21 August 2019
Social media and other digital channels have given analytical marketers exactly what they’ve always wanted: more numbers to drop in a spreadsheet. I’m not dismissive. Data is very useful and important. It’s how we determine how to invest resources, where to double down, when to cut our losses, switch channels or change messages. But for a discipline that is relatively new, there already seems to be an established orthodoxy for measuring results. In just a decade, entire industry sectors have sprung up to provide real-time analytics on the number of impressions, shares, comments, reactions, new followers, audience attrition … you name it. And all of these measurements can be very helpful if, as my colleague Kyle likes to say, you ask the right questions (subtle boss shout-out). The challenge arises when the metrics themselves become the measure of success. British economist Charles Goodhart described the problem when writing about national economies, but the principal still holds true—whenever one statistical measure becomes a stand-in for evaluating the whole, it will cease to be a useful measure. This doesn’t necessarily mean that people are gaming the system. It’s simple human nature to repeat actions that are rewarded—and if moving that “Like” number one percent higher than it was last month makes the boss happy, then that’s what we’ll do. Standby for adorable puppy video in 3 … 2 … 1 … So, your team pumps out some “fresh content.” Some people like it. Some comment on it. Some share it … and all the numbers look great again. But why? And why is that better? There are situations in which the basic metrics are, indeed, solid measurement tools. If you’re marketing a mass-market product, follower and impression counts certainly factor into your evaluation. Grade-A, certified-genius-level content might make you feel good, but it’s not going to move much product if only 17 people see it. Gaining new followers may be in order. Conversely, if you’re marketing a highly specialized product or service with only a dozen or so potential users in the known universe, even a few million fanboys cheering you on in a social space won’t help if you can’t reach those key decision makers. But unless you’re a big-time professional online influencer, audience growth is likely, in and of itself, not a business objective. Most of us are in the business of marketing products and services. That’s the entire point of your brand’s social presence. By all means, keep an eye on your social metrics and pay close attention to when and how your online audience is interacting with your brand. But understand those numbers for what they are: leading indicators, not business objectives. Finding the right audience is more important to your real-world business objectives than reaching the biggest one. And even then, it really only matters when we succeed in motivating some action based on what we’ve shared. Y’know, in the real world. That’s why.
25 January 2019
16 May 2018
04 April 2018
People have been calling for a massive exodus from the Facebook almost since its inception, and recent issues such as the Cambridge Analytica data breach have energized those predicting the end of the social media platform. Ad revenue, however, is still going strong. What’s going on?
16 February 2018
What could a Japanese pro wrestler do to convince you to buy socks? If you’re a follower of Suzuki Minoru on Instragram, all he has to do is post a daily pic of his STANCE socks, and you’re hooked. With social media reaching critical mass and the possibility for everyone to become their own publisher,
21 December 2016
About 90% of companies use social media for outreach, customer service and sales. Considering that Facebook has 1.71 billion users, WhatsApp and YouTube each have a billion, and Instagram has 500 million active users, it’s wise to invest time and effort into analyzing how best to reach these audiences. So, what are the social media
18 November 2016
12 October 2016
31 January 2014
Every Facebook user has felt the sting of an unnoticed post. You come up with a funny image, poignant observation or perfect joke, and all you hear is crickets. How is it that some things you share get lots of likes and shares, and others seem to disappear into the ether? Facebook uses many algorithms