We all want to know if the work we do is making a difference. But while “vanity metrics” such as list size or page views sound big and impressive, they can be misleading. Ultimately, they can lead to flawed decisions that doom membership-driven organisations.
What are the pitfalls of “vanity metrics”? Why do we rely on them? What are some alternatives? In short, are there better ways to measure how engaged members are with your organisation?
These are just a handful of the questions tackled in the 2015 report Beyond Vanity Metrics: Toward a Better Measurement of Member Engagement, presented by Citizen Engagement Lab and the Mobilisation Lab.
In this report, you’ll find:
- The five common pitfalls of vanity metrics that create potential danger for people-powered organisations, and why we rely on them anyway.
- The two key questions to ask about any key metric to understand how it influences your work.
- The difference between the “Starters” and the “Seekers,” the two broad categories that most online campaigning organisations fall into, and how to tell which one best describes you.
- Where to go next, from existing alternatives to potential starting points and advice for moving forward.
- Concrete tips and questions to ask yourself to change the way your organisation approaches metrics, alter the metrics you rely upon, and transform how you engage your membership.
Authored by veteran campaigner Colin Holtz in 2015, with advisors Jackie Mahendra and Michael Silberman, Beyond Vanity Metrics was a project of Citizen Engagement Lab and the Mobilisation Lab while it was based at Greenpeace. (Read about MobLab’s roots here).
Learn more about better measurement of member engagement:
Moving Beyond Vanity Metrics
In this Stanford Social Innovation Review piece, Michael Silberman and Jackie Mahendra make the case why organisations must find new ways to measure engagement.
MobLab Live: Beyond Vanity Metrics
Colin Holtz and Bhavik Lathia from Color of Change joined us to talk about vanity metrics. Watch a recording of their conversation here.