Actionable vs Vanity Metrics: Are you measuring the right one?


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Many online businesses understand the importance of analyzing metrics, but how do we know what is actually effecting the changes we observe? Find out how!

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Actionable vs Vanity Metrics: Are you measuring the right one?

  1. 1. The Dangers of VanityMetricsA Whitepaper
  2. 2. The Dangers of Vanity Metrics Many online businesses understand the importance of analyzing metrics, but how do we know what is actually effecting the changes we observe? Let’s start by defining two different types of metrics that many businesses track daily: Vanity Metrics: These metrics are easily manipulated and don’t necessarily correlate to substantive analytical data. While these metrics may show a response to one particular event, say an individual blog posting, they don’t provide guidance on future strategy. Vanity metrics make us feel good, but don’t help improve and optimize business strategy. Actionable Metrics: View vanity in comparison to actionable metrics. An actionable metric provides data that ties specific actions to observed results. Experimenting with split A/B testing and seeing how one group performs against the other can actually help optimize your strategy through further experimentation. They’re helpful, useful and invaluable. The key difference lies in value: vanity makes you think about self- inflation while action is getting your business optimized and moving forward in a tangible way. // Page 4
  3. 3. The Dangers of Vanity Metrics Take a look at the following table pulled from Google Analytics: We can see that this webpage got 36,773 visits today and 57,269 page views. But what can this really tell you about your strategy? Because we have no concrete data collected on the behavior of our customers, we can’t single out one factor that impacted the jump in views. Did a blog get reposted? Was it just luck? It’s very difficult to glean insight from such broad data. Vanity metrics can be difficult to inform business strategy because they do not offer substance or suggest rationale, but only the current state of the product. // Page 2 Page 6
  4. 4. The Dangers of Vanity Metrics Now let’s take a look at the following dashboard pulled from Ambassador’s referral marketing software: This dashboard gives us metrics like social conversions, revenue generated, number of ambassadors and clicks per share. We now have data on who’s sharing our information, where they’re coming from, conversion rates from social media content, account sign-ups, revenue generated….basically a giant toolbox of data for your business to analyze as needed. Looking at data on a per customer basis let’s us understand actions that lead to success and optimize our online strategy rather than just judge how well we are doing based on a moment in time. Now that we know about the types of metrics we should be analyzing, how can we determine the metrics that are most useful to our current situation? // Page 3 8 Page
  5. 5. The Dangers of Vanity Metrics Initially, you can start out by identifying the issue that you are seeking to address. Have an issue with online web traffic? Or do you want a better understanding of what drives customers to share content? Asking the right questions can help determine where you’re being successful with your word of mouth marketing program, and where you need improvement. As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that anything that can contribute to a greater understanding of your customer’s online behavior should be tracked and measured. Three main points to keep in mind when determining the appropriate types of metrics: 1.  Measure what matters to the health of your business. 2.  Measure customer behavior, not intermediate steps. 3.  Measure macro metrics to pinpoint what needs improvement. To summarize, vanity metrics provide no real insight into the success or failure of your business strategy. Collecting and analyzing actionable metrics can help you establish a better understanding of customer behavior and give you the tools to optimize any type of referral marketing program you are running. For more information, visit and receive actionable metrics to start tracking and optimizing your next referral marketing program. // Page 610 Page
  6. 6. Ambassador enables any company to easily track, manage &reward their advocates for referring customers and drivingconversions. Receive actionable channel-specific metrics;including shares, clicks, conversions, revenue and clicks pershare. Ambassador can be fully integrated into yourwebsite, maintaining your look & feel while providing africtionless experience for your advocates.Check us out at and try a free 14-day trial!