From several hundred marketing experiments and campaigns we’ve come to appreciate that having a focus on the easy metrics do not have much of an impact on the business, if any at all. They tend to be merely numbers that don’t really amount to much more than giving us a false sense of our business’s success; their only purpose is to make us feel better about ourselves.
The importance of a key metric is determined by the insight we gain about the customer which would in turn allow us to drive towards a desired behavior. How is the customer’s relationship with your business? How can customer service be improved? Why does a customer click on a certain page but bounce off another? What tangible benefits can your business derive from a particular metric?
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If these questions and more are not answered by the customer metric, then it is probably useless to your business and a waste of both time and money. They are also known as vanity metrics – they make us feel good about ourselves. The importance of a customer metric depends upon the type of industry. Some metrics are only useful if they are combined with supplementary metrics, which will then provide more thorough information; number two on our list of useless metrics is a glaring example of this. Firms fail to see the bigger picture and tend to lose themselves in the grandeur of success shown off by a single piece of metric.
Disclaimer: Below are the customer key metrics commonly used by marketing teams when they launch out a campaign however if used alone are useless. I’ve provided some examples how to combine them to a marketing outcome.
Useless Marketing Metrics You Shouldn’t Measure Your Business with
1. The Traffic Generated
Imagine one of your videos got a million views while the rest of them still linger around the humble 1000 views range, does it justify you to boast about those million views? Of those millions of viewers how many are actually using an adblock service to blot out ads from appearing on your video? Consider a service which functions only within a specific geographical area; the service seems to be generating a hundred thousand views from locations scattered around the world. This high traffic count really doesn’t amount to anything profound at all since most of these visitors are not serviceable by the business. There is no online or offline business to be gained. Examples of such geocentric entities could be the police or fire department’s website. When used correctly however, consider the traffic generated as part of a lead generation campaign, and then understanding how much of the traffic you can convert into customers.
2. Gaining New Customers – not really a Useful Metric
Most sales teams feel pretty good about themselves when they gain a thousand new customers. They boast about it on social media networks, to peers and to their boss. What they don’t allow to sink in is the other end of the spectrum – you’re also losing previous customers. When you understand that gaining new customers should not be the goal but part of the means to achieve something, think about gaining new customers and understanding how many you can capture in any of your campaigns such as email newsletter capture or downloads of your eBook.
3. Your AdWords Budget
Don’t rely on just AdWords to get the customers to your business. Your algorithmic search rankings will not gain any boosts just because you spent a higher amount on AdWords. Instead creating original and interesting content which attracts links and readers to your website will help you more. Your organic rankings will only boost if people actually like your content.
4. Ad Impressions
This metric determines the number of times an ad is placed on a webpage. It doesn’t matter whether the user actually saw the ad or no. It doesn’t matter if your ad got placed on a million different websites. If you don’t know whether the audience saw it, you really can’t derive much insight out of it, can you? Its parable is that of a newspaper which is being circulated around a hundred thousand people. You know your ad is contained within every single one of these copies, but you can’t really tell if the ads are being viewed at all, or whether the page containing the ad is being browsed through. This metric died a long time ago.
5. Social Media following doesn’t amount to much
One of the most commonly cited reasons why Facebook likes are a preferred metric of choice is the gargantuan levels of reach the social media giant has acquired over the years. Today Facebook has 2 billion monthly users, but this really doesn’t help your business take off at all. Most of the ‘likes’ that social media sites like Facebook receive are just superfluous in nature – it’s like adding a fifth wheel to a car – there is no difference. The likes don’t really translate to the viewer actually clicking on any ads. Most users don’t even bother with the content of the page they ‘like’. Use the likes to gain and understand your audience – what are they interested in, break it down into demographics and start segmenting your audience. And then use this information to implement strategies from examples such as Social Media Examiner.
6. Page Ranking
Another metric for businesses that aim at gauging the quality of their content, page ranking is primarily used by link brokers and buyers. Google assigns page ranks to websites based on the number and quality of links that they contain. Fact though is that your business’s page rankings can be zero yet they will still rake in hundreds of unique visitors on a daily basis. Page ranking is so useless that Google removed it from their webmaster tools in order to make a point to SEO ‘experts’ that just didn’t get the message. Instead focus on linking your website and content with quality websites.