As you’re creating your SMART key performance indicators (KPIs), make sure you’re not including vanity metrics. SMART KPIs should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. An example of a social media KPI that can be tempting to strive for is: “I will increase my Instagram followers by 5% by the end of quarter 3”. While this metric encompasses the requirements of SMART, it is a vanity metric.
HubSpot defines a vanity metric as: “data such as social media followers, page views, subscribers, and other flashy analytics that are satisfying on paper, but don’t move the needle for your business goals”.
While you’re developing your KPIs, keep your overarching goal in mind and think of these measures as the steps you will take to get there. If your goal is to increase revenue generated by your social media channels, an indicator like getting more likes on your social media posts may not be the right fit. While engagement is great, if your target audience is liking images of your product, but they are not making a purchase, this is not a proper indication of success.
I am an email marketer and when I first began my career, I put a lot of my focus on open rates. While an open rate can be a good gauge for how well a subject line is resonating with consumers, it isn’t always accurate. HubSpot mentions that many email clients have to load images to count as an open. And if my customers are anything like me, they may just be opening an email simply because seeing the number of notifications piling up makes them feel like they don’t have a handle on their inbox.
Now that I am a more seasoned email marketer, I focus my SMART KPIs on stronger indicators of success like revenue-per-lead (RPL). RPL is calculated by dividing total email revenue by total sent. This is an important metric because it adds more meaning to the total dollar amount. For example, say that two emails generated $50,000 in revenue but one was sent to 23,000 people and the other was sent to 230,000 people. Without calculating RPL, both emails could appear to be equally lucrative. However, the first email has an RPL of $2.17, while the second has an RPL of $.22. The RPL demonstrates that the first email performed better. Increasing RPL is a strong KPI to strive for.
As you’re developing your SMART KPIs remember that your goals should be beneficial to the business, unlike glittery metrics like likes and opens.
Aronica, Janet. “Stop Measuring These Vanity Metrics in Your Marketing Campaign.” HubSpot, https://blog.hubspot.com/vanity-metrics-to-stop-measuring-and-better-alternatives. Accessed 17 Apr 2022.