Vanity Metrics or Essential KPIs: What Really Matters to Marketers

What's the top marketing challenge in your company?

It's a simple question that yields complicated answers, but if you're like 40 percent of marketers, then your battle is with proving the ROI of your marketing activities.

This is likely due to you following the wrong metrics, or more specifically, vanity metrics. How can you tell if your metrics are essential or vanity?

Man in a business suit creating a growth chart.

Let's take a closer look.

Are You Guilty of Tracking Vanity Metrics?

So what are these vanity metrics? It depends on the type of marketing campaigns on which you're embarking.

For the most part, it may look a little something like this:

  • Page views
  • Website traffic
  • Social media followers
  • Email list
  • Brand awareness

Web traffic graphic showing wow results.

Sure, all of these can help boost your marketing ego, but none of them tell you much about your return on investment. In all honesty, it doesn't matter how many unique visitors your website receives. If none of the millions of website visits you receive result in a conversion, then your campaign has failed miserably.

It's the same for social media, email marketing, and branding efforts.

What Do Essential Marketing KPIs Look Like?

It's easy to get caught up in vanity metrics, which is why you must hunker down on what you consider essential. How do you clarify this, so everyone working on your marketing initiatives are on the same page?

Here's a quick break down of what essential KPIs look:

  • It's accessible
  • It's measurable
  • It's instantly useful
  • It's available quickly
  • It aligns with your goals
  • It highly impacts your goals

Based on these criteria, what would we consider critical marketing KPIs?

1. Engagement Rate

Rather than marveling over the number of email opens, social media followers, or website visitors you receive, you should look at user engagement.

This gives you a more in-depth look at the performance of your campaigns. If folks are opening your emails, but aren't clicking on the links inside, then this is just as bad as not opening it at all. Examples of engagement include link clicks, shares, likes, and comments (and, of course, conversions like email subscriptions, purchases, and downloads).

Two children jumping on a trampoline.

2. Bounce Rate

How many people are bouncing away from your landing page, blog post, or product page within seconds? This is telling of how relevant the content is to which you're sending leads.

If there's a high bounce rate, then there's either something wrong with your lead generation efforts (e.g., you're targeting the wrong people), or the content doesn't meet their expectations (e.g., you need to improve the quality and/or delivery).

3. Form Conversion Rates

Forms are the ultimate lead capture tools a marketer can use today. But what if your forms aren't generating enough leads to reach your goals?

This is why we recommend watching form conversion rates. The best way to identify why your forms are underperforming is to do A/B split tests.

You'll need to run these split campaigns for months to get a full picture of what's working and what's not. You may find one form performs worse one month and then outperforms the other the following month. So keep at it!

We also recommend improving your forms with SmartForms. This helps to collect additional data about your leads that can further help to improve your marketing and sales initiatives.

4. Cost Per Lead

Spending more on leads than you get in return is a fast way to burn out your marketing budget. When determining your cost per lead, it's critical to track both customer acquisition costs for inbound and outbound methods.

For instance, you should track:

  • General overhead
  • Advertising
  • Marketing distribution
  • Manpower (sales, marketing, technical, and creative)
  • Marketing technology and software

Once you figure this out, you can see where you need to cut costs and implement changes to drive in better leads.

Improve Your Marketing KPIs to Grow Your Business

The data you're collecting from and about your prospects and customers is a gold mine, but only if you can sift through it to find those nuggets.

Unfortunately, many businesses are working with "dirty data" and fail to understand how to clean it up. This is costing brands $83,130 annually.

It's difficult to track the right KPIs when you're dealing with invalid, ambiguous, and incomplete marketing data. One way to overcome this is to use a data management solution like ReachForce. In doing so, you can ensure the essential KPIs you're tracking stem from clean, reliable data. 

Are you currently dealing with poor data quality? Then learn how to harness the power of clean data by requesting a free demo of SmartSuite today!


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