Social Media Marketing Analytics: See Past the Vanity Metrics

By on September 16, 2019


Photo by Tobias Dziuba from Pexels

Social Media Marketing is now a key element within most digital marketing strategies. Like all other elements, the data from these platforms should be continually measured, tested, and targeted. The problem is it is easy for these platforms to show you a graph with an upward trend. Although these insights are valid, they aren’t usually actionable or as relevant as other metrics may be.

What are vanity metrics?

Vanity metrics are simple figures to follow, such as page views, followers, fans, and impressions. These metrics give you simple reporting, but no context to base your future marketing decisions upon. Vanity metrics often give a satisfying figure, and without delving deeper, it could be easy to assume that all is well, and nothing needs to be altered within your social media strategy.

So what’s the problem with them?

·         Facebook fans/ Instagram Followers

Even though its definitely not a bad thing for these number to increase, it doesn’t really mean much.

Just because someone has clicked “like” on your page, they may never view your content again. With Facebook now prioritising posts from friends and family, and Instagram’s feed no longer being chronological, branded posts are seen in the newsfeed by less and less users. This means unless someone actively re-visits your page, it is likely they may never see your content again.

·         Impressions

Many social channels will tell you how many “impressions” a post has made, and you may feel happy with your content as you sit and watch the impressions increase.

No doubt, the more impressions the better. But an impression simply means your content was on their screen. It doesn’t mean your post was viewed or acknowledged by a human- it could have simply been scrolled past.

·         Page Views

This applies to any social channel- page views do not indicate where these views are coming from, nor where they go after.
It is useful to know that people are looking at your content, but it would be better to be able to ensure they stay on it or continue to view more of your content after.

What are actionable metrics?

Actionable metrics are ones that are tied to specific tasks which you are able to improve in line with the goals of your business. They should become core digital marketing KPIs for your business. These metrics can be gathered through A/B split testing, goal tracking, and by looking at per-customer data, but I’ll get into that more later.

What can you do with actionable metrics?

·         Engagement rate

Look back at some of your Facebook page’s previous posts, and consider which ones have generated the highest level of engagement. The more engagement a post receives the higher your page’s EdgeRank score become; this works as a kind of snowball effect. The more people who engage with your post, the more new people Facebook will show your post to.

You can then use this data to understand which posts are performing best, and therefor which posts and content types you should consider uploading in the future.

·         Click-Through Rate (CTR)

More specific than just engagement, if there is a link within your post, most platforms will allow you to see what percentage of people have clicked it. If the platform doesn’t allow for this, then it is easily done using bitly.com.

If you’re sending people to your website, then you want the CTR to be as high as possible. You could try and increase this metric through A/B testing different calls to action and seeing which has the most success. Just remember to only change one thing at a time, in order to be able to reliably track what has caused the increase in link clicks.

·         Competitor Followers

Keep track of you competitor’s followers. If they have people who are following them, but aren’t following you, these are prospects worth connecting with.

Delve deeper into the types of things that the people following your competitors are engaging with, and see what conversations are happening that you should take part in.

Don’t ignore vanity metrics completely

Of course, vanity metrics have their place. If these numbers start decreasing rapidly, then it should be a cause for concern, but you should use your actionable metrics to discover why this may be happening.

If you’re ensuring that actionable metrics are at the core of your digital strategy, then you should be able to consistently improve your brand awareness and reach your business goals.

About Emily Turner

Emily is the Marketing Executive at Dentons Digital, working on everything from content creation, to copy writing, and social media posting. She has been trained in Public Relations and Communications to a Post Graduate level and is no stranger to the challenges of digital marketing.
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