8 vanity metric examples
Whether you’re attempting to set SMART goals or undertaking a performance marketing campaign, understanding what vanity metrics are and why they tend to be misleading is key if you want to conduct high-quality data analysis for your business.
In the above sections, we defined what a vanity metric is and discussed what separates a vanity metric from an actionable metric.
Yet, vanity metrics can be tricky—even experienced marketers can be tempted to track impressive-looking vanity metrics from time to time. In order to prevent you from wasting time and energy tracking vanity metrics, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common vanity metrics to watch out for. Check out some of the examples of vanity metrics listed below.
While getting a lot of users to sign up for a trial of your service may be promising, the total number of trial users is a vague metric that doesn’t provide you with much in the way of actionable insights.
After all, you could be accumulating large numbers of trial users, but that doesn’t mean much if those users don’t convert into paying customers. So, instead of tallying total trial users, consider tracking the conversion rate for trial users.
Page views is one of the most common vanity metrics because, while it tends to present itself as a representation of a page’s popularity, it actually doesn’t tell you much.
For instance, the total number of page views doesn’t reflect how users interact with a particular page, whether they remain on the page, or whether they share the page. You could be receiving high numbers of page views, but from visitors who aren’t interested in your products or services instead of active users. Rather than tracking page views, consider tracking metrics such as bounce rate, conversions, or social shares.
As a business, it’s always exciting when you see users interacting with your social media pages, whether that means gaining social media followers or accumulating "likes" on your posts. But, while getting “likes” on posts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be encouraging for your social media team, these types of social media metrics don’t provide much actionable data.
A post’s “like” count doesn’t indicate how many active users visited your website or made a purchase or signed up for your newsletter. If a user simply clicks the “like” button on one of your posts and moves on, it doesn’t do you much good as a business.
Rather than tracking the number of “likes” you get on your posts, you might instead focus on overall engagement and referral rates. Take note of whether your social media posts drive users to your website or if users share content with their network.
Maintaining a running total list of email subscribers isn’t a particularly useful metric, since the number will always be increasing. Rather than paying attention to the total number of email subscribers, you might look at metrics such as your email opt-in conversion rate or the number of new subscribers you get on a month-over-month basis.
Leads in sales funnel
Sales teams are always searching for new leads. However, acquiring a large list of leads should be secondary to ensuring that you secure high-quality leads.
A long list of low-quality leads probably won’t help your business—in fact, it can result in wasted time and energy invested into fruitless sales efforts. By focusing on metrics such as sales cohort analysis or the number of qualified leads acquired month-over-month, you can get more out of your sales efforts.