One of the best examples of this would be the results of an AB test. In an AB test, you use a specific variable to compare how two different alternatives improve your results. Let us say you have a landing page and are not sure what call to action to use on the button under the product. You could settle on two alternatives, Buy Now, or Buy here. The variable here is the call to action. You can use a metric such as clicks on the button for either alternative. You can decide instead to measure actual sales from each.
The click-through rate is an actionable metric because from measuring it, you can decide which Call to Action works best.
You don’t necessarily have to be comparing two alternatives but these metrics must be relevant to your goals. You can never go wrong with measuring changes in sales or conversion rate because ultimately, sales are why your business exists. Return on Investment, Churn, customer value are examples of other actionable metrics. You can also measure steps in the customer purchase process from the time customers are aware of you to the time they make a purchase.
There are a number of things that make it easy to spot actionable metrics:
There is a learning curve to this but it is absolutely necessary for getting value from your data. Once you get started, you will also get a better idea of what tools to use to get the right information from your data. Don’t get caught in the vanity metrics trap this 2019.