Stop Measuring These Marketing Metrics & Start Tracking These 3 Data Sources

With a seemingly endless supply of data, it’s tempting for digital marketers to track and measure it all. But with increasing pressure to perform and prove your value, you can’t afford to waste time and effort measuring ‘vanity metrics’.

Put simply, vanity metrics are numbers that indicate improvement but are not directly tied to generating revenue. Eric Ries, founder of the Lean Startup movement, coined the phrase and calls the obsession with vanity metrics ‘success theater’.

“The only metrics entrepreneurs should invest energy in collecting are those that help them make decisions. Unfortunately, the majority of data in off-the-shelf analytics packages are what I call Vanity Metrics. They might make you feel good, but they don’t tell you what to do.”

Common Vanity Metrics

1. Social Media Follows and Likes

Just because someone follows you or is a fan of your page does not mean they are engaged with your brand. Did you know, on average, only 6% percent of Facebook fans see your content on their newsfeed?

Here’s another way to look at it: If a metric is an absolute number that is always going to increase, (ie, total number of followers, likes or signups) chances are, it holds little value.

2. Website traffic

Increased levels of website traffic is a good thing, but the context always matters. Page views are only important when there is evidence you are engaging viewers. If your marketing team decides to spend money on Google AdWords to boost traffic on your website, chances are you will end up with more hits, but if none of the users engage in your site and convert through CTA’s, then the increase in website traffic is not helping you achieve your marketing goals.

3. Email opens

Email open rate may be a metric used by many marketers to measure the success of their campaigns, but it’s an unreliable gauge. An email is only counted as opened if the recipient also receives the images imbedded in the message. An open does equate engagement and there is no way to measure how many opens simply result in a deleted message.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s not that you shouldn’t pay any attention to these metrics, just make sure you’re not spending too much time at the expense of analytics that help you make better decisions and predict future success.

Better Options for Measuring Data that Matters

To ensure digital marketing success, prioritize marketing metrics that are actionable, meaning you can make changes based on the data you uncover in order to improve results.  A good rule of thumb is this: Do the metrics you track help you make better marketing decisions?

Here are 3 actionable data sources that can pinpoint actions needed to achieve your goals.

1.  Conversion rates

A better way to determine if your activities are successful is to measure converting traffic throughout the customer lifecycle. In other words, how many Twitter followers clicked through a link, engaged with your brand online and filled out a form? If you can accurately measure this behavior, you can make changes that directly correlate to successful results and increased revenue.

2. Cross Channel Correlation

The ability to see how each marketing channel is performing in correlation with one another allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of online and offline campaigns and how they relate. If you can understand which combination of channels, campaigns and events influence your buyer, you can make adjustments that lead to new sales and revenue.

For example, if you advertise on Facebook, do your customers visit your website more often and do they spend more time on relevant product pages? This kind of measurement leads to better decision making and effective marketing spend.

3. ROI Calculation

Effective digital marketing isn’t cheap. The ability to measure return on investment will optimize your marketing budget and identify the effectiveness of your efforts. According to recent research, the majority of marketers are missing out on this valuable measurement.

90% of marketers are not trained to calculate ROI and 80% struggle with being able to properly demonstrated to management the business effectiveness of their spending, campaigns and activities.

In order to measure marketing ROI, you need to be able to track data from impression to click to purchase. Capturing this data allows marketers to understand which touchpoints are working and are worth keeping in the budget.

ROI measurement is most effective when all of your marketing metrics can be aggregated and easily analyzed.  Doing that requires an analytics tool that can, for example, identify revenue opportunities for paid ads.

There are several marketing analytics platforms that can help you filter through the noise and focus on the data that matters most. Before you waste anymore time distracted with meaningless metrics, take the time to prioritize the data that matters the most and find a tool to help you analyze and act on information that increases your value and the bottom line.

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