How to Cut Through the Key Marketing Metrics Mess

Marketing Metrics


Everything in our lives now has at least 10 different ways to be measured, and another 50 articles on the metrics you should be using. This applies to more than just marketing—how to measure your personal success, how to measure your dog’s obedience, how to measure who does the dishes more often in your household. The list goes on, the numbers go on, and you spiral into a never-ending measurement crisis.

So, what happens when you start measuring everything? You lose track of what matters. Click To Tweet Suddenly you’re grasping for one more like, one more follower, one more page view, one more gold star from your dog trainer. But do any of those measurements matter? Will they get you to your end goal? Probably not. In this sea of never-ending metrics, how do you know what to measure anymore?

The answer (don’t hate me): It depends.

In college, it was easy to measure my success—I had one goal in mind: pass my classes. Since graduation, I’ve realized that measuring success in my job has ranged from designing a dollhouse that would pass safety tests to planning a concert that would increase NPS scores to building campaigns that increase retention. Although the meaning of “success” in each of the scenarios is vastly different, how I determined my measurements was the same.

Here are four easy ways to help you cut through the key marketing metrics mess. 

1. Define Your Goal

By defining your goal, you can help narrow your focus on what you should be measuring. If your goal is to increase retention rates by 10%, then measuring page views or other vanity metrics isn’t going to help you. When you define your goal, you can work backward to see what metrics will contribute to your success. Click To Tweet Start by asking yourself what larger company goal you’re trying to make an impact on. This can be different for every department. Yours could be focused on revenue, building a brand vision, or even recruiting talent. Then ask yourself what channel you’re using. Are you using email, a blog, social posts, or working with an influencer?  Use those two items to build the framework of your goal.

2. Minimize Your Metrics

Once you’ve defined the framework of your goal, there are still many metrics to choose from. Just because you can measure something, doesn’t mean you should. Focus on one metric that you can rally all the stakeholders for that project around. When you pick a key marketing metric that matters to multiple stakeholders, you’re able to easily communicate the importance of that project and quickly see whether the work everyone is doing is making an impact. This doesn’t mean that you should only use one metric forever. As you start to move forward with a project, you should increase the metrics you’re using to get the best results. This also allows you to develop benchmarks to be able to test and optimize as you move forward.

3. Pretty Isn’t Always Relevant

Remember, at the end of the day, you measure something to show the impact on the business. Metrics, like friends, should give you value. What does it matter if you have 5,000 friends, but only three of them ever talk to you? I would say you actually only have three friends. There are a lot of vanity key marketing metrics out there that are easy to measure and look great in a graph/pie chart/visual, but they won’t help you to prove your bottom line.

4. Make Your Key Marketing Metrics Tell a Story

At the end of the day, you need to prove through your metrics that the project you worked on either achieved success or not. That sounds simple, but not everyone you will be presenting findings to will find your results as easy to translate or even understand why they matter (don’t worry, they do matter). At this point, you’ve defined your metrics and should know what to do if your metrics prove to be successful or how to improve if they aren’t. Put the data you’ve received into a digestible format and take a look at it from your audiences’ perspective. Will they understand how they should proceed with the project?

Take these tips and measure everything in your life a little easier! Do you have a great way to cut the metrics mess? How do you decide what to measure? I’d love to hear your thoughts!