Vanity Metrics: Do your customers truly love you?

, Posted by Aliur Rahman in Blog

They might ‘like’ you, but do they really love you? Here’s how to avoid vanity metrics and build more meaningful relationships from your data.

It’s easy to get seduced into thinking you’re wooing customers if you concentrate on vanity metrics alone. Positive numbers of registered users, downloads and raw page-views can do wonders for your ego, but have no bearing on the future success, or failure, of your business because they aren’t tied to business objectives.

To develop actionable metrics, you need to work out which interactions are genuine displays of affection and which are just brief flirtations. Then, plot your next move. If you want to build long-term, meaningful relationships with your customers to create competitive advantage, apply the same principles to your marketing as you would in real life. Here’s how:

Be honest about what you can offer: dreams versus reality

Our digital maturity model delves into your current set-up and the systems already in place, then plots out what you need to do to achieve your business and digital objectives. Are you using Google Analytics, a tag management solution like Tealium or both? What metrics are you tracking and what are they telling you?

We will look at your data touch-points, governance and architecture, your operating model, business culture and output. This will give us a good indication of your level of digital maturity, help us to establish relevant KPIs and progress on your analytics journey together.

For instance, if you’re currently reporting on vanity metrics, such as site visits, bounce rate, pageviews, exit rate and unique users, with no integration or governance, you’re lost in a jungle of data output, with no meaningful outcomes. We can help you to move up the maturity model, to stop operating in siloes and join up your datasets across the business.

The ultimate data maturity goal is to reach a state of data utopia, where metrics, such as attribution scores, engagement scores and segmentation, are being used to drive KPIs such as increased lifetime value, revenue generation, NPS and services cost reduction. Ultimately, resulting in a state of ‘always on’ personalisation and customer satisfaction. We have a business performance accelerator that can help you achieve this.

Make the move from the data Jungle to data Utopia…

Mezzo Labs’ simplified Digital Maturity Model. 


Define what you want from the relationship

This is really the key to getting value from your data. What are your business objectives and digital goals? Most businesses want to increase sales, but what metrics do we need to track to achieve that? We always start at the top of the pyramid (outcome), rather than the bottom (metric). That way, we can align metrics with tangible business (and digital) objectives that are inextricably linked to overall performance. Otherwise, your data is in danger of becoming nothing more than a vanity metric.


Mezzo Labs’ KPI Model


Benchmarking is key. You can use metrics to report to key stakeholders. But, if there’s no contextualisation, they’re in danger of becoming vanity metrics. If you aren’t benchmarking against targets you’ve set yourself or how competitors are doing in your industry, it’s a pointless exercise. If a metric is leading to a decision, such as targeting a segment of customers via email, then it is adding value to your business.

Build meaningful connections

It’s not always love at first ‘like’. Social metrics or measures of engagement, such as comments, shares, likes, clicks and saves are all actionable metrics that we can use to align to a business decision. Let’s say, you have you have 1000 likes on your latest article. This is a great vanity metric that you can share with stakeholders. But, make it an actionable metric – ask customers to submit a review, fill in a form, download a video – and you can take them on to the next stage of the purchasing journey.

Work together towards the same goal

It’s important that no metric is ever used in isolation to allow you to drive decision-making through data. Our KPI framework model (above) helps clients to focus on the end goal and then join up all the data-sets to make sure everyone is on the same page.

For instance, one of our major travel clients had three different departments across business units reporting on the same metric, yet they were all interpreting it in different ways. We helped them link their data, overcome disjointed analysis and avoid potentially damaging decision-making.

When you take this approach, the results are not only felt by customers, improving their experience, but by your internal teams as well. In the long-term, getting more value from metrics helps analytics teams to feel empowered, build trust and on-board marketing teams. Suddenly, everyone can make decisions based on insight, rather than instinct.


Aliur Rahman is our Head of Strategic Analytics & Conversion with experience of building and leading large analytics and optimisation teams for global organisations. He uses his extensive knowledge of analytics, experimentation and personalisation to help clients uncover the true value of their data.

Our top-down approach can help you decipher the meaningful metrics you need to agree your strategic direction and track performance as you move towards them. If you’d like to find out more about our Performance Accelerator Model or book onto a KPI workshop, please get in touch.