Vanity metrics don’t help you convert your blog from a hobby to a business. And the irony is, most bloggers focus on vanity metrics.
For many bloggers (it happened to me as well), when you start out, you have no idea what metrics to focus on. It gets confusing when you install Google Analytics and you have no guide to use. So what most bloggers end up doing is focusing on vanity metrics.
Now this may ruffle some feathers but you need to stay with me to the end. Some of the vanity metrics you are probably looking at are:
- Number of likes and followers
- Number of downloads on your lead magnet
- Number of site visitors
- Bounce rate & exit rate
I can see you shaking your head but these numbers does not correlate with what’s important in growing your blog to your business. Yes, they do show a level of traction for what you are doing, but they don’t show cost per customer or customer acquisition cost or customer lifetime value or simply active users.
Also Read: What are most bloggers ignorant of that prevents them from becoming financially independent
Vanity metrics make you feel good, but they don’t give clear guidance for what to do. – -Eric Ries
The underlying common ground for all businesses is revenue. If your business is not generating enough revenue to sustain you and still make a profit, then what you have my dear is a hobby.
Nothing wrong with hobbies. But I don’t spend time writing how you can grow your blog, creating products of the same for you to settle being a blogger with a blog that doesn’t generate any source of revenue.
To avoid focusing on vanity metrics, you need to work with the end in mind.
I would like to believe your end as well as mine is revenue.
Depending with the way you would like to generate revenue, you need to look at the important conversion metrics that will lead to maximum use of your time on your blog.
So if you are working towards selling advertising space (right now some advertisers look at number of views but not for long will this model remain sustainable) work on engaging your viewers to click through your links.
If you are working towards affiliate marketing, work on getting your viewers to not only click but also purchase the product you are marketing.
This is why understanding key performance index (KPIs) is important for your bottom line.
For example if I want to make $2000 on my blog each month, and my source of generating my income is through creation of my own products, then that should be my main focus each morning. Whether I am up selling or down selling my customers the bottom line for me is not only give them value but also generate income of $2000.
Once you know what metrics to observe and tweak and test out you need to view them weekly, monthly and daily.
The number one metric to focus on is traffic. No matter what business model you are going to use, you need traffic. The more traffic you have the better your conversion rate.
No one will buy or click through if they don’t know you exist. To do this, you first need to establish the channels you are going to promote your content through.
Channels help you focus directly on what your customers want. The customers you have subscribed to your newsletter is very different from the cold traffic you are trying to capture from social media.
For example, when I started monitoring my traffic, I noticed I get more traction on Pinterest and Twitter than Facebook. With that in mind, I spend less time on Facebook than I do on the other platforms.
Taking note of the traffic, I noted the amount of time people from Pinterest spent on the site and their bounce rate is much lower than that of Twitter.
What did that tell me? I have a more engaged Pinterest audience or when someone from Pinterest clicks through to my website, I am actually addressing their pain point.
How do I get all these? I use Google Analytics. And I make a point to analyze the metrics each week. To know what works and what doesn’t work.
Customer Acquisition Cost
This is probably the most important metric marketers look at. This metric determines whether you should take your business behind the barn and shoot it or keep pushing your business.
The irony is, most online marketers (including bloggers) don’t bother with this metric.
So what exactly does customer acquisition cost mean?
This is the price you will fork out to convince a customer to pay for your products or programs or services.
The cost most definitely includes paid advertisement but apart from that it also includes, salaries, Saas programs you use, salaries, market research, overheads etc.
In this article David Stok explains how much your CAC grows if your lead requires human touch to convert them.
Generally speaking your CAC can be calculated by adding up your monthly budget divided by the total number of customers you have acquired in that month. Your CAC should cost less than the product.
Your CAC will help you determine the effectiveness of marketing on the different platforms and channels.
Customer Lifetime Value
You cannot talk about customer acquisition cost without mentioning customer lifetime value. Now here is the thing, we often focus on acquiring new customers, and forget the importance of reactivating our existing ones.
This is a strategy I learnt from Bushra Azhar. When she started out, she made the incentive of building an army rather than fans.
So her main business strategy, was to get you to buy her first product, then the next and the next.
The best way to do this online is through email marketing. Because you already have the contact details for your customers, you can ask them what they want and create it then finally sell it to them.
In summary, customer lifetime value measures the amount of money one client will spend on your business.
This video by Intricity showcases a detailed process on how to calculate your customer lifetime value. Arkady Kleyner, explains how you can calculate your CLV no matter what industry your business is in.
If you already know how to calculate your average order value and repeat purchase rate you can get an estimate of your customer lifetime value here.
Click Through Rate
Click through rate is simply the percentage of people accessing your website (or a link to a page) from an advertisement or email.
For example your, from your Facebook page, how many people are clicking to your website link that you have supplied? It will show you in percentage.
With Facebook Insights, you can use the data they provide to see what your audience is engaging more in. And you also need to note the “pay to play” policy Facebook is adapting. With that in mind, you can do more live broadcasts on your Facebook page (because that’s where the most engagement is at) than directly sharing a link to your website.
The same goes for Pinterest and Twitter (and I’m sure most social media sites are providing insights).
Simply by visiting Behaviour – Site Content – Landing Pages you will get to see the pages people are accessing first on your site. Note down the pages people are spending the most time and with Google Analytics activated on your browser (the extension), you can use in-page analytics to see exactly where your users are clicking to.
To use the Google Analytics browser extension you need to use Chrome browser.
The final way to track your click through rate that I will discuss and I deem important to track is via email marketing. Whether you use Active Campaign, Convertkit or Mailchimp (drop whatever email marketing software you use here), those platforms all provide your average CTR for your list and also for the industry you placed your industry in.
One thing I have noted, links at the very beginning and at the end of an email have a higher CTR than those found within the body of an email.
Finally, I will discuss conversion rate.
Conversion rates is measured through percentages. To measure you get the total number of conversions (people who have either paid or signed up or whatever you would like your audience to do) divided by the total number of clicks multiplied by 100.
For example, if I wanted people to sign up for my freebie, I could use Facebook ads to promote it. From there I will monitor the number of people who clicked the ad and landed on my page to download the freebie. So if 1000 people clicked to my ad and only 120 people subscribed my conversion rate would be 12%.
With this in mind, you will not certain pages have a higher conversion rate than other pages. As you keep tweaking and testing your landing pages, you will get to understand the language, tone and design your audience prefers and tailor make your landing pages befit for them.
Vanity Metrics Conclusion
Vanity metrics are numbers that you will want to share with your social media following. They will make you feel good and admired. In short boost your blogging ego. With a strategy behind it, they are good for your blog. But if you only focus on the amount of traffic you get and not what your conversion rate is, you will be stuck on the same cycle forever.
If you focus on your bounce rate more than you focus on your customer lifetime value, you will lose.
So as much as you can see your blogging number growing, have a strategy behind them. So as to make the most of those blogging metrics.