It’s time to kill the idea of ‘vanity metrics’ and embrace a better term

As a restaurant brand with multiple locations, your marketing efforts are critical to driving traffic.  However, tracking the success of your marketing efforts can be challenging, and not all metrics have a direct connection to that ultimate goal. The term “Vanity metrics” has been used to describe metrics that make a brand look good on the surface but don’t seem to provide any valuable insights. However, metrics that seem to have little value, actually have a different result than their goal. 

“Vanity Metrics” are indicators of successful engagement and interaction with a brand. They provide a better understanding of how your marketing efforts are impacting potential customers at the early stages of their journey, specifically the awareness stage. 

Awareness is a critical step toward eventual traffic. And it’s a stage that can’t be skipped. But the word “vanity” diminishes the perceived value. Therefore, I propose a shift away from “vanity metrics” and the adoption of the term “early funnel metrics.” This positive term kills the devaluation communicated with the word “vanity” and gives these metrics their just due. 

Early funnel metrics include data points such as website traffic, social media engagement, and email sign-ups. While these metrics may not translate into immediate sales, they do provide insight into how well your marketing is working to attract and engage potential customers indicating a critical step forward in realizing sales.

Here are a few more reasons “early funnel metrics” is a better term than “vanity metrics:”

1 / They focus on the early stages of the customer journey.

Early funnel metrics provide insight into how your marketing efforts are impacting potential patrons at the awareness and consideration stages of their journey. These are critical stages, as they represent the first step towards converting a potential customer into paying customer and, eventually, into a loyal patron.

2 / They help you maximize your marketing efforts.

By tracking and appreciating early funnel metrics, you can identify which marketing channels and tactics are most effective at reaching and engaging patrons. This allows you to maximize the impact of your efforts by “filling the funnel” with folks primed to love your restaurant brand.

3 / They provide a better understanding of customer behavior.

Early funnel metrics can provide insight into how potential customers are interacting with your brand and what it offers. For example, website traffic metrics can tell you which pages and what content are most popular, while social media engagement metrics can tell you which types of content resonate with your patrons.

Early funnel marketing is important to all marketing efforts for restaurant brands with multiple locations because it sets the foundation for long-term growth. By attracting and engaging potential customers early in their journey, you can build brand awareness and create a positive image for your brand across all locations. This, in turn, can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty over time.

In addition, tracking early funnel metrics across all marketing efforts doesn’t diminish the power of marketing’s goal of driving sales. In fact, it’s an indicator of future sales to come while enabling your restaurant brand to test what items and ideas are getting the traction necessary to continue growth. This allows you to make data-driven decisions to allocate marketing resources where they are most needed, ultimately driving growth across your entire footprint.

In conclusion, using the term “vanity metrics” does a disservice to the vital role they play in building toward sustained marketing success.  Instead, “early funnel metrics” is the term of choice as it effectively communicates where these metrics have the most impact and why that matters. Brands should focus on tracking early funnel metrics that provide a better understanding of customer behavior and help you optimize your marketing efforts for maximum impact. By doing so, you can build a strong foundation for long-term growth and success for your restaurant brand across the entire footprint and marketing ecosystem.

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