Vanity metrics are the metrics that make us look good, or rather they’re the metrics which we tell ourselves make us look good. In reality they make us feel good.

Likes, retweets, comments, shares, and all the other social media validations which give us those wee hits of dopamine. They literally bathe our brains in feel good drugs, which reassures us that we are doing well.

These metrics are often shallow at best, and are ultimately easy to achieve (or buy) but carry very little value, if any, for most brands. Publishers reliant on advertising revenue were a notable exception (which was lucrative a decade ago for our founder Andrew) but even they now need more.

“Engagement” was long a catch-all term for success used by social media platforms, analytics dashboards, and consultants alike, but ultimately offered very little actual value.

How many people have seen your tweet is of little importance if they aren’t the right people. How many people comment on your post is of little importance if they’re all saying the same. How many people have shared your status is of little importance unless they’re sharing it with people you want to reach.

Meaningful metrics vary from sector to sector, season to season, and brand to brand. These metrics are almost never the out-of-the-box publicly visible metrics which so many chase.

helleau® works with clients to define definitions of success before deciding upon meaningful metrics.


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