- The number of followers you have on social media
- Total number of visitors or sessions to a web page
- Click-through rate for an ad campaign
- Number of likes/comments/shares you get on each post
- Sign-ups for a newsletter
- Even leads by themselves
Remove vanity metrics from your performance reports to increase focus and reduce distractions.
There are many data points that can help you understand if your business is doing well, but there’s a difference between the numbers that matter and those that don’t.
Vanity metrics, like page views and unique visitors, can be distracting because they don’t tell you anything about whether your website is increasing conversions or improving user experience. While these numbers may be useful to know how many people are visiting your site but this by itself does not relate directly to a healthier and more profitable business.
Instead focus on results that matter: conversion rates, average order value (AOV), and customer lifetime value (CLTV). These metrics show growth in the number of customers using your product over time and tell you if those users find what they’re looking for when they visit your site or use an app.
Start with conversions and work backward toward the 1st touchpoint
When evaluating the success of your marketing efforts, it’s important to focus on what you are trying to achieve. Conversions, not vanity metrics like page views or clicks, should be the ultimate goal of your marketing efforts.
To find these valuable conversions, start with a solid conversion definition and then identify metrics that are leading directly to conversions. For example: If you want to increase sales of a new product line, track whether visitors who land on your homepage or landing pages complete an action step that leads them down the conversion path (e.g., signing up for an email list).
For e-commerce sites especially, this may mean tracking actions over time and identifying which ones lead to actual purchases versus just browsing and shopping cart abandonment! In addition to tracking where people land on your site (and how they interact with various pages), look at what steps customers take when purchasing from you—are they unique from other industries? What do they do after making their purchase? If so many of them come back for additional products/services later in their journey with you then that is also valuable information about where else might there be opportunities for cross-selling new items or services related but not directly tied together based just off an initial purchase alone because one item may have been purchased already recently enough (or often enough) where if sold again would likely lead satisfaction levels higher than average overall across all purchases made within some reasonable amount such as three months.”
Track and analyze key metrics
You should have a clear idea of what metrics are most important to your business, and be sure to track them regularly. An easy way to do this is by using a simple tool like Google Analytics. This will not only help you see how your website is performing but also allow you to get granular data about your audience’s behavior and preferences in order to better serve them. Google Analytics is even making analyzing your customer data more intuitive with Google Analytics 4 (GA4). For example, GA4 now offers enhanced insights into how your users interact with your site or app. This will allow you to get an even deeper insight into what creates your sales funnel and drives conversions. You can even use this great tutorial provided by Google to help you understand the new platform.
Sometimes metrics change. Be aware of changing times and adjust your metrics according
You may be surprised to learn that the metrics you measure at one point in time might not be relevant a few years down the road.
For example, if your company is a startup and you are measuring metrics like the number of users who sign up, this metric might not be relevant once you’ve reached a certain point in your growth. Depending on where you are in your business journey, it may be time to start measuring different things. For example, if you are about to launch a new product or service line but haven’t yet done so, you may want to measure how many people signed up for updates on that new product rather than just looking at how many people signed up overall. When you analyze data at a more granular level you will be able to glean insights and understand how all business parts function and what really leads to growth for your business.
In conclusion, it is important to keep in mind that vanity metrics are not always bad. However, they’re not the best way to measure performance since they don’t necessarily tell us anything about how well we’re doing on our goals. With this information in mind, I hope you raise up those key metrics for your business and crush your goals!