June 04, 2018

Vanity metrics spread doubt about digital marketing’s effectiveness


When pitching their services, marketers love to tout the massive video views and clickthrough rates their campaigns drive. But adhering to flimsy metrics may prove counterproductive.

In a March 2018 survey of 50 CFOs in the US, 36% of respondents said one of their biggest concerns about the digital marketing at their organization is that they measure in vanity metrics. The surveyed CFOs concluded that many data points they’re presented with by marketers don’t really matter to their ultimate goals.

Obsessing over how much incremental “engagement” a product drove may sound good in a marketer case study, but it won’t necessarily garner increased investment from clients.

The biggest issue CFOs had with their organization’s marketing efforts was that they saw digital marketing as a cost center. The surveyed CFOs perceived that digital marketing isn’t adding profit, but instead costs more money to operate than it brings in. They also took issue with how transparent marketers are in presenting their successes and failures and that their marketing teams don’t judge success based on concrete outcomes like sales.

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