Why you should NOT focus on Social Media Vanity Metrics!

Data, Data, Data!

More data is always a good thing, right? More data means more information and more accurate decisions, hopefully.

More data means, also, we’ll be able to build our business faster and more efficiently.

But not all data is helpful. Some of it is worse than worthless because it tricks us into believing we have answers when we actually don’t. Those data often tell just a limited story of the effectiveness of a Social Media campaign, a Facebook page, an Instagram account… So let’s Talk about Vanity metrics and why you should NOT focus on Social Media Vanity Metrics!

What are Vanity metrics?

Vanity metrics are all those kind of data that make us feel good if they go up but don’t help us make decisions, grow or get more income. “Likes”, “Comments” and “Share” numbers are among the most famous and looked after Social Media vanity metrics . These metrics serve a marketing purpose – just not every purpose. Vanity metrics aren’t totally useless; they have their own use case: they can be points of comparison for other people (your customers, potential customers, partners, media…) to evaluate you compared to your competitors against industry standards. This said, it would be a big mistake if you only focus on them internally and let them drive your marketing decision and business decisions.

What does a vanity metric look like?

Let’s imagine that you’re tracking one of the vanity metrics, number of Fans for example. You see that they increased by 30k since the beginning of the year and your customer base has slightly increased, too. Does this information give you any idea about what you should do to increase your customer base? Of course not! Because, regardless of how many people have clicked “Like” once they’re on your brand’s Page, the vast majority of them never return to the Page itself and never see the content in their newsfeeds!

Another vanity metric, for Social Media advertising, is the number of impressions. They generally don’t really matter. Users who aren’t clicking, generally aren’t engaged with the ad, and may be paying it no attention at all with everything else that is going on within in social media platforms. Facebook Likes are a smart metric to track, but not necessarily one to chase because we can buy Facebook followers and when we “like” something we can forget it within 10 seconds. We’re not becoming a prospect, and certainly not a client of all these pages.

What kind of metrics do I need to track on Social Media for my business?

You can measure dozens of different metrics on social media but you really only need to worry about those that answer the following questions:

  • Are you reaching qualified people?
  • Are you engaging with qualified people?
  • How many of your social media fans are inquiring about your product or service?
  • How many of them actually become customers?

A great marketer knows when to pay attention to Social Media vanity metrics, when to track them and when not to do so!