5 Internet Marketing Metrics Not to Obsess Over

by Pamela Vaughan

Date

August 15, 2011 at 5:38 PM

measuring tape Analytics is an important part of inbound marketing . Marketers should constantly be measuring their marketing to refine programs, improve upon under-performing initiatives, and decide which marketing channels they should focus on.

But when it comes to measuring marketing, sometimes it's hard to know which metrics to use. There are usually a number of ways to measure the success of a given campaign, and oftentimes marketers get caught up in using every single metric available to them ... or obsessing over the least valuable ones. To help you get on track, we've compiled a handy list of 5 metrics that probably aren't worth your time.

1. Comments

Comments can be a great way to gauge how much (and the type of) discussion a particular piece of content is generating, whether it's a blog post, a Facebook post, a tweet, etc. That said, it's not something that really indicates the success you want to achieve. Ultimately, you're participating in these channels because you want them to help you generate business, right? After all, a blog post that generates 100 comments might not generate any leads, and a blog post that generates 100 leads might generate no comments. It's good to get a general sense of how much people are engaging with your content through their comments, but don't make one of your goals to generate tons and tons of comments.

Better Metrics: Measure referral traffic and leads from your blog and social media to your website.

2. Open Rate

Open rate is no longer a reliable metric for measuring the success of email marketing because many email readers wrongly interpret when an email gets opened (more details about this here ). Therefore, open rate is a useless metric for marketers to use to determine who actually reads their emails. Furthermore, even if it were reliable, someone opening your email doesn't necessarily mean they took any action from it. They could have read one word or the whole email, but if it didn't inspire them to do something, should that be considered successful? Ultimately, you want your email recipients to click on something within your email such as a call-to-action for an offer, so those clicks and how well they convert into leads should be what you focus on measuring instead.

Better Metrics: Measure click-through rate, conversion rate, and email leads.

3. Impressions

Impressions is another one of those metrics that sounds impressive but doesn't really indicate much business success. Mainly used in the advertising world, this can mostly be applied to display advertising for online paid marketing initiatives. Put simply, impressions are a measure of how many times an ad is displayed, whether it gets clicked or not. Therefore, one impression means the ad was displayed once. Because it has nothing to do with how many people clicked on your ad, for the very same reason that open rate in email is useless, impressions are not a valuable metric for marketers to track because it doesn't indicate any action.

Better Metrics: Like email, measure click-through rate, conversion rate, and leads generated from paid marketing efforts.

4. Followers

Yes, an increase in followers means better reach, but again, if your huge social media reach isn't translating into traffic and leads, or even if your leads from these channels don't ultimately become customers, what's the point? First, focus on capitalizing on these channels by spending time optimizing your engagement for lead generation. Then, once you've determined the traffic and leads you're generating is converting into customers, you can spend more time increasing your following so you can scale your efforts even more.

Better Metrics: Measure social media traffic, leads, and customers.

5. Sentiment

Coming from a PR background, I actually cringed a little as I typed this one. I will preface this by saying that brand sentiment is a good thing to monitor. However, it should not be something you obsess over. Overall, a positive brand sentiment should be something to strive toward, but let's be honest, every company or brand will have its share of naysayers. Social media offers a platform that makes it easy for these Negative Nancys to voice their opinions and be heard, and you can't appease them all. If your company must deal with a crisis or negative criticism, make sure you handle it gracefully and appropriately , but don't dwell on it. Plenty of businesses have overcome negative sentiment and still operated as successful businesses.

Better Metric: Measure sales. More sales means people like your products/services.

Final Thought

Remember, as a marketer, your time is valuable. While measuring success is definitely important, so is actually doing marketing that generates the results you're measuring. Don't spend unnecessary amounts of time analyzing metrics that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things. Instead, focus on fewer, more concrete and telling metrics like traffic, leads, and sales. Chances are, poor results indicated by these grander metrics will inform you of problems. Then you can consult more granular metrics to use for deeper analysis to diagnose and solve underlying issues.

What other marketing metrics do you think marketers spend too much time analyzing? Are you bogging yourself down reporting on too many metrics?

Photo Credit: Jamiesrabbits


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