What are Vanity Metrics in a Marketing Strategy?

By Philip BerardoSep 17, 2020


businesswoman at wooden desk on large desktop computer with marketing metrics on screen

image credit: Andrey_Popov/shutterstock.com

Marketers have dozens of unique metrics to keep track of in order to ensure their marketing goals are being properly met. This can include lead conversions, content downloads, and organic traffic from search engines, among others. However, not all of these metrics hold the same value in your marketing strategy. In between the metrics that help prove your company’s return on investment (ROI), there are vanity metrics. In this post, we will be defining vanity metrics and their role in your marketing strategy.

What do vanity metrics look like?

Before we explore the impact of vanity metrics in a marketing strategy, we must first define what they look like. There are a lot more vanity metrics than you may realize! For your reference, here are a few vanity metrics your marketing company is likely tracking right now:

  • Website bounce rate
  • Total amount of sessions and unique users
  • Pages viewed per session
  • Traffic from organic searches
  • Time spent on a specific page
  • Likes, shares, and comments on a social media post
  • How many contacts opened a specific email

Vanity metrics do not directly impact your ROI

That’s right! Vanity metrics aren’t necessarily responsible for the ROI your marketing company will see from a particular strategy or campaign. Essentially, vanity metrics can look positive and are easy to show off as “positive” numbers, but they don’t quite help your marketing company understand its performance and how it can influence future strategies. While this might make them sound invaluable, they do still leave an impact—and they certainly matter.

Vanity metrics may not have a direct impact on ROI, but they are part of the pieces that put together the puzzle to a strong marketing strategy. As an example, your website’s bounce rate is an example of a vanity metric. Consider that in order for a new lead to make a download on your website and become a potential customer, they need to navigate through your website first. A high bounce rate on pages that follow a set buyer journey will signify that many users aren’t reaching a desired landing page. In return, this can have a negative effect on your conversion rate, thus leading to fewer sales down the road.

Likewise, other vanity metrics—such as engagement on social media posts—show your company how its audience is interacting with your marketing materials and brand. While these types of metrics may not directly correlate with your ROI and the monetary value of your brand, it helps represent another type of value that matters in marketing: customer engagement and brand loyalty. During these difficult times, it has become even more important to reach out to your audience and ensure them you are still here to support them and share relevant posts and content. Cultivating a relationship with your customers online is an important step toward increasing customer retention and potentially receiving additional referrals.

While some marketers may look at vanity metrics as low-hanging fruit to satisfy a monthly analytics report, they play a key role in shaping your marketing strategy. For additional marketing insights from thinkdm2, check out some of our latest blog posts. Thinkdm2 is a B2B digital marketing and branding agency from New Jersey that specializes in developing strategies for companies in the SaaS, IoT, and Professional Services industries. Contact us today for more information!

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