What does it Mean no. 1 in Digital Marketing?
Many of us want our digital marketing efforts to make sure we get to first place on Google, or to help us build most followers on Instagram. But what does the no really mean. 1 in digital marketing? Is the first result in Google search really that different from the first page? Hundreds of followers equal more sales? And more clicks on your Google ad will bring a higher return on investment?
When setting goals for your marketing campaign, it’s important to understand the difference between metrics that will help you measure success and those that will look good on paper, but will do little to increase conversions.
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Vanity Metrics vs. Actionable Metrics
Vanity metrics are a measurable type of result that show greater popularity, but typically have little effect on user engagement and therefore conversion rate. Actionable metrics, however, can be linked to increased engagement and therefore must bring more conversions.
Let’s use influencer marketing as an example. Influencer Marketing is a global multi billion-dollar industry where brands collaborate with popular social media users and bloggers to reach a new audience. Instagram is the most popular platform with 78% of influencers worldwide who use this for their brand collaborations. The types of influencers range from micro-influencers with between 5,000 and 25,000 followers to macro-influencers that have between 1 and 7 million followers.
Although many of us assume that the more followers you have, the more influential you will be, the number of followers is not directly related to the amount of commitment. An Instagram post is estimated to reach 25-35% of your followers, but only about 16.7% of that audience is truly valuable to brands. Once you delete users in countries other than your target locale and those who follow but rarely interact with your content, you’re only seeing a small segment of users who are involved in posts. Therefore, looking at an influencers the follower count alone is not enough to prove that their accounts are true to reach.
In this scenario, the total number of followers would be a vanity metric, as it’s awesome to look at, but it’s not equal to the interaction. A actionable metric would be how many of your followers participated in the post when they liked, commented on, or shared. The actionable metric would be closer to 16.7% of your audience, but that doesn’t mean it’s not helpful. This means that measuring success should be less about large and impressive numbers or reaching maximum popularity and more on realistic engagement expectations.
What are Vanity Different Metrics Channels?
There are vanity metrics in all kinds of digital marketing campaigns, such as SEO, PPC and even content. Here’s what vanity metrics might look like for these channels:
Search Engine Optimization
For an SEO campaign, an example of vanity metrics is total page views. By securing the number 1 spot in Google search, you’re likely to receive most page views. Without more than many views, they do not automatically equate to customer interaction. Bounce rate is a much more actionable metric because it shows how many of those views became users who visit another page on your site. It tells you if you were inspired to learn more or if you left without the required information. You may be proud of your number 1 ranking in Google search, but it won’t help you convert customers if users leave the page without continuing to interact with your business.
Like headquarters, content is regularly measured in the number of views an article receives. Views are important, but they’re only part of the story. The time spent on the page and the bounce rate are more actionable metrics for the content. The time a user spends on the page will give you more information about whether to read your article, while the bounce rate will tell you if the article will incentive you to click through another page of your website.
Pay Per Click
When it comes to PPC you want every click worth the money spent on it. Even if you achieve a low cost per click and a high number of clicks; you need conversions to achieve a good return on investment. So instead of reporting how many clicks an ad receives, keep track of how many conversions. And instead of endlessly checking your cost per click, look at its cost per conversion. If you have a large number of conversions and a low cost per conversion, you’ll know that your ad is getting right to ready-to-buy users.
Why are Vanity Metrics used so Often?
Despite the fact that they can be misleading, vanity metrics are available on many analytics platforms. So why are they so prominent and highly reported? The simple answer is that they are the easiest metrics to track and explain. People with little marketing knowledge are able to quickly find and understand vanity metrics on their analytics platforms and often won’t think too much about whether they are valuable measures of success. The problem is that vanity metrics fluctuate easily and when you use them as their primary measure of success, any fluctuation can be seen as faults. If your campaign continues to generate leads, even with lower vanity metrics, then it works.
When are Vanity Metrics useful?
There are some cases where vanity metrics are a valuable measure of success. For example, if your marketing strategy is largely focused on increasing brand awareness, the number of hits you receive, how many followers you have, or where you rank on Google can be valuable measures. But you have to take them with context. Do these measurements show growth in your previous performance? If you’re growing month by month, you can reasonably expect that brand awareness is growing and more users are finding your business.
It is also important to remember that the buyer’s journey is long. It will take multiple interactions with your brand before a user is ready to buy. Once you’ve noticed that your brand awareness improves, you should start tracking actionable metrics to measure engagement. With vanity and actionable metrics in your reports, you can properly assess whether your marketing strategy is increasing your audience’s reach and conversions.
Assess Your Marketing Goals
Tracking the success of your marketing campaign is one of the slowest and most confusing parts, so vanity metrics are so popular. If you find it difficult to understand what counts as
digital marketing success; let us explain. Our Digital Media Trend team is expert in your field and can help you achieve your business goals with actionable metrics to support them. Talk to our consultants about your business goals.