It’s an amazing time to be a Social Media Marketer. A constant stream of new channels to communicate with your customers and millions of data points are in your arsenal.

More data points is always a good thing, right? More data means more information, more revelations on customer behavior and purchase intent, and more opportunities for two-way conversations.

All of this data can only mean more accurate decision-making. With all of these data points we can build our businesses better and faster than ever before…right?

Not necessarily. All data is not created equal.

The ugly side of social media analytics focuses on vanity metrics. These are metrics like follower count, page views, and likes that make us feel good, but ultimately are not a real indicator of success or progress as a company. They’re the metrics that make your CMO say, “So what?” when you show them a report.

However, when you focus on the data that helps you make decisions, everything else in your business gets easier.


How to tell if you’re tracking what matters

It all comes down to two easy questions:

  • Does the metric help you make decisions?
  • When you see the data from that metric, do you clearly understand what to do next?

If the answer to either question is “no”, it’s a good indication that you’re falling victim to a vanity metric.

Here’s an example. If you check your Facebook Fan Page Analytics, what knowledge do you gain that really helps you improve your social media strategy or business bottom line?

There’s no clear answer. Likes dipped at the end of March but spiked in early April, but what is that really telling us? It doesn’t really tell us much - we’re left wondering what exactly happened and why it happened. Furthermore, it doesn’t provide a guide on how to improve one’s social strategy, despite all the rich historical data.

Likes, shares, comments and other metrics are nice but they’re vanity metrics and don’t provide the health or value of our actual business objectives.

On the other side of the coin from vanity metrics, are actionable metrics. These are metrics that you can attach meaning to - things that can help you make informed decisions.

Here’s a screenshot from Google Analytics of an actionable metric - conversion rate. What would you do after viewing this report?

Something is clearly amiss with the actionable metric here. Conversion rate took a dive in early April and you can immediately tackle the issue by looking into your conversion page to see what’s blocking people from taking the action you need them to take.

Figuring out the actionable metrics of your company starts by aligning your social media metrics with the overarching business objectives of your company. For example, if your business objective is to generate more leads, one of your social media metrics should also be to generate more leads.

You can then measure the performance of your social media by how many leads are directly attributed to social media channels. When you define these actionable metrics, you can more easily make the decisions that will help get your business to the next level.


Defining the actionable metrics for your business

Actionable metrics answer these questions:

  • Did we gain or lose revenue?
  • Did we gain or lose customers?

More concisely, these actionable metrics are helping you understand the ROI of your social media (which has been cited as the single biggest challenge social media marketers face today).

Here are a few examples of actionable metrics that can help measure the health of your business:


Revenue conversions are the simplest metrics to track, thanks to ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics. To understand how your social media efforts contribute to revenue, the amount and the origin of that customer can be tracked. Revenue tracking can include:

  • Lifetime value of a customer
  • Total Revenue by month, quarter, and year
  • Net profit
  • Average order value
  • Number of transactions

For businesses that need to generate leads before they can convert them into customers, it’s important to understand where your best leads are coming from. Your paying customers are only a small subset of your overall traffic - this is why looking at total visits is a vanity metric.

Knowing that your highest converting leads are arriving from organic social media, paid traffic, or something else entirely helps you focus your marketing spend and your energy on the channels that are providing the most value.

Conversion Rates

Site-wide conversion rate is a good start, but there’s so much more insights to be had when you track each step along the user journey. Track the conversion rates of all your traffic sources and their respective landing pages.

One of your top priorities should be to track and improve the conversion rate of visitors to leads, and leads to customers. Each step of this journey (or, conversion funnel) should be tracked and optimized. Your goal is to establish an internal benchmark, and then constantly try to beat it. If you need help setting up your conversion funnel, you can read about it in our ebook.

Is there a tool that helps us with this?

We built LiftMetrix to focus on the key metrics that show you how to grow your business. The data shared at every step is actionable, sharing end-to-end ROI measurement of true business metrics. Vanity metrics are not only not tolerated, they aren’t available, keeping your business on track and giving you an actionable game plan for growing your business. And since it’s so simple to use, you’ll be uncovering insights to move the needle within your first week. We’d love to show you what LiftMetrix can do.

Click here to learn more about LiftMetrix

The LiftMetrix Dashboard

The end of vanity metrics

The amount of data we have access to as marketers is indeed amazing, but these numbers are only helpful to us if we are laser-focused on the metrics that are actually driving our success as a business and deliver ROI. Anything else is just wasted time.

As an end-to-end Social ROI Measurement Solution, LiftMetrix ingests your data, computes your social ROI and gives you actionable recommendations to increase ROI. Without spending hours in spreadsheets, marketers (like you) are empowered to act easily and quickly on social media analytics.

Are you curious about how much revenue you generated from Facebook? Find out here.

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Posted by Graham Gullans

Graham Gullans is co-founder and chief operating officer of LiftMetrix, which provides a social media ROI measurement solution for enterprises. He is also a prolific angel investor and a board member for Zoomcar, the largest car rental company in India.