What metrics do you use to measure the success of your marketing?

You may be aware of the term ‘vanity metrics,’ or numbers that don’t represent true value for your business’ bottom line, but do you really know which metrics are ‘vanity’ and which are more meaningful? As I recently heard it (aptly) put, “vanity metrics just show that marketing is busy;” what you’re looking for are metrics to communicate that marketing contributes value to a business’ bottom line. Let’s break down the difference:

Vanity Metrics Aren’t Inherently Bad…

It’s not that you shouldn’t pay any attention to vanity metrics; in fact, vanity metrics can be quite helpful in a number of cases. Say you’re just getting started on trying to improve your social media; you’ll definitely want to keep track of your follower counts and the types of posts that are receiving ‘Likes’ and shares. And if you’re kicking off your paid search efforts, keeping an eye on the number of impressions and clicks an ad receives is an important part of the process. Vanity metrics can speak volumes about your site’s ability to engage prospects and provide invaluable insight into how your visitors interact with your web property; the problem lies in the fact that vanity metrics don’t tell the whole story — and they can serve as a major trap for unsuspecting marketers.

…Just Don’t Fall Into Their Trap.

The ‘Vanity Metrics Trap’ is a real risk — particularly in smaller businesses where measuring marketing success with hard numbers may be a newer concept. Marketers fall into the trap of spending too much time focusing on these kinds of surface-level metrics and fail to spend enough time on the metrics that truly matter – the ones driving revenue. How many leads are your marketing efforts driving, and even more importantly, how qualified are these leads and how many are turning into closed deals? When it comes to conversations with upper management (and particularly those involving marketing budget), these are the numbers that are going to be of interest. Knowing the number of times that a white paper was downloaded is a nice little boost to your ego (hopefully), knowing content influence, or the amount of pipeline generated by deals that interacted with your white paper during the sales process — well, that’s the information that’s going to secure your Q1 budget.

Check out the infographic below to see some common vanity metrics, and a few of their more meaningful counterparts. Ready to start improving these metrics? Click the banner on the bottom of the page to check out our e-book, The ROI of Automation, and learn how marketing automation can help!