No More Vanity Metrics Please

November 14th, 2019
Measure the right thing.


How much are you giving your business ego a boost with vanity metrics?

These are the metrics you can collect purely to make your product or service look good but do not add any value to your business development process.

I see people obsess over the number of twitter followers they have or how many people have viewed their latest article on their website. Whilst this might give you an indication as to whether your marketing is effective unless you can capture the impact of people actually reading what you are publishing, all you can say is that it has been viewed. The metric that is most useful for your business is how many people then go on to engage with you as a result of viewing your work. Do they comment and what are they saying? What action are they taking? How do you capture this? What do you then do with this information? The key metrics for any business are those which enables your business to take decisions.

Just because you can measure something it doesn’t mean you should. I have seen more metrics collected and reported than I care to remember and I’m still not clear on what some of them were supposed to be telling me other than a box was being ticked.

Historically lots of public-funded projects used to collect meaningless metrics, meaningless in that they were not informing the impact of that programme of work. I would like to think this has been addressed fully but I still don’t see this as being the case. Business support projects often collect the number of engagements with businesses, but I am left saying, so what? This total number metric is a marker of activity, but it tells us nothing about the impact of the project. What was the outcome from each of those interactions? If nothing, why capture it as a measure of success? Capture it as learning as to the effectiveness of the support given but don’t hail it as success in itself.

The right metrics to capture are those linked to your business goals. Good metrics are therefore those that show your objectives are being met or are inspiring you to take action.

Carefully consider what metrics you use to measure success.

“It’s a common misconception that money is every entrepreneur’s metric for success. It’s not, and nor should it be.” Richard Branson

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