What are vanity metrics?

Everything that you do online is recorded somewhere, and all this data can be leveraged by companies looking for an edge in their marketing campaigns. The great thing about this sea of data out there is that when you are engaging in online marketing campaigns for your brand or client, you can leverage that data too. It’s a big data-ocean though, so how do you avoid falling into the trap of using the wrong metrics to navigate your journey to success? 

What are Vanity Metrics? 

Vanity metrics include data such as social media followers, blog page views, email open rate, and other numbers that you may look at and associate with the business doing well. They are, however, not directly tied to the core revenue-based business goals and have no context for future marketing decisions. Having a lot of likes on a post does not equal sales. 

You need to avoid using certain metrics to judge the success of your marketing campaigns. It may feel counterintuitive to ignore these metrics at first, as they seem to provide a measure of something that should be relevant, but they don’t; many of them broadcast an uptake in followers, or fans, or likes, but followers, fans, and likes don’t translate into meaningful results such as sales or leads. You need to pay attention to the metrics that are more actionable. 


Don’t obsess about Facebook Followers. 

Ignore the surface detail; Facebook is more popular than ever as a battleground for digital advertising, and their platform is slick, but branded pages on Facebook have seen engagement rates drop by over 20% in the last 12 months. The platform is clogged, with many users giving a ‘like’ to a brand’s page yet, due to the volume of branded pages on newsfeeds, almost never returning. This means that looking at the quantity of ‘Likes’ is effectively useless when it comes to assessing engagement with your page. 

Focus on Engagement Rate 

Facebook has a free analytics tool, Facebook Insights, which can check which of your posts generate high levels of engagement, including any shares or comments related to specific posts. 

If you have a high level of engagement, then Facebook will give you a higher EdgeRank score, which will push you onto more Facebook newsfeeds. You can assess your generated content by the levels of engagement and replicate those posts that perform best. 


Don’t stress about Instagram Likes.

Many people think that success on Instagram is measured through the number of followers and likes that the account receives. However, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced that the company were trialling removing visibility of likes as they wanted followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your post gets. Sometimes posts are created as ‘clickbait’ meaning that many people will like the post, but not necessarily buy any of their products or even follow them. If you have a business account, we recommend going into your insights and looking at profile visits/website visits, shares and impressions. This will give a more accurate idea of how successful your account is. 

Here are a couple of things to consider about your Instagram followers: 

•   What is the goal of your account? Are you looking to sell products, become an influential or educational account in your field? 

•  Ask yourself why do my followers follow me? 

Focus on Reach and Impressions 

By looking at your reach and impressions, you will be able to see if your hashtags are working effectively. Hashtags are a way of reaching people that don’t follow you, we recommend using hashtags with a ‘low to medium’ number of posts, as if you are using a hashtag with 2,000,000 posts on it, the chances of your post being seen is very low. When people start engaging with your content on these hashtags, your posts are more likely going to be boosted into other peoples’ feeds and explore pages. You will then know if your content is working effectively by the amount of engagement you are receiving. 

Blog Posts

Don’t ask for more Blog page views.

High blog page views may indicate that you have created some great content, but they don’t indicate where these views are coming from, if they answer the reader’s question, or even how long they spent on the page. 

Ask for a lower bounce rate  

However, once you investigate the bounce rate, you will get a more accurate picture of how successful your blog is. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit one page on your website and leave without clicking further into the site. A high bounce rate may be because your blog isn’t what the reader thought it would be and therefore clicks off. How many times have you Googled something and gone onto a page that seems entirely unrelated? Consider looking at your titles, descriptions, and SEO, so you have the right people clicking onto your page and once they are there, use links to other content and other parts of your site. A declining bounce rate is a great metric to report because it suggests your blog is growing in its interest to your visitors. 

Email Marketing

Don’t just focus on Open Rate.

Your open rate is a reasonable metric to track to check the effectiveness of your email’s subject line and timing. There are, however, technical limitations due to many email clients having to load images to count as an open, and many users have images turned off by default. Track this, but don’t obsess. 

But also look at Click-Through Rate 

A higher click-through rate (CTR) means that more people are clicking through to your website or download, rather than opening the email (and often deleting it). Focus on one clear CTA in your email which draws users to your site and measure your click-throughs on those links. 

So many times, we see clients and brands focusing on vanity metrics, you may often look at an account and think they are successful because of the amount of likes they are receiving. Hopefully, we have helped you understand that it doesn’t inform the whole picture.  

Vanity metrics should just be one piece of your metrics that you are focusing on. Make sure you are looking at the whole picture and you will get a more accurate depiction of your marketing efforts.  

At RRM, we use a broad range of metrics to measure a campaigns’ success and use the results to inform what we do next, based on what did or did not work well during the previous campaign. We can, and we want to, increase our clients’ follower counts, but we always aim to ensure that the increase in followers is more likely to develop into a lead or a sale. There is so much more to Social Media, Websites and Emails than likes, views, or opens; and we can help you access it all and leverage it so that it works in your favour. 

Get in touch to arrange a meeting to discuss how we can help you gain success from your marketing efforts. 

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