It’s a question we’re frequently asked, and one that doesn’t seem to go away. It’s clear there is still much confusion around the metrics you should pay attention to, versus those that are nothing more than a positive signal.
Too many people in industry mistake the latter for stellar achievement. After much back-slapping and subsequent reviewing of attributed sales data, they start to realise so.
For years there have been the ‘sanity’ versus ‘vanity’ argument. To explain, it’s said that vanity metrics are likes, comments and shares – the data you immediately see on the page. The sanity metrics are click-through-rates, page dwell time, data acquisition or purchases.
However, both do have a role to play so long as you’re using the data in the correct way. Let me explain.
Vanity metrics give you a thumbs-up. Positive signals that your content is resonating with your audience. It’s a barometer that you’re connecting, and your content is potentially doing what it’s aimed to deliver. The key word here is potentially.
Additional data whether that’s UTM, Pixel or Google Analytics will help to determine if potentially evolves to definitely – irrespective of whether that a definite no, or a definite yes.
Social Media has the potential to connect you with audiences in a unique fashion. It’s why its potency is heralded and it’s why it’s cannibalised Ad budgets from other verticals. But you must be smart with your data and tracking. A well-crafted advert served to the right audience will probably trigger vanity metrics – the positive signals that your content is resonating, but if you’re not tracking with UTMs, Pixels or Google Analytics, and mining the data for the true story about customer journey success, then you will never know if the ‘thumbs-up’ to your content, is actually adding sales opportunities.
Our view is that you need both sets of data. Start with the vanity but move swiftly to the sanity. Equally, if your content isn’t even triggering vanity metrics, then you’ve definite work to do on your content creation. Poor vanity metrics is the early signal that you haven’t got your Content Strategy or your Content Tilt successfully fixed.
Vanity metrics are the stepping-stone to important signals. Either you’ve got a flawed strategic approach, or you’re a few data points away from evidencing tangible success back to the business. And whichever outcome you have learned something, and you know what needs to be done. You either fix your strategy or laud your achievements.
One thing is for sure, you can’t identify your outcome without both vanity and sanity metrics.