9 July 2018

Quantifying Vanity Metrics

Wendi Hill
Social Media

In the ephemeral world of social media, it can be challenging to translate feel-good metrics into a quantifiable ROI. How exactly do “vanity metrics” correlate to the bottom line? Is there any truth to the negative connotations associated with the terms “vanity metrics” and “clickbait?” Or can likes, follows, and shares truly measure the success and performance of social media marketing campaigns?

Likes, shares, comments, followers, and views are called engagement or consumption metrics and are the easiest metrics to obtain on any given social media post. They are also the most widely-used and talked about, perhaps for the same reason. However, tracing an individual like’s impact on the bottom line is practically impossible.

Does this render engagement metrics useless, then?
Not at all. We might simply need to adjust our thinking.

The value of a vanity metric is in measuring non-transactional marketing goals, such as brand awareness, sentiment, share of voice, and most importantly, message relevancy. If our message fails to resonate with our audience, there can be no R in our ROI to measure!

Rather than vanity metrics, we might prefer to call them optimization metrics, because their true value can be found in the immediate feedback they provide as to message relevancy and the impact our social media marketing strategy is having with our target audience.

Optimization metrics allow you to tailor and focus your message according to your target audience’s interests, ensuring that you’re speaking the language of your prospective clients!

Use your post’s likes, shares, comments, followers, and views to troubleshoot your ad campaigns and overall social media culture. Here are some ideas to help you:

• Use Facebook Insights, Facebook’s free analytics tool, to see which posts receive the highest level of engagement, then replicate in future posts whatever it is you’re doing right!

• On Twitter, add a "+" to the end of any bit.ly link to see who retweets your posts. This allows you to identify your influential followers. With FollowerWonk, you can compare your followers to those following your competitors and then make them your own! While you’re there, see what kind of content your competitors are generating!

• For blog posts, focus on bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your website who arrive and then turn around and immediately leave. A bounce rate below 40% is considered to be excellent. Maintain your reader’s attention with calls-to-action (CTA), links to other content and a variety of actionable content.

• For email campaigns, focus on open rate and click-through-rate. Your open rate represents the number of emails opened divided by the number of emails sent, less any bounce-backs. Open rate tracks the efficacy of your email’s subject line and timing.

• Focus on the click-through-rate (CTR) of your email’s call-to-action, which should be bringing users to your site. The higher the CTR, the greater the efficacy of your lead-generation. Return on Investment can only be accurately and meaningfully measured by means of CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value) – a collection of metrics that delineate the customer lifetime value narrative (conversions, subscriptions, sales, etc.).

However, the value of a vanity metrics is in measuring sentiment. It’s a widely held belief that 90% of the decision to buy is based on sentiment. So, even if they are difficult to quantify, likes, shares, comments, followers, and views are powerful indicators! It’s time to listen to the feedback they provide.

Wendi Hill

CLTV allows you to understand the customer journey and may take years to come into focus. Understanding what makes your specific clients do business with you and where SM fits into this journey is the only reliable ROI, where social media is concerned.

However, the value of a vanity metrics is in measuring sentiment. It’s a widely held belief that 90% of the decision to buy is based on sentiment. So, even if they are difficult to quantify, likes, shares, comments, followers, and views are powerful indicators! It’s time to listen to the feedback they provide.

Market Momentum can help. We have vast and varied experience navigating the shifting waters of social media marketing. We can help you craft your social media culture and tailor it according to these valuable optimization metrics. Contact us today to get started!

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