Readtime: 5 min approx
Auth: Matthew Jackson

Since Facebook introduced the Like button in 2010, most brands have used likes along with other engagement metrics such as comments, followers and shares as a way of measuring social success. But this is changing…

Instead of tracking what many marketers now call ‘vanity metrics’, brands are considering whether advertising on social leads to larger outcomes: has your customer bought your advertised products? Has your target audience applied for the job? Have you gathered any contact details or gained website visits?


But new research suggests it’s not so simple

Building your brand on Facebook, an insightful new report by Facebook, sheds some light on whether it’s useful for brands to track likes, comments, followers and shares.

The report suggests 99.3% of buyers never click on content from brands on social. Yet, Facebook state that buyers do remember brands and their adverts, even though they may not choose to click. These adverts then influence how people behave towards that brand at a later date – whether that’s buying their products, applying for a job and so on.

To measure this, Facebook suggests using advertising recall tests to see if people remember your advertising. This also begs the question – with our research suggesting most people scrolling through an average of 90 metres of social scrawl on their phones each day – would people remember your brand’s advertising?


The benefits of tracking engagement

We think the evidence in the report suggests there’s still a place for engagement metrics.

Remember Nike’s Colin Kaepernick’s social campaign in 2018? This was a great example of the benefits of raising brand awareness on social without directly generating clicks, applications or sales.

With that campaign, Nike changed people’s perceptions of its brand from a corporate behemoth to a brand with values. It led to a huge uplift in their share price and ultimately shifted more shoes. Although, without direct sales from the campaign, it’s hard to quantify its success as purely down to social advertising.

This goes to show that not every effective piece of social content must lead to a click or purchase.


Engagement metrics and brand buy-in

Nike’s campaign shows engagement metrics can be a good way of measuring people’s attitudes towards your brand. But what should you pay attention to?

If through your brand, you can show you understand your audience, what they like and things they’re interested in to build an emotional connection, the Facebook report suggests there’s certainly value in that, even though it may not directly lead to a sale or application.

When it comes to followers, for one, they’re useful for measuring the size of your online community. Higher numbers give your brand credibility. Likes, comments and shares signify people’s relationships with your brand and the content it produces.


Vanity metrics or valuable metrics?

Engagement metrics are not dead. They still have a place and are a good measure of your connection with your fans and followers.

Yet, it’s fantastic that brands are beginning to think bigger too. With over half the world on social, what is your brand getting from your investment in social? How is this investment generating you a return? How do you link your social activity with things like candidate hires, sales and overall business success?

This is a summary of one of our recent podcasts. You can find it here

Carve DASH is one of the tools we use to help organisations make the crucial link between social metrics and the impact on your organisation. Take a look.