The 3 most dangerous social media metrics

It’s not traffic, tweets or comments that you should keep an eye on. Here’s why—and what you should pay attention to.


A while back, I said that metrics and measurements tend to limit our potential. What I failed to realize was that this is only the case when we measure the wrong things. As bloggers, it’s easy to get caught up in comparison and competition. As a result we measure things that don’t have a strong impact on our business.

These metrics don’t really matter:

1. Traffic

A post of mine went viral on StumbleUpon a few weeks ago. That post sent more than 160,000 visits to my blog in a week. But all traffic is not equal, and traffic doesn’t necessarily equate to revenue.

Do you need traffic? Absolutely. But quality trumps quantity. You don’t need 100,000 visitors, just a tribe that actually cares.

2. Tweets, likes, fans and followers

Marcus Sheridan wrote an interesting post the other day that reflects this point. The posts that make him the most money are not necessarily the most popular. Just because a post is popular on social media doesn’t mean it’s valuable for your customers or your business.

3. Comments

The people who comment on your blog are not an accurate representation of your readers. The people who comment on your blog are usually other bloggers. There is a silent majority of people who read everything you write, but don’t comment. It’s nice to have comments on your posts, but it’s not as important as you might think.

Metrics that matter

Those are the metrics that don’t matter. Here’s what you should keep an eye on:

1. Email subscribers

Any successful person will tell you that your email list is what generates money. A few months back I made a conscious decision to focus on this group of readers, and now I have a deeper connection with them. My traffic is higher than ever before, and my blog is quickly growing.

Your email list is your silent majority. The people on it are the people you need to cater to.

2. Conversion rates

Many people get caught up in writing guests posts for the most popular blogs. Other than bragging rights, a post on a popular blog won’t do much for you.

On the flip side, a popular personal development blog I write for sends me anywhere between 50 and 60 new subscribers per guest post. The key is to write great content and use a well-written custom landing page.

3. Open rates

It’s nice to have an email list, but that list doesn’t matter if nobody opens your emails. A list of 50 people who talk to you is better than a list of 5,000 people who ignore you.

I recently deleted almost 350 people from my email list because none of them opened any of my emails in the last four months. Don’t be afraid to let some of your subscribers go.

4. Revenue

If you blog to make money, then this is the only metric that ultimately matters. Do you actually measure the revenue you generate? Even if it’s $100, make a point to measure.

It’s difficult to turn social media into income if you measure the wrong metrics. Study the metrics that matter.

Srinivas Rao is the author of the The Skool of Life and the host/co-founder of BlogcastFM. A version of this article originally appeared on grow.

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