Unpacking the ‘vanity metrics’ of boosting content on Facebook

Khyathi Nirmal Kumar, founder of Singaporean digital marketing agency Kaizen Digital, argues that great marketers are the superheroes who want to look beyond the bullshit of vanity metrics

It’s almost that time of the month: you’re brainstorming, churning out beautiful creative content, writing snappy copy and packing them all into one winner of a calendar for your Facebook page. You know how it’s done; it’s like clockwork.

You then spend the next month putting this content up on Facebook and religiously boosting it and before your know it, it’s time to repeat the process all over again. Because it’s like Mark Zuckerberg said: “No pay, no play”, right?

Come key performance indicator review time and you’re naturally glowing. Paying for the boosts has improved the numbers by envious percentages and the fans are growing like never before, so your engagement has never been better. Everyone goes home happy.

But then, there is always someone in the room who just wants more. Someone who looks beyond surface of likes and clicks and demands to see results that actually matter to the business. In some cases, that may even be your own conscience.

And this is what it comes down to: there is nothing wrong with boosting all your content on Facebook. But, what’s unacceptable is to boost without a purpose.

The only way to execute an effective boosting strategy is to rethink the content creation process. And the best way to do this is to look at the marketing funnel below:

Credit A Weber

It’s essential for marketers to really know what each of these stages mean to a business. For example, for an e-commerce business conversion can mean actual online revenue generated through Facebook. Whereas, for a B2B business, it might mean submitting an enquiry form or downloading a white paper or any other action that can help you capture that lead for your sales team. Once you are aware of this, then you need to follow these steps:

1: Work closely with your sales team and other stakeholders to understand what are their KPIs and what exact help do they need from marketing? Do they need your help to generate more leads, or do they need you to help with more app downloads? It’s best to have a very specific number on hand so that you can track progress and, therefore, this becomes your ‘purpose’.

2: Create a strategy to help you achieve those KPIs by working through the customer journey. Look at your analytics to see your past drop-off rates. If you haven’t been tracking this, use an appropriate industry drop-off rate to begin with.

Let’s assume your KPI is to help generate 150 people to fill out an enquiry form this month. Now upon looking at analytics, you understand that 90 per cent of people drop off at every stage of the funnel and only 10 per cent move forward. This means that if you need 150 leads, 1,500 visits to your website and 15,000 impressions of your ad. You get the idea.

3: Create content that can help your prospects move through the funnel. If you have 20 posts going out per month, you should be able to clearly differentiate which posts will help you reach your KPI – and these are the post that you should boost. These posts need to be, relevant to your audience, and hence engaging. They should be posted in the right format at the right time and have a clear call to action.

4: Hyper-target your content by understanding your audience beyond the demographics. Boost posts allow you to choose your target audience effectively. Many times, we limit ourselves to targeting our audience by basic demographic attributes such as age, gender and location.

The best way to get your desired result from a boosted post is to narrow down your audience by segmenting them further by interests and behaviour. Facebook allows you to target women in Singapore, in the age range of 25 to 35, who have child between the age of 0 to two years old and whose interests include Masterchef, Buzzfeed Food and Tasty Singapore. This is the minimum level of specificity you should strive to achieve; and if you really want to push it, look to using custom/lookalike audiences.

5: Test, optimise and measure your posts constantly. And track your ad campaign metrics regularly to ensure that you are on track.

If you feel like your campaign is not effective, try to understand what might help you. If you feel like your ad has sufficient impressions, but not enough people are clicking on it, there might be something wrong with your messaging. Comparing two versions of the web page  with copy variations might help you fix that. Inspecting your campaign performance and optimising it regularly is the key to achieving maximum results through ads on Facebook.  

Great marketers are the superheroes who want to look beyond the bullshit of vanity metrics. They are the ones who strive to make their money work as hard as they do. Be that superhero.

Khyathi Nirmal Kumar is the founder of Kaizen Digital


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