How Retailers Can Leverage Vanity Metrics vs. Actionable Metrics
Page views, likes, full shopping carts … we all love numbers that prove our website is popular. The problem is that much of this data can be classified as vanity metrics. Unfortunately, vanity metrics don't provide real insight into the success of your website. For better analysis, turn to actionable metrics instead.
Actionable metrics are numbers that help you understand why customers are behaving the way they do. Recent research shows that only 44 percent of marketers use analytics to make decisions. Use actionable metrics to analyze past customer behavior and to shape how future customers interact with your website.
Why We Stop at Vanity Metrics
It's easier — much easier — to collect only vanity metrics. Most marketing teams are limited, so data collection can't be too complicated. The problem is this: data requires analysis. Once you have your numbers, it takes time and careful thought to understand why the data says what it does.
Counting page views is faster than analyzing customer paths, but which do you think is more fruitful? Actionable metrics lead to, well, action. Lift the hood in Google Analytics. With a little extra effort, you'll be surprised at how much you can do.
How to Tell if Metrics Are Actionable
If numbers make your head hurt, you may want to believe that all data is equally valuable. However, some data is more actionable than others. It's important to spend your time on the numbers that will pay off the most. For example, only one-third of marketers track return on investment, and that might be the most important metric of all!
A great way to determine if your metrics are valuable is to ask, "Do they answer the ‘So what?’ question?" Social media followers or blog readers are nice to have, but so what? Knowing how they impact revenue is better. Collecting general sources of traffic is helpful; tracking individual sources using UTMs is better.