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Impressions Are Dead. Long Live Impressions.

But really, do social metrics matter?

We hear conflicting statements over and over again when it comes to social media metrics. Impressions don’t mean anything. Impressions mean everything. Click-through rate is a lie. Click-through rate matters the most. And so on. With all the dissonance, how do you figure out which metrics matter and why? With a combination of quantitative analysis and context.

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Finding Truth Behind the Numbers

So, your impressions on Facebook increased by 3,000% month-over-month. That’s an incredible metric at first glance. Being able to put in a report that anything increased 3,000% is bound to make at least one person dance around their office with glee. Once they’ve returned to their screen, however, they’re bound to ask: Why did this happen? What can we do to maintain this level of performance? And, what did this increase mean for business?

This is where taking time to investigate past performance to find the meaning of current performance is crucial. If you want lightning to strike twice or, better yet, make these results the new standard, you have to do some research.

Let’s dive into those Facebook Insights. First, sort your posts by organic impressions, most to least. Think about the content in the top post. Was it a particularly exciting announcement? Was it controversial? Was there a stunning image? Did you try something new? How does it compare to other content you’ve shared in previous months? Next, try sorting your posts by the ones that gained the most paid impressions. Think about the content in those as well. Do your observations match with those you made from your top organic post?

Consider the number of comments, likes, and shares on the posts with the most impressions. If nothing was new or exciting about this particular piece of content, were a few of your followers extraordinarily excited or disappointed by it? Having an above average amount of engagement on a certain piece of content will also lead to above average impressions due to the way Facebook and other social networks spreads the content your followers engage with to their followers. Analyzing and thinking about why those people commented on that content could help inform why that content stood out.

Not an unusual level of engagement? Next you’ll want to check what time a post was published and on what day. Compare it to other posts published at similar times and on similar days. A post published when your audience is most active on Facebook, or any other social platform, will lead to more impressions. If a pattern reveals itself, this can be useful for future post scheduling.

Put on that monocle and see what patterns you find. Once you’ve uncovered why your content performed above average, the next question your premature celebrator is likely going to ask is, but does that really matter for our bottom line?

Informing Your Strategy with Numbers

Impressions are fine and dandy, but what do they mean to your company? Did you have any increase in sales or leads along with your 3,000% increase in impressions? Were you able to engage with any quality prospects because of the content you posted?

It’s important to not only look at why you were able to increase your social metrics, but to also look at how that increase has impacted the rest of your marketing plan’s success. Impressions can be important to meaningful results, but even if they are, a lot more has to happen between a customer’s first impression and a sale.

Taking the time and effort necessary to continue creating strong content that increases your social metrics - without generating any other measurable results - provides little value to your organization. However, creating strong content to increase not only your social metrics, but to drive traffic to your website or prompt contact with your company by qualified prospects, is precisely the reason to continue investment.

How 400 Unpaid Mentions Can Be Worthless

About two months ago, we published this blog: Prove It! Your ROI Is There, You Just Have To Plan For It. Shortly after publishing, a follower of ours shared it via Quuu Promote. In large part due to that share, our Prove It! blog received 7 new mentions per day (on average) on Twitter with nearly 400 total in a month’s time.

That sounds great, right? Initially, we were very excited to see the additional impressions on our social profiles - so excited, in fact, that we may or may not have even done the aforementioned dance around the office.

Wrong. Unfortunately, we danced too soon.

As an exercise, the average number of Twitter followers per person is 208 - giving us the opportunity to reach over 80,000 people. Then, with an average CTR for links on Twitter being 1.64%, we should have seen over 1,000 views on our blog.

However, the total number of blog views from Quuu Promote alone is just 117. That’s a far shot from the 1,000 we estimated. There have also been 0 clicks on our call to action link from our Quuu mentions on this post and 0 new contacts or leads.

Our investigation into these metrics is a prime case for taking the time to understand, through quantification and context, which social metrics matter. We naturally became excited when we saw the massive increase in daily mentions and shares of our blog post. If we had gone off of this metric alone, we would have likely assumed that paying to share our content via networks such as Quuu was absolutely worth it. It still could be for many strategies - just not ours.

 

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Now, to put it plainly, all social metrics matter because they all tell part of the story. It’s crucial to ensure you’re taking the time to look at each part of that story instead of taking action on isolated and incomplete information.

Looking for another example? See how we took the numbers gained from social metrics to write better blogs, send better newsletters, and, overall, increase the success of an OTC Home Conception Device in our latest case study. Downloa

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