Chasing vanity or measuring the right metrics? You decide.

Mar 08, 2023
Computer screen depicting graphs of data in bar and line charts.

You’ve heard vanity metrics in digital marketing and suspect they’re not good for business. So, what are the important, non-vanity metrics that we need to adopt?

Start by measuring these 4 parameters:

  • Total number of SaaS MQL / SQLs
  • Conversion rate 
  • Customers
  • Revenue


You, as an org, need to define this. Before you even ask “is organic worth it”, you need to decide if your strategy is to push for trials or some form of asset download that the sales team needs to qualify into SQL. 

Your strategy will dictate which kind of lead to focus on within your SaaS, MQLs tend to be the most easily controlled number for Marketing. 

What is conversion rate?

Conversion rate is the percentage of MQLs that convert to customers. 

Why are customers a metric?

To some, this one is obvious, but it needs to be said to everyone to make sure it’s being measured — work out how many customers each channel produces.

And lastly…


The north star. How much revenue came from this channel? Without this, you are 100% looking at a vanity metrics strategy and not a useful marketing or sales analysis.

What you’re doing wrong

Most marketers will only look at 2 parameters: MQL’s and conversions, with their definition of conversion being “lead to MQL,” not “MQL to customer.” 

I don’t focus much on the number of leads, I care about qualified leads, which is what should define your SaaS' MQL. 

And I know, I know… Sales has a huge part in MQLs converting to customers, so some argue, “why is marketing held responsible for a number they can’t control?”

All of marketing is indirect, whereas all of sales is direct. If you, as a marketer, are not paying attention to what makes sales jobs easier, then you’re missing a MASSIVE part of your job. 

Think of it as what you have control over vs what you impact. 

Other metrics you might call out if pertinent to your business are ACV (Annual Contract Value), ROAS (Return On Ad Spend), and cost/spend. These are rarely vanity metrics in digital marketing so go nuts measuring those.

Top takeaway: Money isn’t vain

If nothing else, take this away: while likes, traffic, non-qualified leads and company mentions, are a start, they’re vanity metrics if you’re using them to predict revenue and customers.

Companies that want to sell BIG need to focus on the metrics that show REAL money coming in, and real stickiness with customers.

If this was useful, my Customer Funnel Worksheet will blow your mind. 

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