March 11, 2018

Ding, Dong, Vanity Metrics Are Dead!

Disclaimer: Buzzwords are *the worst*.

Buzzword Dictionary Definition:


Those numbers/stats that look great on paper, but are easily manipulated and don’t really mean anything. i.e. likes, followers, raw pageviews.

Likes and followers are lovely, aren’t they?

It gives you a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling when you get a new follower on your page. I feel that fuzzy feeling for every one of our clients on a regular basis – somebody actually wants to read your content! Unfortunately though, likes just don’t matter anymore.


Just think about it; that new follower who gave you the fuzzy feeling could quite easily (in fact, it’d be far easier than earning the trust of a real person) have been purchased from a sketchy website. Just because someone’s liked your page doesn’t mean you’ll ever have any interaction with them. If it’s followers you’re looking for, you can buy them in bulk (and you’ve probably got the link to do that in your Spam folder), but if anything, that’s going to do damage to your business, and the same can be said for raw pageviews.

Imagine finding a company's profile on Twitter and they've got over a million followers, but an average of 1-2 likes or retweets per tweet. Would you have much faith in this company? Neither would I.

Thankfully, Hootsuite's social media trends for 2018 suggest that the general public are finally waking up to the smoke screen of vanity metrics, and many businesses are much more aware of what really matters.

That's right, I'm talking about actionable metrics; every savvy marketer's favourite collection of numbers. Revenues, profits, active users, and my personal favourite: engagement. As you'll see from our new website (my pride and joy!), engagement and personal relationships are two things that WestCoastCo. really focus on. Great relationships build more loyal customers, and there's nothing quite like an evangelical customer referring you to everyone they meet.

Of course, we still report on these vanity metrics. We have to. We still keep follower targets, because despite vanity metrics dying out, these are still stats that we can't do without. Thanks to the early days of social networks harping on about their importance, it's still something that clients expect to an extent, and it's going to be a while before the world fully converts to a focus on actionable metrics.

I was inspired to write this article after a discussion with a friend about taking over her social media. Her response was "the girl who is doing it at the moment is so proud of all our new followers". This friend's business is based in the North West of England, and it's an on-location kind of deal. 85% of her new followers are based in London, so realistically there's not going to be any relevant engagement there. That's not good marketing. That's a focus on fluff.

It's tough to balance out what the client expects (fluff) and what they need (actionable metrics), and that's why it's so important for those of us who know what we're talking about to practice what we preach. I've seen marketers on LinkedIn discuss how followers don't matter anymore, and then proceed to write a status about how many Instagram followers they have.

Stay true to your beliefs and your clients, not your vanity. We can make our lives much easier simply by leading by example.

Now, if y'all could like us on Facebook and give this post a like, that would be sweet.


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