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Limelight Platform


November 5, 2021

The Decline of Vanity Metrics In Experiential Marketing

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in July 2018. It has been refreshed by Limelight staff and updated to reflect the passage of time.

Oh, vanity metrics…useful for top-of-the-funnel marketing measurements, not so useful when it comes to measuring business goals.

In recent years, vanity metrics—data points like impressions, subscriber numbers and downloads—have taken it on the chin. Detractors point to how they can look impressive (i.e. 100,000 Twitter followers) but are easy to manipulate (i.e. paid-for followers) and, when they standalone, often provide little value measuring ROI.

But that doesn’t mean they are useless, it just means that, with better technology, a longer timeline and a focus on more specific KPIs, measuring business success today is different than in years past.

What Has Surpassed Vanity Metrics?

Vanity metrics are easy to report and, on the surface, can look impressive. But in 2021, businesses are employing more-actionable metrics that provide valuable intelligence about customers. Examples include Consumer Lifetime Value (pre-churn revenue), SMART KPIs (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-related) and the F.O.R.D. system (family, occupation, recreation and dreams). “If you know two or more facts about someone’s F.O.R.D., you not only have a relationship, you own the relationship,” according to John DiJulius, who conceived of the system.

Modern Campaign Measurement

With ever-tightening budgets, scrutinized ROI and the waning importance of vanity metrics, experiential marketers must focus on data points that solve business problems and create growth.

In website parlance, think active users—the number of people who actually engage with a website and use its services. Tracking a detailed metric like this is far more useful than measuring something like total users, which doesn't provide a full picture of how people interact with a brand.

The right software will help teams measure campaigns more effectively, monitor events with 20/20 clarity and provide rich insights that can't be replicated by manual methods like paper questionnaires.

That’s where Limelight Platform comes in. If you’re looking to justify budgets, quantify ROI and plan and execute show-stopping activations, we can help. Our wide array of customizable solutions combine active and passive data collection with seamless reporting on everything from attendees to attribution. Vanity metrics may look great, but from a business goals perspective, our measurement tools are what will really make you campaigns shine.--


Vanity metrics. You may remember them fondly, but they are no longer the be-all and end-all of reporting. That doesn’t mean they’re useless, but it does mean you need to do more. Find out what here.

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