What are you actually trying to measure?

As a marketer I’m often looking at a lot of metrics. Website visits, email opens, social engagement, and so much more! We all have our internal metrics that we track diligently, but sometimes when looking at these metrics the question arises: what do they mean?

If we take email opens for instance. If you have an email open rate of 10% one month and your average is 15%, that’s bad right? But what if you also had an increased number of clicks and donations despite the lower open rate? Maybe another month you could have a 50% open rate and no donations. That’s great success on the opens, but is that the key takeaway if you’re getting no donations?

This is why metrics should always be put in the context of their actual outputs. Be very clear about which metrics are for your goals (e.g. sign ups, donations) versus the metrics measuring the ways you are looking to achieve them. The former are mission critical, the latter should be seen more as indicators. It’s nice if they’re high, but so long as your mission goals are being hit, you’re succeeding.

Always focus on your end results before the upstream metrics!
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