Ad vanity metrics versus key indicator metrics

Ad metrics can be deceiving. Many visits to your site mean that only a few people are buying your product. One company with millions of page views but only a small number of conversions will not fare well.

Compared to another with a small number of page views and lots of conversions. You need to look at key indicators in your business to see how you’re doing.

‘Vanity metrics’ are numbers that look good but don’t necessarily show a change or growth in your business. ‘Key indicator metrics,’ on the other hand, show how you’re doing in terms of sales, traffic, conversion rates, and the like. If you aren’t looking at key indicators, you won’t understand what is happening with your business, so you won’t be able to make informed decisions about improving it. The more time you spend looking at vanity metrics, the less time you’ll have for essential changes that will help grow your business.

How to identify vanity metrics?

Vanity metrics look good but only provide a little value. They are alright, per se, but they could be more helpful and relevant. Here’s how to identify vanity metrics:

  • Usually misleading: Vanity metrics often need to be corrected because they don’t tell you anything about what’s important. For example, the number of visits to your website might increase, but that doesn’t mean people are buying more products or signing up for your newsletter.
  • Lack of substance: Another problem with vanity metrics is that they need to tell you something about the quality of your work or how you can improve it. You might get a lot of likes on Facebook, but if no one comments on your posts, there’s still work to be done!
  • Need to be more complex to track and measure: Many companies only track vanity metrics because they’re easy to measure, not because they truly matter in helping you achieve your goals. If you see your team fixating on vanity metrics, it’s a sign that you need to do more work to define what success looks like for your business.
  • Doesn’t help improve your business or product: Vanity metrics may be easy to measure, but if they don’t have any bearing on the success of your business, then there’s no reason to track them at all. If you’re tracking these types of metrics, stop! They’re not doing anything for you.

What should digital marketing KPIs be aligned with?

It’s essential to have a clear understanding of your company’s main business objectives. The metrics you choose to measure and track should directly correlate with these goals.

Secondly, understand your audience and where they spend their time online. This way, you can ensure that your tracking KPIs are relevant to them.

An excellent example of this is tracking conversions on your website or blog. Suppose your target audience spends most of their time on social media sites like Facebook. In that case, using these platforms as an outlet for promoting content will be much more effective than using Google Adwords or SEO techniques.

Suppose you understand this relationship between your KPIs, business goals, and audience behavior. In that case, you’ll be able to craft a digital marketing strategy that will bring in more revenue and help build your brand as an industry leader.


Link clicks, time on site, and impressions are all examples of vanity metrics. While these are sometimes reasonable indications of content quality and exciting advertising, they’re easily gamed by publishers. Instead, metrics like brand recall, awareness lift, and profit per visit are better indicators of success. These metrics require thorough pre- and post-campaign analysis to ensure the data is meaningful. Still, the effort will be worth it as they provide the proper foundation for a content marketing strategy.

Social Media Marketing by Glen Huff

Hi, I'm Glen Huff!

Blogger, marketer, and coffee addict. I constantly have my head involved with the inner workings of the internet. I have a love-hate relationship with Social Media, SEO, PHP, and algorithms. With the industry constantly changing, it's hard to know what works.

This blog aims to take my 13 years of marketing experience and give you a clear path to success. My passion is helping business owners thrive online. I hope this blog becomes a valuable resource to you. May your funnels and social media campaigns shower you with leads.

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I recently updated my article on this topic. It’s called: 121 Social Media Post Ideas – Never Get Writer’s Block Again! 

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