Vanity metrics are bovine dung


Remarkably, the desire for vanity metrics is on the return. Why? Well, I’ve not got a tangible answer for you. Lazy marketers lacking robust experience? Increasing board pressure? Perhaps.

Vanity metrics are the devil of Social Media. At immediate future, we’ve worked hard (for many years) educating clients, and industry, on the pitfalls of vanity metrics. A pat on the back today, for a boot up the backside tomorrow.

What is a vanity metric? Well, to name a few:

  • A page like
  • A follow
  • An impression with an irrelevant audience
  • A video view with a person who does not, and will not, have an affinity with your brand

Vanity metrics is data that appears encouraging, but in reality, is not contributing anything to your product (or service) sales. Deep down, we all know this.

Despite this, it’s become vogue for brands to use partners who boast Facebook and Twitter channels possessing millions of people. Millions of people whom are not a match to your target audience.

I know of several pages that are flush with students; over 90% of the people connected with the profile are students. Now, if you’re an Apple or an Adidas and students are a core audience for you, then utilising this channel makes perfect sense. If you’re a high-end homewares brand or a luxury travel brand, then there is zero benefit to placing your content on said profile.

But irrelevant brands are doing just that. They’re seduced by the vanity metrics: “we’ll share your content dozens of times to millions of users.” And you probably will get a reasonable impressions metric. Critically, your basket metrics will be non-existent.

At immediate future, we have a philosophy ‘the audience you want’. There are no short-cuts to building this. There is no one-click rat run to success. It takes time, budget, creativity and smart measurement. The pay-off for the smart and committed people whom take this route, your basket metrics will be sizeable.

What do we need to consider?

  • Understand primary, secondary and tertiary audiences
  • Define their behaviours and interests
  • Scope the challenges or ‘sleepless nights’ that your product (or service) solves
  • Create an overarching creative wrap (that answers the sleepless nights)
  • Be bold and original when producing the relevant creative
  • Secure a talented resource whom can produce wonderful and engaging copy
  • Track, track and track some more. If you don’t know about pixels and UTMs then learn, fast!
  • Retargeted engaged audience to drive conversation
  • Have a smart, and multi-layered Paid Media plan for both Awareness and Retargeting
  • Repeat activities

In marketing, the holy grail is securing mass awareness with a relevant audience whom will have brand loyalty moving forward. Impressions with an irrelevant audience is the digital version of a leaflet drop that’s been bunged into a bin. Don’t post rubbish!

Sanity metrics, NOT vanity metrics. Don’t be seduced into chasing bovine dung.

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