There are a lot of digital agencies out there offering more likes on the Facebook fan page, more followers on corporate Instagram and more traffic on the site. That’s their commitment: generate numbers of likes, shares, followers, greater traffic.
Vanity metrics can be defined as all those numbers referring to your social networks that do not generate any concrete results. They can even be quite expressive but, in practice, they do not result in the results that companies need and expected through the adopted strategies.
There are a lot of digital agencies out there offering more likes on the Facebook fan page, more followers on corporate Instagram and more traffic on the website.
That’s their commitment: generate numbers of likes, shares, followers, greater traffic.
But what’s the use of being the most accessed site or the most liked profile if your company doesn’t make a penny from it?
This is what we call “vanity metrics”. Good numbers for those who look, but in practice they don’t bring any gain.
When it comes to social networks, many indicators can confuse and mislead those who are not familiar with the subject.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to separate the wheat from the chaff. Clarify what vanity metrics are and what marketing strategies actually are.
Let’s check it out?
What are vanity metrics?
Vanity has been part of human nature since it became self-aware – and led to the death of Narcissus in Greek Mythology and Dorian to personal decadence in Oscar Wilde’s classic “The Portrait of Dorian Grey”.
With the popularization of the internet and social networks, vanity boosted the “I love myself, I can’t live without me anymore”.
This obsession has hit companies hard, especially on channels where some numbers are available to users, such as Facebook likes or Twitter, Instagram and YouTube followers.
Some businesses even invest in the expectation of stimulating interactions and likes.
In other words, in addition to not monetizing the digital presence, they are still losing money and resources to be able to “show” that they are loved companies.
So, in summary, as we talked about earlier, vanity metrics are those pretty numbers that go nowhere.
They don’t help with any decision-making and, in fact, don’t expose whether you’re succeeding digitally or not.
The metrics that really matter – and that show the success of your marketing strategies – are others (and we’ll cover them later).
Do you know the “Maria goes with the others”? Do you know that strange habit of wanting to enter the nightclub with the longest queue we found or the busiest restaurant?
Typical characteristic of what scholars call the “herd effect”.
The concept draws a parallel with the large groups of irrational animals, which move together for safety from predators and guaranteeing food and shelter for all.
The human being also feels safe in the company of others, so he also adopts the behavior of a herd.
Friedrich Nietzsche said in his work that modern man does not have his own standards and, therefore, seeks reference in groups.
Thus, it is easy to understand how fads emerge and why social proof is important to a company’s digital presence strategy.
It’s okay to want to show that people (customers and society) love your business and your brand. This provides social proof that your company provides a relevant service to many, offers a good product and a good shopping experience.
This is what we call social proof: people rely on the opinions of others to assess whether something is good or not. It’s like that highly rated seller on MercadoLibre.
Awakens security buy after reading the positive reviews it has received.
Vanity metrics vs. relevant metrics
But after all, what are these vanity metrics that often deceive people and make them believe in something far from reality?
And which metrics are really relevant to show how successful you are right now.
Below, we separate the two cases: what you should, if not ignore, not give so much importance, and what you need to be very careful about.
Vanity metrics are:
- Number of likes, favorites, saved links, etc;
- Clicks on a link;
- Downloading an application;
- Scope of publication;
- Bounce Rate;
- Number of followers or likes;
- Views on the page.
Again: not that they are unimportant. Of course we all want big numbers in positive metrics.
But that didn’t buy and will never prove ROI or effectiveness in strategies.
You might think: “Wow, but shares? If they share, it means they liked what I did”. Yes it is true.
But, effectively, just having a high number of shares does not guarantee that the next step will be taken (it does need a complementary metric to analyze).
If we are analyzing the performance of a company, the intention is to sell, right? So having metrics like that won’t show you if you’re really on the right track.
What metrics are relevant anyway?
Within a complex process that is the purchase journey, we need to be aware of what really shows the evolution of a potential customer in their relationship with the brand.
So the metrics that really matter are
- Conversions along the pipeline (from filling out the first form to “nodding” to the sales team );
- Number of visitors (here, the unique visitors and on the pages that really matter like your tool’s trial, for example);
- Campaign conversion rate (analyze the ROI of your campaigns through % of downloads of an offer or content, for example);
- CAC, Cost of Acquisition of Customers (how much is your company spending, from the beginning of the process, so that a person effectively becomes a customer?);
- LTV, LifeTime Value (defines how much the customer is worth to you, how profitable it is during your stay in the company).
Digital Marketing Strategy: Quite Different From Vanity Metrics
This is precisely the difference between simply seeking to achieve vanity metrics and using them in favor of your brand to enable business and revenue for the company.
It’s crucial to have well-defined marketing strategies to know what to do with these pretty numbers.
One is just vanity.
It is beautiful to see in the report delivered by the digital agency (more likes, more hits, more traffic). Just as Dorian Gray liked to see in the mirror that the years passed, but he was still young and attractive.
Those who use these numbers — the vanity metrics — in favor of the strategy are able to answer the impact of likes and clicks on a post on Facebook.
And understand, therefore, how much this generated in business volume for the company. Selling more and better is what matters, right? Always, of course, customer-focused.
It’s not easy, but with a well-designed digital marketing strategy and defined planning, the company will invest resources and efforts aimed at the objective, the result.
The text, image or video will be chosen not by chance. They are not defined by being prettier or generating more clicks.
They are, yes, because they bring interaction that really matter to the success of the business.
What’s the point of a hotel chain page getting 500 likes in a post with a beautiful quote by Caio Fernando Abreu or Clarice Lispector, if of those, only one or two people have any chance of staying one day?
Profitable Digital Presence through Planning
There is no rule or book or primer that guarantees this. Don’t believe anyone who tells you “we increased your sales by 1000% using the internet” as it is simply impossible to predict.
In digital marketing, you have to work with real, tangible numbers. Measure what is done.
It is necessary to build on the success of previous experiences and with 110% dedication to surpass the estimates.
What comes after that is the laurels of a perfect strategy, very well contextualized.
But having a profitable digital presence requires something crucial, mandatory, indispensable: strategic planning. There is no way to skip this first step, it is essential.
In planning, plan for A/B testing mainly on social media. Start with two different posts on different days and times on the same topic.
Don’t forget to set a goal – more clicks on a landing page link, for example.
The post that brings the most results already brings some information about what most pleases your audience.
So, by testing and understanding what are vanity metrics and what are the relevant ones, you will be much more successful in your lead generation strategies.
So, how can we help you?
Take the opportunity and read two articles that will help you have more control over the indicators relevant to your business.
The first talks about how to increase sales with the integration between CRM and marketing.
The second deals with sales metrics that are really important for the day-to-day in your company.