Measuring Social Media Performance: Vanity Metrics vs. Growth Metrics

By jackie Analytics, B2B marketing, Social Media Marketing Comments Off on Measuring Social Media Performance: Vanity Metrics vs. Growth Metrics

growth hacking, growth hacking strategies

Are your current social media strategies making an impact? Or are you relying on vanity metrics that don’t accurately illustrate a return on investment (ROI)? Identifying the difference between vanity metrics and growth metrics is vital for any sound social media marketing strategy. Luckily, there are a range of tools available to help measure performance to assess success across multiple social media channels. 

At Digital Squad, we have over 15 years of experience helping our clients optimise their performances using the right metrics and data-driven strategies. Let us show you what true ROI looks like and how measuring the right growth metrics can make all the difference.

What Are Vanity Metrics?

Understanding vanity metrics is crucial to achieving true social media success. Social media benchmarks are given so much importance that these metrics have become a staple in any marketing report. But what many businesses need to understand is that these metrics often don’t contribute to the bottom line; they can even be misleading. 

Vanity metrics are data points that make your performance look good but don’t actually help you improve your social media conversion rate. They can be tempting to fixate on because they’re easy to measure, but real success comes from focusing on the metrics that matter. By understanding which metrics are vanity and which are impactful, you can optimise your social media strategy and convert followers into customers.

Five Most Common Vanity Metrics

Here’s a quick look at some of the most common vanity metrics that you encounter when implementing a digital or social media marketing campaign:

  1. Follower Count: This metric is about the number of followers or fans you have on your social media platforms. While it may make your brand look popular, it doesn’t necessarily translate to increased engagement or sales. It’s essential to look beyond this number and focus more on the quality of your followers.
  2. Page Views: This refers to the number of times a webpage has been viewed. It can be misleading, as it doesn’t provide information about user engagement or the effectiveness of your content. Dig deeper into metrics like time spent on the page or bounce rate for a better understanding.
  3. Likes and Shares: While likes and shares can indicate that your content is resonating with your audience, they don’t necessarily lead to conversions or sales. It’s more valuable to focus on actionable metrics like click-through rates or conversion rates.
  4. Email Opens: This refers to how many recipients opened your email. It doesn’t tell you much about the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign. Instead, look at click-through rates and conversion rates to understand how your emails are really performing.
  5. Impressions: This metric tells you how many times your content was displayed, but not whether it was interacted with. Tracking engagement metrics like click-through rates provides a more accurate picture of the effectiveness of your content.

While vanity metrics can provide an overview of your social media presence, they shouldn’t be the sole focus of your digital marketing strategy. Let’s shift the focus to actionable growth metrics. These metrics align with your business objectives and can lead to meaningful improvements in your social media marketing efforts.

Understanding Growth Metrics

Growth metrics refer to the data points that provide insights into the expansion and progress of your business, product, or service. These include metrics such as the rate of new customer acquisition, customer retention rate, revenue growth, and product adoption rate, among others. Unlike vanity metrics, growth metrics provide actionable insights that directly correlate with your business objectives.

5 Growth Metrics to Track for Social Media Performance

To utilise the full potential of social media marketing for your brand or business, it’s crucial to understand and track specific metrics. Here are five key growth metrics that are particularly relevant in evaluating your social media performance.

  1. Follower Growth Rate: This metric tracks the rate at which your brand’s followers on social media platforms are increasing. A consistent and steady increase in follower count signifies positive brand awareness and growing audience interest.

    Digital Squad Insight: Follower Count vs. Follower Growth Rate
    The follower count is a static number denoting the total number of followers your brand has at a particular moment. This metric can be a vanity metric if not evaluated in the context of engagement levels, as it doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality or interest level of your audience. On the other hand, the follower growth rate is a dynamic metric that reflects the rate at which your follower base is growing over a specific period. It’s a more actionable metric as it can indicate the effectiveness of your audience-building strategies and the potential for future growth.

  2. Engagement Rate: Engagement rate measures the level of interaction between your brand and its followers. It includes actions such as likes, shares, comments, and saves. High engagement rates indicate that your content resonates with your audience, fostering deeper connections with your brand.
  3. Share of Voice (SOV): SOV measures your brand’s visibility or dominance in online conversations compared to your competitors. A higher SOV means your brand is leading the conversation in your industry, amplifying your reach and influence.
  4. Conversion Rate: This metric measures the number of conversions (e.g., sales, sign-ups, downloads) from social media interactions. A high conversion rate indicates effective social media marketing strategies that not only engage customers but also drive them to action.
  5. Customer Retention Rate: This metric monitors the number of customers who continue to engage with your brand over a specific period. A high customer retention rate signifies strong customer loyalty and satisfaction, crucial for long-term success.

Data Dashboard for Monitoring Growth Metrics

It’s undeniable – growth metrics have become an essential part of any business strategy. But how does one act on these metrics? The answer lies in tracking and monitoring growth metrics data through a data dashboard.

What is a Data Dashboard?

A data dashboard is a management tool that visually tracks, analyses, and displays key performance indicators (KPIs), metrics, and key data points to monitor the health of a business, department, or specific process. They are customisable to meet the specific needs of a business and can pull in real-time data from various sources.

Digital marketing experts at Digital Squad create and utilise data dashboards to monitor growth metrics effectively. By collating key data in a single place, they can quickly assess the performance of their client’s marketing strategies and make data-driven decisions. This could involve using dashboard software to pull in data from social media platforms, Google Analytics, email marketing software, and CRM systems. 

With this information, marketers can track metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer retention rates, all of which are critical for understanding the success of their strategies and making necessary adjustments. This data visualisation makes it easier to identify trends, understand the impact of newly implemented strategies, and ultimately improve marketing effectiveness.


Understanding vanity and growth metrics is crucial for businesses aiming to establish a strong digital presence. Vanity metrics provide surface-level popularity insights, while growth metrics offer deeper insights for measuring conversions and campaign success.

However, navigating the world of digital metrics can be complex. That’s where Digital Squad comes in. With a wealth of industry experience and an innovative, results-driven approach, we are ready to be your partner. Trust your digital marketing campaigns to the experts at Digital Squad. We’re not just about delivering amazing campaigns – we’re about providing you with the tools and insights necessary to understand, track, and optimise your business growth. Reach out today and let us help you digitise your marketing campaigns.

Related articles:

  • Share: