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Why You Shouldn’t Obsess Over Vanity Metrics

What’s the most common, and probably most important, attribute in digital marketing? What’s the one ubiquitous element that can make or break your success? It is data. If your company is deep into a digital marketing campaign, then you know that data is everywhere, at every turn, and you would know that the way you understand and use that data will lead to either your success or your failure. In many of our blog posts, we have recommended tracking your data and using it to your advantage.

Years ago, before the digital marketing era, companies didn’t have the luxury of tracking their data. Now, companies can track their entire process down to the most granular details. Advertisements from 20 years ago were subject to mere guesswork—there were few ways to track and understand the performance of an ad. If there was an uptick in sales, then good, that meant that the ad was doing well. If sales were stagnant, that probably meant that the ad wasn’t performing as initially hoped.

Today, we can obtain data on just about anything we need. We have tools and systems to track nearly any action and behavior, and our data can now tell the story on why our marketing is successful.

Though it is absolutely crucial to understanding your marketing, data isn’t always a good thing. In some ways, it can be overwhelming and misleading. There is some information that we are better off not paying attention to. An onslaught of unnecessary data can drown out what we really need to know.

That’s because some metrics just don’t matter. Some metrics don’t feed us the information that we need—it’s like indulging in a piece of chocolate cake before eating your dinner. These metrics are called “vanity metrics”. We’re going to tell you how to avoid these.

How to know if a metric is useless

What are your goals? Do you want a substantial increase in sales? Do you want more signups to your email list? Or do you want increased brand exposure?

The relevant metrics are dependent on your goals. If you want more sales, you would measure different metrics than if you wanted enhanced brand visibility.

If you’re pursuing sales, you would look at your conversion rate. You would look at how your traffic sources correlate with that conversion rate. You would run split tests to optimize that conversion rate. You probably would not be looking at how many new blog comments you have received in the past month, or how many social media shares you had, unless those metrics somehow correlate with your conversion rates. Metrics should clarify your processes and systems, and should tell how and why you are receiving the type of results that you are.

If you’re trying to gain more converted customers, then you probably shouldn’t obsess over how many new Twitter followers that you have. Whether or not a metric can be considered useless depends on what you are trying to achieve.

Monitoring the amount of new blog comments can be important if you’re looking at increased brand exposure, but not if you’re trying to gain more sales. Unless, again, you can see how those new blog comments have somehow yielded more sales along the way.

If your metrics are not propelling you forward to reach your goals, then they are virtually useless and not worthy of your time.

It’s too easy to get distracted with bells and whistles. Information is vital only when it is refined. You don’t need to obsess over every single detail; you need to worry about the data that matters.

Is your data helping you achieve your goals? Is the data helping to improve your process? If not, ignore it. You don’t need the noise.

Joseph Riviello

Looking for a seasoned WooCommerce expert and digital marketing strategist with an unwavering dedication to client success? Meet Joe Riviello, the CEO of Zen Agency, with over 22 years of experience helping e-commerce businesses scale through holistic marketing strategies. Joe Riviello is a seasoned WooCommerce expert, digital marketing strategist, and CEO of Zen Agency with over 22 years of experience in the e-commerce industry. He is a passionate business development professional committed to helping businesses reach their full potential through various holistic digital marketing strategies. Joe's expertise lies in creating a seamless user experience for customers while delivering strong business results. He has worked with several high-profile clients across various industries, including retail, healthcare, and finance, helping them achieve their business goals through digital marketing solutions. Joe's journey to becoming a CEO started with his passion for technology and user experience design. He has always been interested in how technology can solve business challenges and improve customer experiences. Throughout his career, he has focused on creating e-commerce websites and digital marketing campaigns that provide an exceptional user experience while delivering strong business results. As the CEO of Zen Agency, Joe is responsible for leading the agency's strategic direction and ensuring that clients receive the highest quality of service. He is a natural leader who inspires and motivates his team to achieve their goals and deliver exceptional results for clients. Joe is a recognized industry leader and has spoken at several conferences on topics related to digital marketing, user experience design, and business strategy. He passionately advocates for data-driven marketing and believes that every business, regardless of size or industry, can benefit from a holistic digital marketing strategy.

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