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Vanity Metrics: The Wrong Side Of The Coin

Every actionable step you take during a marketing campaign comes with data, and you’re presented with hundreds of tools to measure that information. The problem is, some metrics just aren’t that important.

The reality is, it’s these metrics that pop up immediately when you read your analytics, and they can lead you into a false sense of reality. These are called vanity metrics, low hanging fruit that you need to be wary of.

Vanity Metrics?

Data such as page followers, views, subscribers, and other flashy analytics that look good on paper but don’t actually add that much value. They provide positive reporting, however, offer no context for future marketing endeavours — something actionable metrics can do.

Here are five vanity metrics that need less attention, and actionable metrics that you should be following instead.

Email Open Rates

Work out your open rate like this:

Open rate = emails opened/ emails sent — bounces.

Open rate is indeed a reasonable metric to follow in order to ascertain the effectiveness of your email’s subject line and timing. However, there are technical limitations to consider. Many clients or prospects have to load images for it to count as an open, and many people have images switched off by default. Track it, but don’t obsess over it.

Actual Metric To Measure: CTR (Click Through Rate)

Focus on one CTA within your email that brings users to your landing page, and measure those click-throughs. A high CTR for an email that entices users to download something on your website, for example, tells you the email campaign has high lead-generating power.

Vanity Metrics

Blog Post Views

People are reading your blog which means you’ve created great content which is a good first step in any inbound marketing plan. The truth is, however, page views don’t tell you where those views are originating from, whether or now your blog answered any questions, or how long a user even spent on the page.

Actual Metric To Measure: Bounce Rate, Social Shares

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit one page on your site and leave without clicking any further. A high bounce rate is a big problem. Maintain attention with a good call-to-action, as well as links to other content and areas of your site. A bounce rate in decline is a great metric to report because it suggests your blog is growing in its interest to your visitors.

You need to consider social shares as well, as search is social!

Search engines like Google and Bing now take Tweets and Facebook shares into account within their algorithms. How many individual page viewers are also sharing your content on their social networks is now a more viable signal of extended SEO benefits from a popular blog post.

Total Number Of Subscribers/Users

It’s easy enough to measure how many people have converted into a trial user or agreed to receive your newsletter. But are people actually consuming your content? Quite often, this product demo or email goes unseen or unused.

Actual Metric To Measure: Path to Conversion, Active Users

What you need to track is how many people return to use your product every day. These are termed ‘active users’. Within Google Analytics, metrics like visitor loyalty and recency are helpful depending on your product. As for an e-commerce based business, take note of repeat customers and retention.

In addition, measure which content drew in leads that converted to qualified contracts or even customers – as well as what actions said leads took within your website before the conversion happened. You can track this by adding tracking links to your CTAs so you can view where a user came from as they moved through the conversion path!

Vanity Metrics

Facebook Fans

The more that companies post content on Facebook, the more newsfeeds need to share their space, and the less users see and therefore consume content from any one company.

Regardless of how many people have clicked ‘like’ once they’re on your page, the vast majority never return and never see or simply scroll past your content in their newsfeeds.

Actual Metric To Measure: Engagement Rate

Instead, make use of Facebook Insights to monitor which posts generate the best engagement (including comments and shares of specific posts).

The higher the engagement level, the higher the EdgeRank score (EdgeRanks is sort of like SEO for Facebook)

Think about the content and conversations that produce the highest engagement and impressions, and produce a plan for how you can best replicate this going forward.

Twitter Followers

On Twitter, it really shouldn’t be about your follower count. People typically follow a myriad of accounts for reasons unrelated to their actual interest in them. Many users, for instance, follow you in hopes a follow back. And if they don’t get it you lose that follow shortly after.

Actual Metric To Measure: Competitor Followers

With FollowerWonk, you can compare your followers to those of your rivals. If there are people following them and not following you, those are potentially missed prospects!

Examine what type of content is most engaged with on a competitor’s page. Then, compare it to your own to see where you’re going wrong. It may even be worth reaching out to those not following you and demonstrate the value of following you, too.

Of course, you shouldn’t disregard any of the aforementioned vanity metrics! Before you can add or erase certain data from your analytics reports, ensure you and your team have defined your goals and the data points you’ll use to measure whether or not you’re achieving them!

Vanity Metrics

At GMT we’re experts who take pride in providing our clients with the full spectrum of data behind their campaigns. Not just the flashy stuff! Call us today on 1300 332 256!

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Google Swaps Voice Search On Android

What if you could have your own talking AI without needing to be a billionaire? How much easier would life be for us? And, how much harder would it be for marketers to reach you beyond your AI assistant?

These days, it looks as if AI technology is developing at a rapid pace. What’s more, it also seems that that development is getting an even stronger focus, particularly at Google.

What’s happening at Google?

Changes are happening to voice search on your Android mobile devices. What was once merely a voice-activated search engine is now evolving into AI as Google swaps out its old voice search on Android devices for Google Assistant.

This change hasn’t been rolled out on all devices yet. However, Google did announce a while back that Assistant now resides in at least one billion devices.

For those who’ve noticed the change in the home page of their android phones, the conventional blue and red mic has been swapped out. However, on Chrome for Android, the Google app, and on the Chrome browser for iOS, the mic still seems to be the predominant search tool.

How does this affect SEO and SEM?

One of the main differences between the old voice search and Google Assistant is the type of information provided. Unlike voice search, which usually only provides a list of links and search results, Google Assistant “answers” your queries directly, without needing to provide you with a list of links.

What this means is that it’s a possibility that less traffic will be coming in through mobile searches. Earlier this year, Google also began testing placing ads within the Google Assistant platform, which could mean another channel through which marketers can now source their ads. (as well as yet another revenue channel for Google).

Does this mean that even organic search is going the way of paid advertising? It’s a possibility for mobile devices, as voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant continue to grow more advanced each day.

Adobe recently conducted a survey that concluded that 48% of consumers are currently using voice for “general web searches”. These, of course, don’t cover more in-depth content and research related to searches. But if AI is going to be on the forefront of development, then we can expect the number of voice searches to rise in due time, especially as Google Assistant’s set of skills are improving to the point that you can now book a ride and buy movie tickets through Assistant.

So what do we do now?

Should you start thinking about how to optimise your content for voice search? Should you start putting out audio content that users can easily consume and digest? Well, that’s one possible response for this change in organic and paid search.

Author, speaker, and known marketing expert, Seth Godin, once commented that podcasting is the new blogging. In fact, according to some of the statistics collated by, “51% (144 million) of the US population has listened to a podcast – up from 44% in 2018 (Infinite Dial 19)”. In other words, audio content is gaining ground in informational content.

Google’s John Mueller gave some tips on how to optimise for voice search, detailing what kinds of content fit and didn’t fit voice search optimisation.

One thing he recommended was to start thinking in terms of audio and voice search itself. What does your content sound like when it’s read aloud? How is your content structured and organised? How are the words on the page structured?

In other words, try to start thinking in terms of voice snippets. Think in terms of Q&A’s, and give a direct answer to any questions that potential readers may ask, and make those Q&A snippets obvious in the way your content is structured.

Remember these two things:

1. Structure your content so that it’s easy for voice search to answer queries using the information that you’ve given. Turn your titles or headers into frequently asked questions, and provide the answer in the first paragraph. 

2. Make sure that your content sounds good and cohesive when reading aloud. Try to keep things sounding conversational as much as possible. 

AI Assistants are on the rise, and it might be a good idea to start optimising your content for their eventual takeover.

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Content Curation Tools For Every Skill Level

As with every piece of content that you write, the content you curate must have value. I’m sure we’ve all, at one stage, thought that there has to be an easier way to collecting links and images that may, someday, prove valuable to us. Well there is, and for each skill level, so every marketer should make use of these content curation tools because they will make your brand/business/company more trusted and reputable.

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