TrackMaven has released its latest Marketing Leadership Survey and, worryingly, it suggests brands and their marketers are still hung up on vanity metrics, rather than metrics linked to a return on investment.

More than 70 per cent of marketers said attributing social and content activity to revenue was one of the top marketing challenges they faced. Yet, in the next breath, the respondents said these were the top key performance indicators they were using to measure the success of their content and social activity:

  1. Engagement metrics — 91%
  2. Consumption metrics — 82%
  3. Audience growth — 78%
  4. Leads and sales metrics — 51%

So about half of the survey group is actually measuring the return on investment from their social and content activity. Everyone is hung up on the easy-to-measure “vanity metrics” like social media interactions, time on site, bounce rate, page views, downloads and clicks.

Don’t get me wrong, those metrics are important, too. Engagement metrics are particularly great. They give you a good idea of what consumers want to see, read, watch, share and otherwise engage with. But surely the most important metric of all is one that shows you not just what consumers liked, or even shared, but what got them to put their hands in their pockets and buy your product or service?

Switch from vanity metrics to actionable metrics

The solution is to align your marketing KPIs with your business objectives. That is, make the switch from vanity metrics to “actionable metrics”.

According to the experts at MarketingProfs the “gold standard” in actionable metrics is an A/B split test. It’s a “test and learn” approach to marketing. Here’s the Kissmetrics definition: “Take one action with one targeted group, take a different action (or no action) with a control group, and then compare the results.”

So you could, for example, split your e-newsletter list into two distinct groups and send a different message to each group and see which generates the most leads. Or you could run two different social media ads, separated by geography, and see which one performs best.

By doing this you can directly link your social media and/or your content activity to your sales and revenue activity.

Measuring actionable metrics takes effort and it takes time, but it’s worth it. When you “test and learn” you gain data you can use to continually hone and enhance your messaging so you can target your audience as successfully as possible.

Actionable metrics linked to ROI are going to tell you more about the success of your social and content activity than the number of “likes” on a post ever will.


If you want to work with a team that knows how to deliver ROI from a well thought out content strategy, get in touch with Lush Digital Media.


Like what you’ve read? Sign up to the Lush newsletter for fortnightly advice to help you market your business better, tips from our video production gurus, and a podcast or two from our favourite podcasting team, Brand Newsroom. In the meantime, you might enjoy these:

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