Engagement Metrics are Messing with You.
Engagement metrics like clicks, shares, likes, and time spent are industry standard metrics for advertisers and creatives. While they do signal something, they don’t actually inform you whether or not your creative is working.
Large ad platforms like Facebook and Google want advertisers to focus on engagement because engaging content on their platforms increases their own value. Engagement is often used as a proxy for impact because engagement metrics are easy to measure and easy to track. However, data shows that engagement and impact are not actually correlated.
The average CTR for display ads is 0.35%. How do you know the impact of your creative on the 99.5% of people who see your ad but didn’t click on it?
How do you know if they’ve really absorbed any of the content? People like and share content on social media that they don’t read or watch.
How do you know if sharing means your content has made an impact? People share for many reasons, but those reasons have little to do with whether your content changed their intentions or opinions.
Vanity metrics are easy to measure and track, and an upward shift in likes and shares can certainly mean something. But, if you’re trying to make an impact, the creative needs to be measured for that. Did it change their minds? Did it move them to act in some way? If that’s why you’re making the content, no proxy can substitute for measuring true impact.