In this excellent article, I’m Sorry But Those Are Vanity Metrics, Lloyd Tabb explains that we are often measuring the wrong thing.
Vanity metrics tend to be those used by outsiders to judge how we are doing in comparison to others. For example a software investor might look at Daily Active Users, an advertiser might look at number of followers or a PR professional might look at a calculation of influence.
“Vanity metrics aren’t useless. They have their use case, but are points of comparison for other people to evaluate you,” Tabb says. “Don’t focus on them internally. Tracking clarity metrics builds great businesses.”
On the other hand we have clarity metrics, the metrics you use internally to help you improve your business – like the number of minutes someone actually spent on your web site or the amount of direct engagement resulting from a social media post. They may not be instantly comparable but they are more useful in guiding you how to improve your business performance.
Gamification programs, mine included, (e.g. The Gamification Gurus Power 100) are often guilty of encouraging players to focus on their vanity metrics. While this may make sense in the context of a leaderboard, it is less helpful when thinking about the value of the program as a whole. The purpose of which is to improve the performance of all players.
If we are really considering ourselves as masters of player centred design then we should be giving equal, if not more weight to clarity metrics. The metrics the player really needs to focus on to improve themselves.
How many metrics that you gamify are vanity metrics and how many are clarity metrics? Answers on a postcard please!