• Manish Nepal

This is Why Vanity Metrics Doesn't Work in Marketing


Ever wonder why page traffic, followers’ count, and post likes end up becoming vanity metrics? A good way to understand this is through The Goodhart’s Law.


Originally an economic theory, the law says:


"When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."

Let me explain.


Say you are 100 kgs and obese. As a first step, your trainer tells you that you need to lose 25 kgs within the next three months.


Mind you, your actual goal is to become fitter, not to drop 25 kgs.


The latter is a means to an end. But now you will do everything six ways from Sunday to shed 25 kgs—you will starve yourself till you are anaemic, give up drinking water, or go all out with juice detox.


The measure now becomes your mission while you conveniently sideline your actual goal. That’s exactly how we have skewed the understanding of marketing metrics.


For example, over the years we have come to correlate:


High page traffic = more conversions
Likes on social media posts = viral content
Followers’ count = potential buyers

Not true.


Over-optimizing your website for more page views does not guarantee sales. Clicks/Likes on social media posts these days are mostly an act of empty clicktivism.


And the fake followers’ count influencers boast of never yield any tangible returns.


These metrics used to be good benchmarks to measure the performance of your marketing strategy.


But marketers have manipulated the perception around these metrics and made them look like good goals to chase.


Vanity metrics are oversimplifications. You can’t equate them with the success of your marketing.
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