Metrics: How Many is Too Many?
One of the greatest things about inbound marketing is the ability to track everything with metrics. Conversely, this creates a wealth different metrics that can be overwhelming and daunting at times. At the core of your marketing strategy, and each individual campaign, there should be a select few key metrics. These key performance indicators will be how you judge the success of your campaigns and overall marketing efforts. But when you choose too many metrics as key performance indicators, your results are diluted and it becomes difficult to gauge success.
What Are Your Main Metrics?
If it takes you a few minute to think of all of them, or you need a full sheet of paper to write them down, you’re likely trying to track too many metrics. Having a ton of information is great, but there needs to be a hierarchy to understand the value of the metrics. Depending on your industry, having three to five main key performance indicators is a good basis to start with. Alternate metrics can support and influence these key performance indicators, but they should not take priority.
Why Are You Focused on The Right Metrics?
Some metrics sound and look nice, but hold no actual weight on your business. Your key metrics should be chosen for a reason, based on how they impact your business and align with company goals. For example, if you are publishing an eBook for your company, you’ll want to track the conversion rate of visitors on the page that download the book. This is important information because it provides a simple and accurate gauge of performance for the eBook. A poor metric to track in this instance would be how the eBook impacts overall site traffic, because there are so many outside factors that can change that metric. Tracking a metric such as this won’t give you any additional insight, and is purely a metric tracked for the sake of tracking metrics. It is important to take the time to consider the purpose behind each campaign and project, and determine which metrics represent the achievement of that purpose.
How Are You Setting Goals?
When you are setting goals for your metrics, arbitrarily setting benchmark numbers will get you nowhere. It puts you in a position where you are following the negative stereotype of “measuring once and cutting twice.” If your goals aren’t based on research and previous efforts, your benchmarks won’t be accurate gauges of your performance. If you are testing a new type of campaign, sometimes you have to let things play out for a while before setting goals to make sure you gather enough data as a basis.
Just because you have the capability to track hundreds of metrics doesn’t mean you should. While having a massive source of information is helpful, it can be chaotic if you are constantly shifting focus to different metrics, with little rhyme or reason. The more key performance indicators you have, the less valuable each one becomes. Simply put: you can’t have ten or twenty No. 1 priorities.
If you take a simplified approach to metrics and tracking, gauging progress and performance becomes much easier. Selecting a small amount of key performance indicators will allow you to target your efforts towards a unified purpose. The wealth of other metrics you have doesn’t become useless or ineffective, as they can be viewed as contributing factors to the primary metrics. Often times, by focusing on improving your primary metrics, the secondary metrics improve in correlation.
Life is a lot easier as a marketer when you can have a grasp on where your performance is at all times. But if you can’t count your key performance indicators on one hand, you may need to scale down the number of metrics you are tracking.