Since 2007, we've been talking non-stop to businesses of all varieties and types. Most focus on a single metric-- their ranking on a particular keywords, the fan base, engagement rate, whatever.
But did you know that every metric has a counter-balancing metric?
In other words, if you focus on a single metric, without considering the counter-balancing metric, you get lopsided. Some examples:
METRIC: Search terms on the first page
Easy to increase this number-- just go after more long tail keywords. Great-- now you've gone from 25 terms on the first page of search to 50!
But how many of these are on small search engines or long-tail searches that don't have traffic. Worse, these terms may not be as relevant or drive you quality traffic. So use traffic as the counterbalance.
SEO is "dead", since wouldn't you rather have revenue instead of rankings? Everyone's search results are different, whether on search engines or social networks. And now people navigate via a newsfeed or app experience, bypassing search. They may buy without even coming to your website. I want traffic and conversions.
METRIC: Click-Through Rate
Who doesn't want a higher CTR? How can that be bad? After all, CTR is the primary factor in Google Quality Score. Same is true in Facebook ads, too. And if the CTR is higher, doesn't that mean we must be more relevant, plus getting a lower CPC?
COUNTERBALANCE: Average position
Guess what? If you bid up to the 1st position, your CTR could easily be 5-10%. If someone says they have a 2% CTR-- is that good or bad? If it's in the right-hand side of Facebook, that's excellent. If it's mobile newsfeed, it's average at best. If it's in position 6 on Google, it's great.
You can also use CPC as a counterbalance.
If you employ more aggressive creatives (FREE, 20% off now, etc...), you'll get a higher CTR, but likely a lower revenue per sale and lower conversion rate.
METRIC: Facebook fans
Who doesn't want a million fans for cheap? The CEO likes it, and you're now super popular. Easiest way to get fans is to run contests (amazing how giving away money drives likes) or to buy fake fans.
COUNTERBALANCE: Engagement Rate
But those people who entered to win a free iPad had no interest in whatever product or service you offer. So when the contest is over, they don't engage. Worse, they pull down your Facebook page's presence. It's like having homeless people crowded around your storefront entrance. So use engagement rate as a barometer of quality.
You might even have the right people, but you're not keeping them engaged over time. Consider page post ads and other techniques to show up in the newsfeed. What good is a great fan base if they don't see your messages?
See how all metrics come in pairs?
Most are balancing quality and quantity or perhaps balancing margin vs profit.
If you're not looking at metrics in pairs, you're uneven and bleeding in some part of your business.
There are over 300 metrics that we cover in social-- which ones matter to you?
Readers, what metrics do you balance?