5 marketing vanity metrics to break up with

by Laurie Heller

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We've all been there... a QBR, a sales meeting, a campaign wrap-up report. As marketers, we want to feel proud of our accomplishments, excited about results and vindicated for all the late nights. But when you stop and think about the aforementioned, it might be the story WE need or want to tell ourselves, but not necessarily what our company (or clients) should hear.

Think about the functions within your company that don't understand and/or are new to marketing. Is publishing vanity metrics teaching them to pay attention to the wrong thing? Likely so. Here's our no-nonsense thinking about what vanity metrics should be kicked to the curb.

1. Impressions don't impress

A while back we were working on a recap report and someone at the C-level asked us how many impressions the total media delivered. The answer was something ridiculous, like 879M impressions. This individual seemed super impressed, but we were scratching our heads as to why. As marketers, it's our responsibility to drive results, not promote fluff. Instead, we were more interested to dig into how many of those "impressions" correlated to clicks, time spent on site, etc.

2. The more leads you have the more successful you are

Most B2B marketers have been there. You publish and promote an amazing white paper and thousands of leads are coming in. High-fives, all day, everyday, right? Ummmmm, no. If you download a white paper about top 10 ways to raise your search rankings, are you interested in the paid solution behind it? Mmmm, probably not. It’s the follow-up nurture, and content strategy behind it that will make all the difference in qualifying a lead.

3. The higher the open rates, the better the performance

Nope, nope, and nooooope. This is probably one of the worst and a massive pet peeve of ours. If you've got a 68% open rate -- congratulations -- someone wrote a great subject line. What you then need to look at is if the click thru rates and click-to-open rates are meaningful. If they are hovering in the single digits, it's time to hide the party hats.

4. The more followers you have the more successful you are at social media

Eek, welcome to pet peeve #2. We recently audited Company A's social activity against their competitors and industry benchmarks. Company B, their primary competitor had 4x the amount of followers on social media, and Company A was stressing about it. But hey, guess what? As it turned out, Company A was actually doing much better than they realized. Their followers were 3x more engaged than their main competitor. Looks can be deceiving. The old adage here rings true: it’s more about quality over quantity.

5. High CTRs mean you’ve struck gold

By now, we hope you know what we're about to say. Just because someone clicks on a banner, blog, or website, it doesn't mean your job is done. If what you're driving them to doesn't pay off where they came from and/or provide a real value exchange and they jump ship, chances are you've actually lost money. It's like inviting someone to a party that promises to be epic but the majority of your guests leave after 30 seconds

So look, we aren’t here to hate on marketers. It’s just the problem with all of the above, is if you're too busy trying to make you and your team look good, you're doing yourself, your team, and your company or client a disservice. Eventually someone will start poking around into why the marketing team is spending so much time, money and effort and driving a lot of fluff without concrete results. The more we can train our teams, agencies and companies to pay attention to what matters and share lessons learned, the more respect, credibility and success we'll have in the long-run.


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