It’s normal to be proud of a certain achievement. That’s why we have those trophy closets when we were younger. You keep those trophies as a reminder of when you were on top of everybody else. It was a lot easier back then. Usually, it was just about who was faster or stronger. Nowadays, people are too loose in giving "trophies" to certain achievements that actually mean nothing.
Confused? Stay with me here. It will all make sense.
Let's talk about Social Media Marketing. Nowadays, faux gurus and so-called top marketers like to give us the wrong idea with regards to metrics. One guru even mentioned at one point that it should be your goal to get as many likes as possible. Doesn't sound wrong, right? Well... He is.
I believe online marketers will agree with me when I say that the word "metric" gives them PTSD. I might be exaggerating a bit but thinking about metrics every single day can be really taxing. The problem today is that metrics is dime a dozen. Surely some of them aren't as important as the others, right?
To answer that question, let's go back to the trophies. Most metrics today can be called vanity metrics. Meaning, they are just there as an ego-booster. It's like getting a "Best Dressed" award in the State Wrestling Finals. It's a metric alright, but it serves close to zero effect on a person's (or marketing strategy's) current status.
So here are 4 of the most common vanity metrics that fake online marketing experts like to push down other people's throats.
- Facebook likes - Alright guys... It's 2015 and we need to move on from considering Facebook Likes as a legitimate metric. You can buy Facebook Likes for like .001 cents a like on some shady website these days. Marketers who still highlight Facebook Likes sound like a prepubescent teen who believe likes = popularity. It’s always nice to get Facebook likes, but you should never make it a core metric for your social media campaign. Ask yourself these questions the next time you think about Facebook Likes:
- What do these likes give you?
- Do the people who like your post go and become customers?
- Why did they even press the like button on the first place?
- Does a like mean that the liker is engaging with your content?
- Interaction Comparisons – Back in the days when post promotion still wasn’t a thing on Facebook, it was easy for marketers calculate the “engaged audience per post” metric. Nowadays, most if not all business pages promote their page so comparing interactions between pages can’t be considered a good way to see the difference between two pages. What once was a legit metric to understand what works and what doesn’t between pages is now reduced to a vanity metric that can easily be “manipulated”. In any case, here are some factors you need to consider with regards to considering interaction comparisons as a real metric:
- How much was spent to reach that much interaction?
- How much promotion does your competitor do to reach that level of interaction?
- Does the interaction have a direct effect on the business?
- Social Ad Impressions/Reach – Ever passed through a busy street full of stores and not remember 90% of them? It’s the same thing with social media advertising. People are too excited with the impressions that they forget that it actually means nothing. Just take a look at it this way, people who don’t click on your ad aren’t engaged. It doesn’t really matter how many times an ad appears on their screen (and registers as an impression) because it has no bearing whatsoever in its performance. The only thing you have to put in mind is that conversion rate is still the best metric when it comes to social media advertising.
- Twitter Impressions – Now, this is basically the same with social ad impressions but in a different light. For some marketers, Twitter impressions can give you a good idea on where you stand. For them, if you get a large number of Twitter impressions, it means you are doing a good job. Honestly, if your aim is for brand awareness, then maybe you are doing something right. But brand awareness should not be your only goal. Without comparison, this metric is pretty much useless in itself. Focusing on this metric can even be detrimental as it can hide issues that need to be addressed.
If you are doing some measurement and reporting of social media metrics then you are already ahead of most businesses. But remember to not just focus on the vanity metrics mentioned above. They may be nice to put on paper but they are still useless in the grand scheme of things.
So focus on the metrics that really give you a good story. Go for the data that will tell you what’s good and what’s not with your current strategy. With this in mind, you can tweak you campaigns to create one that will suit you and benefit your business.