The following post is a guest blog by Tim Brown

Marketers of all types understand how tough (and scary) it can be to properly measure successes and failures. We all want to look good in front of our bosses, coworkers and clients, right? But, is that more important than truly understanding your performance and what it will take to bolster your content?

In the digital marketing world of today, there’s no shortage of data, and that makes it all the more important to target the right metrics. In 2017, you need to wave bye-bye to vanity marketing metrics forever.

Here’s a few new ways to focus on the key marketing metrics that really matter.

Vendasta can help get that marketing ball rolling so you have metrics to track! Find out how today.

Set Your Goals

The first step in figuring out which marketing metrics are important to you or your organization is to set your goals. Implementing an effective performance measurement plan that produces relevant and applicable insights is key to succeeding in any marketing campaign. Understanding the goals of the business allows you to determine the proper tools needed to report metrics that are actually meaningful to the organization as a whole.

Ask yourself, or your CMO, “What is the business goal behind each decision that we make?” Is it to increase profitability through sales, create brand awareness or increase exposure? Or is your goal focused on customer satisfaction or improving client relationships? Defining your goals enables you to measure metrics more accurately.

Don’t Be So Vain with These Vanity Metrics

When determining the right metrics to report, you’ve got to dig deep. Before getting into what metrics you should be focused on, let’s examine the metrics that you should avoid at all costs.

  • Social Media Followers

Only three percent of your Facebook fans see the content that you post. The amount of Likes you have doesn’t correlate with page engagement. Likewise, Twitter followers aren’t a good unit of measurement either, because of the “follow back” scheme; whereby Tweeters follow accounts just to have the account follow them back, and them unfollow them once they’ve gained a new follower. Follow what I’m saying?

  • Email Open Rate

Open rates will give you some small insights into the performance of your campaigns, such as the effectiveness of your subject line and/or the time it was sent. However, this won’t give you an accurate picture of how your content is performing with your audience.

  • Blog Pageviews

While this may indicate that you’re producing thoughtful content, your blog post pageviews only shed light on your top performing posts, which should be fairly obvious already. In terms of SEO, this vanity metric should be wiped from your reports moving ahead this year.

Uncovering Marketing Metrics That Matter

Now onto the important part - identifying and understanding metrics that actually matter. Actionable metrics let you analyze the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and provide a clearer picture of your strategy results.

  • Bounce Rate

Bounce rate tells you how long a user stays engaged with the content on your website. By analyzing this metric, you get a better understanding of how interesting your content is. Seeing your bounce rate decrease month by month, particularly on a blog post (or other creative content), tells you which areas of your site visitors like, which areas they run away from and how long they’re engaging with your content.

  • Social Media Feedback Percentage & Impressions

Using a social media analytics program, or a native tool such as Facebook Insights, you can find out how many and how often people are engaging with your social content. Using this set of data, you can build out new content similar to the popular content people are engaging with, while moving away from that which people don’t seem interested in.

  • Influencer Outreach and External Links

Yes, influencers help boost your brand. Paying attention to who’s who in your particular industry will let you see the top content and latest and greatest news. Using a tool, such as Pitchbox or Ninja Outreach, you can develop outreach plans targeting these influencers. The goal is to get an external link from them pointing back to your site (or at the very least, a simple shout-out on social media!) Using influencer platforms, you have a centralized dashboard where all your data, such as links and mentions, are aggregated. The more links you have the better your SEO will be overall.

  • Email Subscribers

It’s 2017, and email has never been more popular. Comprehensive email campaigns are still a very effective form of outreach. With a little trial and error, you can build brand awareness and increase engagement on your website. You can track those that visit your content from an email in Google Analytics under Traffic > Source to see how many visitors have come through email. Otherwise, try a program like Act-On, which lets you easily track visitor flow.

Good Luck with Metrics That Matter in 2017!

Focusing on the right metrics will help you as a marketer uncover the data that you and your organization need to utilize. Set a goal, avoid vanity metrics and find the set of numbers that will actually improve your content and brand overall. Stick to these guidelines and you’ll start coming up with ideas that impress the audience, your team and most importantly, clients. Best of luck in 2017!