What are "Vanity Metrics"? Why do you need to avoid them?

September 2, 2011
There is lots of data available, what should you track?

I've heard people over the years tell me how many "hits" their website gets. I always have to ask people to dig deeper and tell me how many people engaged with content, how many people took the next step, how many people stayed on the site and interacted?

Vanity metrics are statistics that alone do not tell the whole story, but sound impressive. Facebook fans, Twitter followers, website hits — these are vanity metrics. They can be big number, but the number alone doesn't tell if you are really engaging your audience.

Be careful when you feel good about numbers that aren't actionable. Ensure you are focusing on results and making decisions on results. Track email subscribers, leads, new customers.
 
The articles below provide a great overview to help shift our thinking toward tracking results and not tracking our ego.
 

Explore these resources to learn more

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[...] what social media experts call it: a vanity metric. As JD Collier, a web development strategist at Digett, notes: Vanity metrics are statistics that alone do not tell the whole story, but sound impressive. [...]