28 Jul What Metrics Matter To You The Most?
As marketers, we’re constantly drowning in data. For a while the term “big data” reigned supreme, and it’s obvious that there’s not a lack of information and numbers. So what are we lacking?
It’s the absence of insights that come from this information that we’re lacking. Whatever industry you’re in, and whatever kind of business you are, there are only ever a handful of metrics that should truly matter to you.
It’s time we move beyond data and focus instead on insights. We have layers and layers of analytical data on acquisition, outcomes, experimentation and competitive analysis. The magic spot is below these layers and layers of data – the insights!
The metrics to avoid
When searching for the really important metrics we first need to cut the waste. What should we not be treating as a critical business metric, or better, completely avoiding altogether?
I call these metrics “vanity metrics”. They gather over time but don’t say much about how your business is doing. Vanity metrics can include things like page views and bounce rates, but the most dangerous of all are the ones that don’t contribute much at all – Twitter followers and Facebook likes being the most common.
Make sure you avoid anything that you can’t act upon in order to increase growth or move further towards your business goals. If it’s not going to seriously move an important needle then it’s one to avoid.
The good metrics
When you’re figuring out which metrics you should be truly measuring there are four key criteria you can follow. These are:
- Simplicity: the data should be very easy to explain to the rest of your team
- Relevancy: do these metrics really matter? Are you really sure?
- Timeliness: visitor and lead data acquired 4 months ago isn’t going to be as useful as more recent cohorts.
- Usefulness: can action be taken immediately?
The three key areas
When it comes to marketing metrics, there are only three key areas you should be focusing on. The first is acquisition which, simply put, is how you find and convert new customers.
Next is behaviour; what are your new customers and prospects doing that result in a conversion? This could be as simple as the pages viewed on your website and which is contributing to conversions most heavily.
Finally there are outcomes, which can be split in two. First you have micro conversions, which are actions such as downloading an eBook, subscribing to your newsletter or sharing an article.
The second form of outcome is macro conversions, which are more driven towards business goals. These are purchases, filling out a lead form, trying a sample or demo of your product etc. The important stuff, basically.
The metrics you measure on all three levels will depend heavily on your business and how it operates.
Where to start?
You should start by checking out your current analytics situation. What are you currently tracking and what do you feel the business should begin tracking next? Is there anything you shouldn’t be measuring that you currently are? Stop tracking these and cut the waste.
What are the core business objectives? In other words, what are they key metrics that truly matter? If you’re not measuring these already then begin doing so.
From here, find the few metrics that matter most to your company and give them ownership to key individuals within your organisation.
Brian Lang, eCommerce Manager at Axcess Financial, puts it best:
“My simple rule is, ‘Would someone be fired/promoted if there was a significant change to this metric?’ – if yes, you’ve probably found your ‘one metric that matters'”