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5 Marketing Metrics to Stop Using Today

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by: Adam Steinberg (@adams472)
31 January 2014

Congratulations. You’ve finally started incorporating data into your marketing reports, and you have shiny new dashboards to show your CMO. But are you tracking the right metrics? Unless you can specifically correlate a metric to a business goal, you may be optimizing your marketing efforts around the wrong behaviors. 

While you may not be able to immediately transition to new metrics, it’s important to start thinking about the difference in actionable metrics and “vanity” metrics for your business.

Here are five common marketing metrics you need to stop relying on so heavily, along with a better metric that’s more actionable.

1) Website Visits

It’s a good thing if more people visit your website, right? Generally, yes. 

But, what did these people do? Are these people your target customers or random people that clicked on a Google Ad?

Better Metric: Percentage of website visitors that become qualified leads or active product users.

2) Email Opens

A provocative subject line might get your email open rates to skyrocket, but do your clicks and sales skyrocket as well? In other words, how many people who open your emails are taking the desired action? For example, if the goal of your email is to introduce a new product to your customers, what percentage of customers opens the email and then completes a purchase?

Better Metric: Revenue per email OR Percentage of recipients that complete desired goal.

3) Social Mentions

Having your brand mentioned on Twitter or Facebook is a great ego boost, but does it actually impact your business goals? The goal of social isn’t random Tweets; it’s creating brand virality and lowering your cost of customer acquisition.

Better Metric: Sales generated from customers driven to your website by social media shares.

4) Content Downloads

Your content team produces a 20-page white paper that is downloaded 25,000 times. Awesome, right?

It depends. How many of those users went on to become paid customers?

Better Metric: Number of people that download your content and go on to become active users or customers.

5) Free Trial and Email Signups

Increasing your signups is great, but only if these people eventually become customers. If you can’t convert these people into customers, then you’ll actually lose money serving these people.

Better Metric: Percentage of free trial registrants that become customers.

OK, now it’s your turn. What marketing metrics do you feel are overrelied upon, and what better metrics do you think should replace them? Post your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.

Related Resources:

1) White Paper: “Revenue Attribution: How to Measure the Impact of Your Marketing Efforts

2) Blog: “Click-to-Open Rate: Are You Using This Gem of a Metric?

3) Blog: “Is It Time to Renovate Your Email Program?


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