Vanity = lack of real value; hollowness; worthlessness.
Vanity Metrics = See above.
Unfortunately, Vanity Metrics—Likes, Opens, and Follows—are exactly what associations, campaigns and companies use to determine success with regard to social and email campaigns.
Make no mistake, building these communities is incredibly important, but that is only the beginning of the process. You must make sure you are reaching these audiences and they are engaging with your content. This is becoming increasingly difficult as recent changes to Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail have the potential to marginalize a Like, Follow, or Open, at least with regard to messaging and direct response campaigns.
The changing landscape began with Facebook adjusting their algorithm that reduced organic reach from 15% to 1% or less. Now simply producing and sharing content does not ensure you will reach even a minimal amount of your supporters.
Next, Gmail announced it would cache images—including pixels used to track opens—making it harder to accurately track the total amount of opens for each of your emails. Even before this change, the value of an opened email was already artificially inflated. Emails are a delivery platform, not a destination. Opening an email is valuable, only if the user is then compelled to click-through to your site to learn more and take a specific action.
Finally, Twitter announced the addition of a “mute” button to its platform. Now users can elect to follow a brand/campaign, but can mute their tweets, which means the brand/campaign has a new follower, but one who does not receive any tweets and therefore unable to help spread your message.
These changes reinforce the need for email and social media managers to shift their focus to stats that measure actual engagement such as shares, email click-throughs, and retweets when determining the success of campaigns.
CRAFT always has put a premium on engagement, and we’ve refocused our clients’ efforts on shares, retweets and email click-throughs in anticipation of these changes by Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail. We work with clients to target qualified audiences with digital advertising to build online communities, with success determined by engaging these communities.
Our clients are building large online communities with engaged audiences where message drives actions such as purchase, donation, retweet, or share.
Focus your efforts on driving up engagement rates and you will know for sure if your communities can hear you.