Why Vanity Metrics Can Ruin Your Marketing

As the internet is cleaning up and Google is continually changing their algorithm to reward meaningful content, the marketers that kept playing a game with keywords and gimmick traffic are going by the wayside. A big reason is that you might be able to get a lot of clicks, but if people leave because you have garbage content, a slow site or a number of other inconvenient pieces that keep them from engaging, then it was a waste of money and effort.

Vanity metrics can also ruin your marketing by focusing you on the wrong data. Say you get 20,000 visitors per month. The fact that you were indexed so highly or spent a lot of money on creative adwords got people to click. But what if the conversion on those 20,000 visitors was a mere 50 email addresses? What if the 50 email addresses only turned into a couple of sales?

This is what happens to a lot of sites out there trying to pump traffic. The reason is that there was such a heavy focus on the 20,000 visitors. What if you could double the number of sales with 100 visitors per month? The ratios work out more efficiently. But that kind of structure and thinking comes from focusing on the other end of the funnel.

What Happens After the Click?

The key event for your site visitors is what happens after the click. Before the click, you may have tuned your systems to appeal to machines. The bots online reward you for the clever keyword packing or meta tagging. However, an algorithm change can wipe this out quickly as it has to many people that were on top at one time.

Ultimately, a human being has to read what you are putting out there. They are looking to solve a problem and they want meaningful advice, content and resources to help them.

After the click, the depth of engagement will depend on the quality of your content and how it connects. It will also depend on the clean design and navigation to other content.

How well your content is structured with the ability to share will also be critical.

If you built your marketing strategy by looking at metrics that matter such as:

How long do people stay on your pages?

How many pages does someone read per visit?

Do they share the content you create?

Are people interacting and commenting?

How many sales did I make?

Those numbers will be lower than mere site visits. But they matter because it is high quality. It means that people are engaging your content and wanting to read it.

If you create content that people don’t care about then it was a waste of attention. They won’t come back and your brand in their mind is a gimmick.

Content that people want to read and share is hard to come by. It takes a lot of thought, hard work and design. The elegance of making something useful and easy with the craftsmanship and detail required to do a job well can change the metrics dramatically.

Instead of focusing on metrics that don’t matter and working backwards instead works in today’s economy. Start with your sales numbers. Then think about conversion ratios. Get away from vanity.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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