Channel Marketer Report


Channel Vanity Metrics: What You See Isn’t Always What You Get

By Kelsey Worsham, Content Marketing Manager, Zift Solutions

Let me paint a picture for you: you think your company is pushing campaigns and through-channel activities that are resulting in engagement and ROI. Your performance reporting should be supporting this. But, month after month, you’re coming up short on results – and ending up seriously frustrated.

Sound familiar? You may be getting caught in the trap of vanity metrics; you know, the often misleading, but generally accepted metrics that appear to be driving your business down the road to big wins, but really have you looking up at the ceiling when you should be looking at the wall.

When it comes to campaign reporting, we’ve compiled seven metrics that are actually serving your efforts, divided into three marketing categories: 

  • To-partner, 
  • Through-partner, 
  • For-partner. 


  1. Instead of looking at partners logging into your portal, look at partners viewing key pages within the portal and using your portal tools.

Just seeing the number of partners logging into your portal doesn’t show actual engagement. The number of page views, on the other hand, reveals whether or not they’re looking around when they get there. Seeing partners use the tools within the portal – and actively engaging with your content – further reveals whether or not you are fulfilling partner adoption and awareness.

2. Don’t just focus on email opens, look at the corresponding and desired actions that are being fulfilled.

Anyone can open an email. But by measuring your desired actions (or the end goal that you wish to achieve from a newsletter), you can see if email campaigns are leading to interaction. Promoting gated assets? Look at downloads of the asset. Featuring a webinar? You’ll want to ensure partners are registering, then nurture both those who attended and offer those who didn’t an on-demand option.


3. Avoid being misled by collateral downloads, instead look at which pieces of collateral are being used in successful campaigns.

It’s nice to see that partners are downloading your co-branded assets. However, to measure the true winners you need to check out which assets are tied to both sales qualified leads (SQLs) and powering successful campaigns. This pattern will identify which collateral is preferred to others.

4. Looking at the number of emails and social posts you’re sharing may show you which partners are actively marketing, but examining visitor loyalty can tell you a lot more.

Not only do you want marketing materials like social media posts and email campaigns to go out, you also want partners to engage and then come back for more. This means tracking your returning visitors and how long they’re spending on your site. For social, loyalty can be measured by how many shares and comments you receive from your community – as well as how many followers you have.

5. Don’t stop at content syndication, measure which content partners are actually using to learn what’s working and what’s not.

It’s great to serve a variety of content, but it’s better to report on the content that partners are putting to use. As a supplier, you should be able to identify the specific material that people are engaging with. Are these brochures? Email campaigns? Social media posts? Marketing is only valuable if people know how to use it and are doing so.


6. Unique locator visitors can tell you who’s shopping, but in order to know which partners are being responsive, look at which partners are following up on website leads they receive.

You know that when a customer actively looks for a partner in their area, they’re already in the buying process. Are your partners responding to the customers who found them through your website? If they’re not responding to these inquiries, it’s worth finding out why. This can provide deeper insight into the type of experience customers are having.

7. Don’t spend too much time analyzing which partners are engaged with your onboarding program, instead focus on what onboarding stages partners are in and how quickly they are advancing from stage to stage.

As most of us know, onboarding videos can be viewed without information actually being absorbed. Take a look at your partners that are producing. At what stage of your onboarding plan are they in? How quickly are they applying that training, then later engaging in follow-up activities? You should be monitoring the training and velocity of your best partners and then pushing other partners down this path to success.

By identifying vanity metrics, it’s easier to unearth which numbers are meaningless (versus meaningful) to your channel. Ditch the distractions and dial into the digits that most accurately measure success.

Kelsey Worsham is the Content Marketing Manager at Zift Solutions. She drives brand awareness, owns Zift’s content playbook, and scales content creation for the company.