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Difference between Vanity Marketing Metrics and Metrics that Matter

by Prisma Campaigns
February 27, 2023

Marketers use various metrics to measure their institution’s performance and make progress toward their goals – but which metrics actually matter? Two common marketing measurements are vanity and impact metrics, and as you may be able to tell by their names, one metric is significantly more influential to an organization’s success.

Below we cover the differences between vanity and impact metrics, including which metrics your team should be using and which you don’t want to rely on.

Two Categories of Marketing Metrics

What are Vanity Marketing Metrics?

Vanity metrics may appear great from the outside, but they don’t hold much substance at their core. As a result, they don’t inform your marketing team or the future of your credit union. Common vanity metrics include social media follows, clicks, newsletter subscribers, or email opens. While growth in these numbers may look nice in a marketing report, they do not necessarily translate to revenue.

You can also think of these metrics as cursory, and it’s important that your credit union doesn’t fall back on these numbers as the definition of success. Although some people who read your newsletter or follow your LinkedIn may have interacted with your CU, it’s more telling to see what brought them to the page, what they did after that touchpoint, and if it led them to engage with your financial offerings.

Here are some additional vanity metrics to consider rethinking:

  1. Traffic (unfiltered)
  2. Email Clicks
  3. Pageviews
  4. Online / Mobile Banking Accounts
  5. Total Accounts

With each of these, additional tracking or going a “level deeper” in your analysis is important. Traffic to a certain area of your website may be dominated by your staff, so filtering an IP address can help better quantify interest in that webpage’s detailed product or service. Email clicks no longer carry the same weight they once did as newer firewall tools automatically open and click links; often your B2B email marketing clicks are false positives. Even your account data presents challenges at first glance: total accounts doesn’t mean much without a closer look at relationship history, average balance, or other engagement.

What are Meaningful Marketing Metrics?

While vanity metrics can be a tad vain, truly meaningful metrics come in all shapes and sizes. These metrics often require combining two or more sources, but they can reveal actionable insights and value for your credit union. The number of page views may not illuminate any next steps for your team. However, if you look at metrics such as time spent on the page, bounce rate, unique visitors, or clicks on trackable links (by source/medium) that tell you what brought visitors to a page, you start forming an idea of what’s working (and what isn’t) across your marketing channels.

Another example for your institution can be linked to new loans. The number of people who clicked on a banner or email that advertises a loan offer can show your marketing efforts are catching members’ eyes. However, it doesn’t necessarily provide much depth or understanding about these borrowers or your campaigns. A meaningful metric could be the amount of new loan requests or the dollar amount linked to each new loan. These detailed metrics are more relevant to your CU as they represent a successful marketing campaign.

We mentioned social media followers, a popular vanity metric that’s also a boasting point. Something to keep in mind here is quality over quantity, especially if you ask yourself how much 25,000 followers are worth if only a small handful is interacting with your posts? Setup deeper tracking to see what your social followers do once they click out of your social channels.

It’s more important to track and measure if your followers are engaging with your content, visiting your website, or converting into consumers. This is a reminder that although it may be tempting to chase a high number of followers or page views, it’s more worthwhile to pay attention to the impact metrics that can better connect your team and inform strategy.

How Can I Get Started Tracking Better Marketing Metrics?

If you’re trying to figure out whether a metric is useful, you can start by asking your team a few honest questions. The goal of impact metrics is to help your credit union create meaningful marketing and connect with your existing/potential consumers, and you should first ask whether or not something will help you in the decision-making process.

Page views don't lend your team much insight, but high click-through rates can lead you to testing different call-to-action placements or wording. It’s also important to ask yourself whether a spike in a certain metric is due to an external or short-term force, or whether positive metrics can be consistent (or increase) over time to demonstrate that your marketing is paying off.

Although it can be easier to track and rely on vanity metrics to exemplify your marketing efforts, it’s not an effective way to gain long-term success for your credit union. Impact metrics typically need more thoughtful consideration, but it pays off because you can pinpoint what works for your CU and build your marketing strategy from your true strengths.

With various marketing campaigns or inefficient data software, it can be difficult to garner actionable data and track impact metrics. However, this is Prisma’s strong suit, and we can help your FI personalize content, integrate data sources, automate campaign insights, and more.

About Prisma Campaigns

Prisma Campaigns is a marketing automation platform specifically designed to help credit unions develop deep and empathic relationships with their members through personalized marketing campaigns. It uses a connected, data-centric approach to communicate with members on all your digital channels - email, SMS, online banking and mobile app. Prisma Campaigns’ open platform integrates with your existing banking technology and is ready to grow and expand with your credit union.

Prisma is trusted by 25 credit unions to enhance their member experience and increase conversion rates.