Let me make this really simple for you.
Would you rather have a Facebook page that has 500 fans in which 350 comment regularly, engage your content, share your content and return frequently? Or would you rather have a page that has 5,000 fans in which 100 people occasionally hit the “like” button?
JCPenney doesn’t care if they get 5,000 people in their store every day if nobody buys anything.
This is why I constantly roll my eyes when I hear an organization say they want me to help them get some more Facebook “Likes” or a company explains to me that their ads were a huge success because their impressions went up by 15% in Q2.
Guess what? That’s not even awareness unless they’re sticking around for a bit, unless they’ll remember your brand and recall it later. And I don’t even want to know what you spent to get those clicks.
Vanity metrics are fine to start the conversation, but they’re just chapter one. WE HAVE TO STOP EMPHASIZING THESE METRICS over ones that matter significantly more.
This is something Don Bartholomew, SVP Digital and Social Media Research at Ketchum, understood a long time ago: Social Media Measurement 2011: Five Things to Forget and Five Things to Learn
Here’s Eric Reis talking about the ineffectiveness of vanity metrics and what data actually matters.
Don’t fall into this trap of over-valuing vanity metrics “just because everyone else is.” That’s a lousy excuse. And if your CFO or someone else wants those numbers, give them to her, but explain them in context. Help them understand that impressions, Facebook likes and Twitter followers are just the very beginning of the story.
And if you don’t know how to go beyond vanity metrics, then I encourage you to check out some of these resources:
5 Steps to Measure the ROI of Digital Media Channels – (Fast Company)
In a world where your phone can give you turn-by-turn directions there’s no excuse to not understand how to measure your digital marketing efforts. Let’s stop reporting vanity metrics without context and let’s start holding each other more accountable.