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Why Vanity Metrics Are Useless And Worse Than Clickbait


Kieran Moolchan


August 21, 2017

beautiful blue mirrors and sky

When it comes down to any kind of marketing on the Internet, it’s all about the numbers.

There are a lot of numbers that marketers, businesses, and social media managers like to throw around. Number of followers, likes, page views, and monthly growth.

But those are just numbers that inflate egos.

Donald Trump has 36 million Twitter followers, but do those people believe the same things as him? Do they buy Trump products or stay at Trump hotels? Did they vote for him?

Of course not.

Who acts upon what you post?

Does what you post and spend money on to promote get the right people to do the thing that shows a return on your investment?

The real metrics that need to be focused on are about engagement that affects the bottom line of your business.

Did people follow the content that was posted to a landing page where they entered their information and entered your sales pipeline?

Did someone see a video of a product and click through to add it to their shopping cart? Did they make a purchase?

Were they tracked all the way through the process so they can be remarketed to with future promotions?

Did they convert?

Those are the numbers that really matter, because those are the numbers that put cold hard cash in your pocket.

man reading graphs

If you’re going to spend money on marketing; if you’re going to hire someone to market for you, they need to be able to show that your money gave you engagement and conversion based on the metrics that matter:

Measureable results that have a real impact on the bottom line of your business.

If the marketing execution creates leads that your sales team can follow up on, those are the metrics that need to be provided to you.

How many people filled out forms?

Where they in the right audience of interest for your product or service?

Was there email automation through Mailchimp or Hubspot to follow-up to save your sales people’s time?

These are all questions that any digital marketing company you hire should be able to provide answers and a strategy for.

Digital marketing isn’t just about posting something on Facebook and hoping for the best.

It’s about tracking the return on investment of dollars spent from content strategy to creation, from post to promotion to audience, to your pipeline and real hard profits.

Here are some of the metrics that are only valuable at a surface level. These numbers are only a piece of the puzzle, and if they’re being presented to you alone, you should ask for more information and deeper analysis.

  • Page views
  • Visitors
  • Time on site
  • Pages per visit

Instead, track these metrics:

  • Revenue
  • Customers
  • Leads
  • Conversion Rates
  • A/B Test Results
  • Funnels
  • Cohorts
  • Specific Marketing Campaigns

Sometimes it's not possible to get exact figures for some of those metrics due to services not integrating, like not being able to 100% track what leads convert through a customer management system after going through an advertisement.

But a good digital marketer will work with your team to make sure as much information as possible flows all the way through your sales funnel to help you see what's affecting your bottom line.

If someone is padding their numbers but only talking about follower growth, it’s not helping your business.

If someone is offering up massive video views with no conversion rate or awareness tracking, it’s not helping your business.

Get real value out of your marketing.

Get leads, get conversions, get real numbers, or tell your marketing agency to get out.


Are you looking for solid measurable results from your digital marketing? We’re ready to partner with you to show you solid ROI through Digital Marketing.


Disclaimer: This post applies to digital marketing, which I would say works hand-in-hand with a great content marketing or social media strategy. Content marketing and social media work best for demonstrating knowledge and engaging with potential and current customers. When it comes to content marketing and social media, the "vanity" metrics I talk about in this post can be great indicators of creating some brand awareness and drawing people into the first stage of your customer engagement path. Once you start putting paid digital marketing into the mix, you should push to use the second set of metrics of leads, conversions etc.


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