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Forget Vanity Metrics, Actionable Metrics Achieve Stellar Growth

happy entrepreneurs celebrating success on actionable metrics
Trying to grow your business but not sure which metrics to track? Here's a guide to the difference between vanity and actionable metrics.


Are you an entrepreneur looking for ways to measure your success? If so, you should be aware of two types of metrics – vanity and actionable. Vanity metrics may make you feel good, but they don’t offer clear guidance on what to do next. Actionable metrics, on the other hand, provide direction and can help you make informed decisions. This article will cover the differences between vanity and actionable metrics and why entrepreneurs need to be aware of both.

Let’s get down to business.

Vanity metrics vs. actionable metrics

Vanity metrics may offer a superficial look into your business performance, but they will not help you make informed decisions or provide clear guidance on what to do next. Examples of vanity metrics include, website visits, page views, followers, and downloads. 

However, these metrics won’t tell you why something is happening or the best action to take. On the other hand, actionable metrics, collected from sources such as per-customer/segment data, funnel metrics and cohort analysis, measure what matters most to the business.

Why are actionable metrics important?

Actionable metrics help business leaders gain clear insight on strategic decisions, trends, and opportunities. The advantages of focusing on actionable metrics are plentiful; they can help entrepreneurs understand their customers and the products/services they are interested in, track how effective marketing campaigns are faring, and determine the best strategies to enhance their business. Moreover, these metrics offer more reliable data that can be leveraged to make informed choices. 

A closer look at actionable metrics

There are several strategies to help cultivate actionable metrics, such as:

A. Split Testing

Split testing, or A/B testing, is valuable for gaining insights from your target audience. By running tests on different versions of a web page or app, entrepreneurs can compare which one performs better and is more engaging for customers. This can include anything from the headline to the color of a button. Split testing enables entrepreneurs to understand user behavior and preferences, refine their messaging, and make data-driven decisions.

For example, entrepreneurs could use split testing to determine audience preference for long-form or short-form content. Likewise, split testing can help test different colors of buttons to find which color inspires more clicks. By leveraging split testing, entrepreneurs can gain the vital information to help them create successful strategies and reach their goals.

B. Per Customer & Per Segment Data

Per-customer and per-segment data is a powerful tool that allows entrepreneurs to identify trends and gain insights into the needs of their customers. By segmenting customers based on demographics, preferences, and interests, entrepreneurs can gain detailed information that helps them make more informed decisions. 

For example, this type of actionable metric to find out what products are most popular with different age groups. Furthermore, entrepreneurs could test  different pricing strategies on different segments of customers and observe the results. By using per-customer/per-segment data, entrepreneurs can acquire data needed to optimize marketing strategies and reach goals.

C. Funnel Metrics Actionable Metrics

Funnel metrics are invaluable for entrepreneurs looking to optimize customer journeys and maximize conversions. By tracking user behavior across the customer journey, from website visits to sign-ups and purchases, entrepreneurs can gain valuable insights into where their customers may be dropping out of the funnel. Business leaders can leverage this data to identify ways to to improve the customer journey and reach sales goals. 

For example, an entrepreneur could use funnel metrics to monitor where visitors are leaving their checkout page and figure out what elements need to be optimized. In addition, this data could be used to test pricing structures or special offers to find the most significant impact on conversions. With funnel metrics, entrepreneurs can make the most informed decisions regarding acquiring new customers.

D. Cohort Analysis

Cohort analysis is an invaluable tool for entrepreneurs seeking insights into customer behavior. By grouping customers based on criteria such as the date of acquisition, entrepreneurs can go beyond basic metrics and track their activity over time. This type of actionable metric allows entrepreneurs to identify trends in user behaviors that they couldn’t easily spot with other metrics.

For example, an entrepreneur could use cohort analysis to determine which customers are most likely to purchase a product or service after a certain amount of time; they could also use this data to analyze how different marketing strategies impact customer retention rates. With the help of cohort analysis, entrepreneurs can make more informed decisions and optimize their customer journeys.

Making the Most of Actionable Metrics

Actionable metrics are crucial for entrepreneurs looking to make informed decisions about their businesses. To get the most out of these metrics, it is essential to have a select few and focus on the correct KPIs. Also, a key component is accurately interpreting the data to best use it. With the proper application of actionable metrics, entrepreneurs can gain clarity on which areas they need to improve and how different strategies affect their success. The upcoming sections will provide further information on having as few actionable metrics as possible, focusing on the correct KPIs, and correctly interpreting the data.

Actionable metrics provide insights into the business that can be acted upon. They are essential for entrepreneurs looking to make data-driven decisions and better understand their businesses.

However, simply having access to actionable metrics isn’t enough. Using them correctly is important to get the most out of them. Here are a few tips for taking advantage of actionable metrics:

      1. Make sure you track the right KPIs
      2. Interpret the data accurately
      3. Use actionable metrics to understand customer behavior
      4. Use actionable metrics to make informed decisions about your business

Track the Right KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics that help entrepreneurs measure and monitor the progress of their business. The goal of KPIs is to measure progress against predetermined goals to gain insight in business health. KPIs include metrics such as sales figures, customer acquisition rate, website visits, sign up rates, customer retention rates, and cost per acquisition to name a few.

These metrics give an indication of how successful strategies and efforts are by providing a clear understanding of the performance of the business. By focusing on the right KPIs, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions about their business to reach their desired goals more effectively.

With actionable metrics, less is More

Entrepreneurs need to focus on a few key actionable metrics that are relevant to their specific business needs. Too many metrics can be counterproductive, leading to data overload and making it difficult to interpret the data accurately. When deciding which metrics are most critical, consider website visits, signups, purchases, customer retention rates, etc. These will help you gain insight into areas they need to improve and how different strategies affect their success.

Interpret Actionable Metrics Accurately

When dealing with data, it is important to interpret it accurately in order to make the best decisions for their business. If data is interpreted incorrectly, costly mistakes could occur, like launching unsuccessful customer acquisition strategies, or launching products misaligned with customer expectations. To avoid poor outcomes, consider all factors that could influence results and their impact on meaningful conclusions. Entrepreneurs should also recognize when more research needs to be done before acting on any single metric.

Tying Back to a Person

Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of tying actionable metrics back to individual people. This ensures that conclusions drawn from the data reflect the actual situation and not just general trends. Without this personalization, inaccurate conclusions may be made due to a lack of understanding regarding underlying factors. 

For example, an increase in website visits could appear to be a sign of success. But these visits could come from automated bots, not human visitors. As such, the data become distorted and doesn’t accurately reflect business performance. By focusing on metrics that are tied to individual people, businesses can gain valuable insights into their operations and make decisions with confidence.

Use Actionable Metrics to Understand Consumer Behavior

Actionable metrics can provide entrepreneurs with invaluable insights into customer behavior and preferences. By tracking user behaviors such as clicks, page views, time spent on a page, purchases, downloads, and other interactions with their product or service, entrepreneurs can gain valuable insight into the motivations behind customers’ decisions. 

This understanding of customer behavior can be used to develop new products or services based on customer feedback, create more targeted marketing campaigns, adjust pricing strategies to increase conversions, and more. It can also help entrepreneurs identify trends in user behavior that may not be obvious with other metrics. Sticking to actionable metrics will equip businesses with the data to make informed decisions tailored to customers’ needs.

Finally, actionable metrics can also help entrepreneurs make more informed decisions about the direction of their businesses. By tracking relevant data and interpreting it accurately, entrepreneurs can gain clarity on how to improve their business and make better-informed strategic choices.

This is where the power of actionable metrics lies—in giving entrepreneurs the insights they need to make smarter decisions and create better businesses.

Getting ready to write a business plan? Check out this post: Start Writing Your Business Plan: Follow These 8 Steps to Succeed.


Actionable metrics can give entrepreneurs a competitive edge by providing them with the insights they need to make more informed decisions and create better businesses. By understanding what metrics are important, focusing on the right KPIs and interpreting the data accurately, entrepreneurs can gain clarity on how to improve their business and make smarter decisions. With actionable metrics, entrepreneurs have the power to take control of their success and propel their businesses to the next level.

What actionable metrics do you use to track the success of your business? Share your suggestions in the comments! 


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