Why You Shouldn't Let Yourself Fall for Vanity Metrics

July 2020
 minute read
marketing team collaborating on data charts and graphs

If you want to become a successful content marketer, you need to learn how to analyze + act upon different types of metrics. Not only that, but you also need to separate vanity metrics from real metrics. 

Vanity metrics, such as the number of likes or followers a page has, do not always translate into a high return on investment (ROI). While it’s definitely satisfying to watch your Instagram page grow in followers or see a high number of likes on a Facebook post, you also need to pay attention to real, actionable metrics in order to move your business forward. 

Pittsburgh web design agency Responsival teaches you which metrics are worth your attention and which ones can actually mislead you. 

Vanity Metrics vs. Real Metrics

Pittsburgh Web Design Agency Responsival Teaches You How to Distinguish the Two

Mobile, Phone, Social Media, Media, Electronic, Gadget

Vanity Metrics

So, what constitutes vanity metrics? Vanity metrics include data on the number of social media followers, likes, subscribers, and page views a company has on a particular platform. Unfortunately, they do not offer a comprehensive look into what future marketing decisions your company should be making. 

For example, the number of page views a particular blog post receives may tell you that you are creating enticing + informative content for viewers. However, these page views don’t tell you where the viewers are coming from, how long they spent on the page, or if they visited other pages on your website. Without knowing this information, you will not be able to improve your future content marketing campaigns. 

Real Metrics

Real metrics, also known as “actionable” metrics, will show you whether your business is profiting or losing money as well as whether you are gaining or losing customers. Real metrics force companies to look deeper into engagement rates, bounce rates, and conversion rates to determine how their company is performing against their competition + what progress they have made over the long-term.  

People may analyze actionable metrics such as:

  • Bounce rates
  • The average amount of time people spend on a particular web page
  • Average order value
  • Conversion rate

in addition to vanity metrics to gain a full perspective on how their marketing + business strategies are performing. 

How to Find Actionable Insights + Use Them to Your Advantage

Pay Attention to These Metrics

person typing on laptop

It is important to understand that, while vanity metrics can help you examine the success of your marketing strategy, their ability to inform the progress of your company’s business development is limited. You need to remember that vanity metrics can only tell you a small part of your company’s success. Make the most of both your vanity metrics and real metrics by following these best practices:

1. Keep track of traffic patterns over time 

Driving a high amount of traffic to your website is important, as it gives you an opportunity to engage with visitors + increase your conversion rates. However, traffic alone is not a solid indicator of your website’s ability to increase sales + customer loyalty. Instead, you should be examining the general increase — or decrease — your website experiences over a certain period of time. 

2. Perform A/B testing on different pieces of content


Image courtesy of Optimizely

In order to know what type of content resonates with your target audience, you need to perform some A/B testing. A/B tests involve testing two different versions of a piece of content to see which one performs better. You can perform an A/B test for social media posts, web pages, and app screens. Once you learn what type of content engages your audience the most, you can expand upon it and include it in future marketing campaigns. 

3. Find out why some posts have higher engagement rates than others

Tools such as Facebook Audience Insights + Instagram Business let you see which social posts have the highest levels of engagement. By engagement, we are talking about the number of comments and shares of these posts. To learn why certain posts are receiving more engagement than others, you will need to analyze factors such as the images, copy, and hashtags included in them.  

4. Look at your bounce rates

How much time do users actually spend on your website? Do they immediately bounce after coming to your site through a paid social ad? Or do they take time to browse through different pages on your website? The bounce rate, which refers to the percentage of people who leave your website after only visiting one page, is a strong indicator of how well you can hold your visitors’ attention. 

5. Measure the click-through rate for your email newsletters

click-through rate formula

Your email open rate is calculated by dividing the number of emails opened over the number of emails you sent minus their bounce rate. 

You should aim for an email click-through rate between 15% and 25%.

Analyzing metrics and tailoring content strategies based on your performance can make anyone’s head spin. That’s why having a little extra help can help you immensely in the long-run. Contact the experts at the top Pittsburgh web design agency Responsival to get started today.


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