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How Marketing on Social Media Has Changed Over the Last Year

What metrics really matter for your social media marketing strategy? Discover which ones you should leave behind and which ones carry tangible impact. By IT January 29, 2020
How Marketing on Social Media Has Changed Over the Last Year

Retailers’ social media advertising spend is on pace to reach nearly $65 billion in 2020. 

With new social media channels popping up regularly, trends and best practices tend to fluctuate from year over year. As brands craft their social media strategies for 2020, there is a significant emphasis on rethinking what social media marketing looks like for their unique business composition and goals. They need to strike the optimal balance between finding new ways to up consumer engagement while interpreting and making use of their social data to further inform their greater strategy.

One hugely positive change that we have observed over the last year or so is a transition from “vanity” metrics to metrics that deal with engagement, conversion, and ROI, all of which are better for marketers. In this article, discover the difference between these vanity-focused metrics and the more actionable marketing metrics to better inform your existing and future social media marketing strategy.

What Are Vanity Metrics?

According to HubSpot, vanity metrics include the number of social followers, page views, page likes, subscribers, comments, and other similar metrics that bolster surface-level brand perception but do not provide any tangible business value or insights for future marketing decisions.

While followers, shares, likes, and comments reveal if users in your community or network are connecting to and care about what your brand or business is saying, they become futile if you solely leverage them to be ostentatious instead of tying them back to real business objectives.

Undoubtedly, the social media landscape is becoming increasingly difficult for brands and retailers to navigate. In 2018, Facebook announced that it was adjusting what content shows up in users’ news feeds, a shift that resulted in “less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.” Therefore, it became more challenging for companies to expand the organic reach of their Facebook posts.

Instagram made a similar change, making it difficult for brands to capitalize on the organic reach of branded content when the algorithm’s focus shifted to content from a user’s friends and family over content from brands. The company is also testing the removal of “likes,” reinforcing that brands need to create new ways to measure content performance and break down barriers keeping them from connecting and engaging with users.

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Meaningful Metrics to Track

First and foremost, brands should begin incorporating “social listening” into their social media strategies. This involves monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, products, and keywords relevant to your business. You can take your learnings and put them into action, effectively gauging how people truly feel about your brand, rather than just quantifying how many times you were mentioned. 

You should also be sure to align your social media marketing goals with your greater business objectives, such as generating brand awareness, optimizing customer service, or producing high-value prospects that ultimately lead to conversion. In addition to social listening, you can track these actionable metrics to help you run more impactful marketing campaigns:

1. Engagement rate: An engagement rate is a metric that measures the level of engagement that an advertisement or piece of content receives from its audience, revealing how much people interact with it.

You can leverage Facebook Insights, Facebook’s free analytics tool, to identify which posts produced the highest engagement levels for your brand, which include comments and shares of specific posts. By accessing these insights, you gain visibility into the content with the highest engagement and impressions and can incorporate more content in the formats that resonate with your network into your overall social media strategy.

2. Bounce rate: This metric measures the percentage of people who land on your page and do not take any action once they have entered, meaning that Google Analytics does not receive a trigger from the visitor.

Having a high bounce rate can indicate that the page did not offer anything for the user to engage with and should be optimized, the audience is not interested in the page and its purpose, causing them to avoid engagement, or they have found the information they were looking for. You can incorporate a call-to-action (CTA) onto the page — and link to other pages on your website such as your blog — in order to capture and maintain users’ interest.

3. Email click-through rate (CTR): The CTR for emails signifies how many people who received your email clicked on at least one link. By tracking your CTR frequently, you can deduce how compelling your target audience finds your offer or campaign.

Final Thoughts

Before you abandon vanity metrics altogether, define your social media marketing goals and the metrics you will use to track progress and performance. Stick with the metrics that add value and propel your business forward, inform campaign success, and help identify how much your content is resonating with your target audience.

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