Meaningless Marketing Metrics You Should Steer Clear Of

Taking a plunge into Google Analytics or any PPC platform can be like falling down a virtual rabbit hole. 


There are more metrics than you can count on all of your toes and fingers, three times over.


I could go on and on. The truth of it is that there are too many metrics, many of which add very little insight.


We know all too well how easy it is to give your attention to the wrong metrics. Many of them do not measure how effective your marketing strategies are, which well is rather futile...


You need to be able to focus on the metrics that do matter if you want to track ROI properly.


Traffic is great, but what happened when that traffic hit your site?


Did they bounce immediately?


Generating high volumes of traffic is pointless if none of them are doing what you want them to do when they get there. 


So instead we thought it would be useful to explain what metrics are meaningless and which we like to use instead.


Total Backlinks

This one might be pretty surprising, considering links act as trust signals. So following logic, the more trust signals, the better?


The game of accumulating as many backlinks as possible to rise quickly through the rankings is actually a risky path and generally ineffective. This is not to invalidate an extensive back linking strategy - this is an essential part of ranking higher on Google.

This clearly highlights that you need backlinks in order to be on that all important first page. Without them, then your chances are slim and in reality that search term has very little value. 


But this is not to say that you should acquire links from every random site that you can find. For example, an obvious choice is to buy links or place links in directories. This is because most directories have a strong authority and are easy to get.


But that is the catch 22. Google knows full well that these links are easy to acquire… And as the old saying goes, nothing worth having comes easy. 


Instead of focusing on quantity, we should look for quality. The criteria for a high quality link is:


  1. Direct relevance to the target page
  2. High domain authority
  3. Numerous referring domains

High quality backlinks are a great reference for Google to know that your website is legitimate and worth showing in the results page. So the right metric to chase is High - Quality links.


Traffic and Page views


Unless you run ads on your site via AdSense, then traffic and page views are pretty much meaningless.

Don’t get me wrong, plenty of traffic is great.

Online sales are a numbers game and if you get X number of visits, multiply by your conversion rate of Y, you are getting more customers. If you want to increase sales, you can increase traffic numbers on the frontend or conversion rates on the backend.

The tricky part about driving new traffic comes back to quality. New visits aren’t worth the expense if that traffic doesn’t do anything on your site.

What if they bounce immediately, or what if they don’t convert? Then you’ve got an issue with irrelevant traffic.

So why is it that in the digital marketing sphere there is a major focus on traffic and page views, instead of improving conversion rates?

Let’s be real, we are all in business to drive sales in our product or service. At the end of the day, a successful business is successful if it is returning continued profit. 

Yes, it may be exciting to see your analytics showing a big spike in traffic. But let’s not get carried away with vanity metrics, where is that traffic going? More importantly, do you have a method implemented to harness this traffic?

The point is, if you can get all this traffic but you are not converting many, then what is the point? Or at the very least it shows that your business could be more effective in achieving its ultimate goal.

So instead, let’s shift our focus into improving conversion rates so you do not need a silly amount of visitors to meet your targets.

Email open rates

Email is by far the most effective marketing channel today in terms of ROI.


In fact, for every $1 spent, email marketing returns $40. 


However, this is only true if done correctly. For people who are just starting out, there are billions of emails sent single day - in fact 246 billion emails in 2019.


Emails are an effective marketing tool as they are a direct outreach to an individual and because of this receive a good open rate, averaging about 20%.

That’s a very high percentage when you consider that website conversions are anywhere between 2-5% on average. 


However this data can be deceiving - when you delve a little deeper and look into the steps it takes from opening to converting on an email, the optimism fades a little. 


The average click through rate for emails is less than 4%.


That means only 4% of 21.73% are actually clicking through to any links or offers you give in your emails and just because 4% clicked through to your post, it doesn’t mean all 4% will convert on your offer.


People often put too much emphasis on metrics like email open rate because they look great on paper. However in reality it is another vanity metric. It looks awesome on the surface, but when you break it down, it’s not really what it seems.

Instead, try focusing on improving your offers to drive more conversions.


Bounce rates


Bounce rates on the surface level are easy to understand. Here is a definition…


Quickly you think that a high bounce rate is a negative thing. However, let's take an example..

Say that someone is searching for ‘Morning routines to be more productive’ and click on a blog post. They might click on the first post and have a quick browse, then click back to the Google SERPs.


This would classify as a bounce as they didn’t visit any other pages on your site. Some people might think this is a complete failure.


In reality, bounce rates are not what we make them out to be. Typically, if your bounce rate is anywhere between 20-70%, you are actually "average".


A meaningless metric, as it is such a huge range.


Your bounce rate is not set in stone as there are multiple contributing factors.

A shining example is what proportion of your website traffic comes from mobiles?


Then you can easily justify a high bounce rate without worrying about having bad content or ineffective landing pages.

Mobile traffic bounces at a much higher rate than desktop traffic. So if your business has mostly mobile traffic, you shouldn’t stress about your bounce rates.

If someone tells you that a 90% bounce rate is terrible, they might be wrong.

It all depends on the context of the bounce

For example, simple goal-based landing pages are much more likely to have higher bounce rates.

Why? Your entire goal is to keep them on that page! So it would be bad to have a low bounce rate on your simple landing page.

That would mean you’re driving people away from the intended goal of converting on that page!

So stop worrying about your bounce rate.

Any single raw number can be good or bad. It all comes back to the context around each of them at the end of the day.

Conclusions


The next time you log into your Google Analytics account or where you get your marketing data from, I want you to take a second look at these vanity metrics and question the depth of their appeal. 


Things like page views, email open rates and bounce rates can twist your perception either positively or negatively and cause you to lose track of what really matters.


They aren’t always an accurate measure of your success. They aren’t a leading indicator like conversions and cost per acquisition.

They don’t tell you the end goal.

Did you make money on that sale? Was the cost per lead too high or was it low?

These are the metrics you need to focus on instead. Tweaking your cost per lead can grow your profits massively if you do it right. Most of these other metrics are misleading in comparison.