Reporting on vanity metrics can be very seductive for B2B marketers. By trade, we like painting pretty pictures. The reality is that if a company is growing, chart lines will naturally move up and to the right. While it’s useful to monitor trending data on things like web hits and database growth, those numbers are seldom actionable, give little insight on quality and don’t paint a real picture on the impact of your team’s efforts.

I’m calling on my fellow marketers to step up and make their KPIs actionable and tied to revenue. To help get the conversation going, I’ve provided some examples of marketing activities you’re probably measuring and ways to rethink those metrics which will allow you to fully understand your marketing ROI.

I. Social Media

Wrong: Quantity of followers and likes

I hate to break it to you, but Twitter followers and Facebook likes have absolutely no bearing on your bottom line. There, I said it! If you have any more than a handful of Twitter followers, chances are that many are bots or brands that want to sell to you, not prospects trying to “engage with your brand.” As for Facebook likes, clicking that ubiquitous thumbs-up doesn’t indicate someone is going to buy from you. Let’s all agree to give this one a rest, once and for all.

Getting Better: Conversions or engagement from social

A better way to tell if your social media tactics are successful is to measure converting traffic from social sources. How many people from Twitter clicked-thru and filled out a form, or showed significant engagement (e.g. 4 page views or more)?

Nailing It: ROI attributed to social campaigns

Use a multi-touch attribution model to learn the ROI of social campaigns and compare that to other channels.

II. Form Completions

Wrong: Net new leads from form completions

Form completions is very poor buying signal. With a few exceptions, like a demo request, someone filling out a form on your website is not saying they want to buy your product; they’re saying they’re interested in the content behind the form. Furthermore, straight-up form completions tell you nothing about the quality of the lead coming in.

Getting Better: SQLs sourced by forms

Reporting on how many SQLs came through web forms shows, that not only are you attracting qualified leads, but those people are ready to have a conversation with someone in your organization.

Nailing It: Pipeline touched by web forms

Find out how much pipeline was touched by your webforms at any stage in the funnel. This requires using multi-touch attribution to understand your demand waterfall and gives full visibility to not only how your web forms are sourcing new leads, but how they are effecting prospects already on your buyers’ journey.

III. Events

Wrong: Badges Scanned

Events have a horrible reputation for being expensive and providing poor ROI. Why? Because nearly every marketing department is measuring them by the number of badges scanned, and at best, opportunities sourced from events. If this is your metric, you’ll be disappointed when half your leads wind up being little old ladies who took the free expo pass to collect swag.

Getting Better: Prospect meetings during event

Report on how many meetings with existing prospects your sales team attends during the event.

Nailing it: Funnel progression based on event touches

Several BrightFunnel customers have proven that the real value of events is mid-funnel. Using a first-touch attribution, it’s true that events will be undervalued. I recommend measuring how many existing prospects move to the next stage in your funnel as the result of an event touch.

IV. Content Marketing

Wrong: Search engine page rank

Search rankings are a false measurement that should be banished forever. Over the past five years, Google has customized search results so much that you cannot guarantee that two people will ever see the same results. More importantly, SERPs (Search Engine Rank Page) have little impact on quantity or quality of traffic – or revenue impact for that matter. Finally, Google gives less and less keyword data in their analytics. You can no longer get a clear picture of what keywords are working.

Getting Better: Organic traffic by theme

Divide your landing pages by themes and measure which are receiving the most organic traffic. That will give you a better indication of what topics are resonating and bringing results.

Nailing it: Pipeline or revenue influenced by theme

Tag all your content and campaigns by topic. Measure these by pipeline or revenue influenced. Make decisions on what themes to invest in based on those results.

V. PPC Campaigns

Wrong: PPC campaign membership

We tend to measure the value of a PPC campaign by the number of leads it generates. By now you’re probably picking up on the theme that this tells you little about the actual ROI of that campaign.

Getting Better: Opportunities sourced by PPC

Reporting on how many opportunities were generated by your PPC campaign at least indicates quality.

Nailing It: Weighted pipeline or revenue attributed to PPC

Understand how much revenue that campaign influenced by measuring ROI using a multi-touch attribution model.

In Conclusion

While vanity metrics may make you look good at your next board meeting and may be directionally interesting, it’s time for marketers to take analytics seriously. Being data driven, not only means reporting on data, you must use the data to drive decisions that will lead to pipeline and revenue. If you don’t have visibility into marketing’s impact on sales, you’re missing a huge opportunity to truly get a handle on your campaign ROI.

Post originally published on the Radius Blog and republished with permission.