The Metrics Arms Race

And Why It’s BS for B2B

“So before we move on, let’s look over the metrics from your last campaign! As you can see we have a click-through rate of x, we got y impressions, and wow looks like z conversions. You are way above the average, especially for your industry! So . . . back to that expensive contract to continue our services . . . ”

It’s not an uncommon conversation if you’ve partnered with a marketing agency or firm. Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, most agencies review metrics with their clients, ESPECIALLY as they relate to online advertising and digital marketing. 

It began with impressions—how many people (or bots) viewed the content you paid your marketing agency to place in advertising spots? “Cool,” you thought, “I have some idea of how many people viewed our stuff. If enough people view it, then we are bound to sell more product! Man, I sure hope this number goes up.” 

Then it was traffic—how many people (or bots) visited your site? “Great! If more people check out our super-cool website, they’ll call and do business with us because we’re so awesome. Gotta keep the traffic going up!” 

Then conversions, bounce rate, page views, click-through rates, on and on and on. There’s always a reason why the data is good news. There’s always a reason why it’s important. There’s always a new thing to look at.

“So Mr. Marketing Guy, why haven’t we sold more?” ::crickets::

The truth is that metrics don’t cover payroll. They don’t help you pay down debt. They can’t be invested for R&D. They are SUPPOSED to function as a measuring tool, to contextualize what you’re doing. 

So . . . how do we utilize metrics to glean truly meaningful conclusions about our businesses—and what metrics should we be focusing on? 


This is the most important metric for any business executing a marketing campaign. Full stop. How many widgets did you sell or how many contractual relationships did you enter into? Whether you’re using an in-house team or contracting with an outside group, be sure to tell them this is the primary metric you’ll be evaluating success by. 


Not all leads are created equal. If you want to know what makes a lead at your business “qualified,” ask your sales people. Successful marketing campaigns focus on getting you contact information for prospects that could be an ideal fit—not just anyone who can be pushed to the website!


IF social media makes sense for your business, engagement is the metric you want. While folks seeing your post in their feed is good, interacting with the post is great. Likes, but especially comments, tags, and messages are all meaningful. 


Did you learn something new, or perhaps you have a question? We’d love to hear from you!

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