Do Your Current Marketing KPIs Actually Mean Anything?

Do Your Current Marketing KPIs Actually Mean Anything?

All visitors, new users, conversions, click through rate, time on page, bounce rate — what do any of these marketing metrics mean? Taken out of context, no single metric means much. But understanding which of your marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) affect your bottom line, and how they affect one another, will help you avoid wasting time and money. 

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How companies measure their marketing

Companies use key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine how effectively they are meeting their objectives. Marketing KPIs are measurable values that show the performance of marketing campaigns and  help organizations determine whether they need to change their marketing strategies.

Vanity metrics

KPIs allow companies to measure many different factors involved in their business practices, but not all performance indicators can provide helpful information for performance development. Vanity metrics are performance indicators that can make a company look good to outside viewers, but these metrics cannot help companies reach their business objectives or improve performance.

Performance indicators that are vanity metrics

Websites and marketing analytics software provide numeric values to represent viewer interest, but not all of these metrics help organizations that want  to improve their marketing outcomes. Watch out for these performance indicators that can be mistaken for marketing KPIs but are essentially vanity metrics.

Social media likes

While posts with many social media likes seem favorable for a business, they alone do not show anything useful from a market strategizing standpoint. While likes may show interest in a post, this low level of engagement can’t reveal how effective the post is as an advertisement. In addition, this metric doesn’t take into account how many of those viewers are actually patrons of the company’s goods/services.

Subscriber and follower numbers

Subscriber count data is not indicative of how effective the company’s content is. Companies can’t know from a subscription or follow count  how many of those users actually engage with their content or support their business. Therefore, it does not help the company decide how to act to meet its business goals.

Page Views

Page views only reveal how many individuals reached that page and do not provide information on how effectively the page’s content gained interest for the company or their products. They also do not tell the company anything that they can use to gain insight into their marketing strategies, such as how the viewers first learned about the website or the viewers’ level of satisfaction with the content provided.

Email open rate

While email open rates can tell companies the effectiveness of their marketing email’s subject line based on how many recipients opened it, they don’t provide much more information than that. While good subject lines are essential to get viewers to open marketing emails, companies need recipients to further engage with their emails for them to be considered effective, and email open rates do not help them achieve this.

Alternatives to vanity metrics

The marketing metrics that indicate outreach and performance can sometimes be marketing KPIs that are helpful in business strategizing, based on how they may be used. Below are some examples of alternative ways companies can draw information on marketing tactics through analyzing these performance indicators.

Engagement rate

Post engagement rates can be measured through formulas that compare the number of views or followers to the number of shares, likes, or comments. Applying these formulas to multiple pieces of content can show which content pieces were more successful in generating engagement.

By measuring engagement rates together rather than only single aspects like likes or follows alone, businesses can get a better idea of how their viewers interact with their marketing content and determine what kinds of content generate more interest based on a standardized reading of the engagements.

Also Read: 4 Ways to Optimize Your Landing Page for Conversions


Increased shares can also help businesses with their marketing outreach, as popular search engines count these in their algorithm for boosting website SEO. Therefore, your company is further establishing its online presence by creating popular content based on the number of shares the content receives. As a result, their website will have a greater chance of discovery by new users through search engines.

Bounce rates for page views

A bounce rate measures how often visitors open one page on your website and then leave the website without exploring it further. This information can help companies determine whether a web page of theirs is ineffective in maintaining visitors’ interest. By redesigning their less-effective web pages and measuring the bounce rates, companies can develop websites that keep viewers satisfied with the content provided and more likely to support their business.

Email click-through rate

Email click-through rates (CTR) tell how many recipients have engaged with an email’s content. This can be determined by adding links within campaign emails and measuring the click-through rates that those links get. This metric can help you determine how effective an email campaign was at capturing recipients’ interest and prompting their engagement, further than just opening the message.

Also Read: Measuring Success: Email Metrics That Matter

Be mindful of your metrics

Whether or not marketing KPIs actually mean anything is dependent on how helpful they can be in determining plans to achieve your business marketing goals. Vanity metrics can give the appearance of internet success, but key performance indicators are only beneficial for business development when companies can use them to gain insight into effective marketing strategies. 

Marketing metrics that reveal helpful information about customer demographics, follower engagement, campaign success, or product interest can help companies refine their marketing strategies to meet their performance objectives. The right marketing analytics software can help you focus your KPIs, and we can help you find the right software for your strategy. Give us a call at 855.718.1369 and one of our unbiased Technology Advisors will help you find the right marketing tools for your needs.

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