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Is Engagement the Most Important Social Media Metric?

This article was originally posted on and can be found here.

Likes, shares, comments, and now hearts. Engagement is an important social media metric, but is it all you should be watching?

Social Media Engagement Meme with Dog on Computer

Social media engagement reminds me of the Skinner Box. Except instead of pushing the lever myself and getting the reward, I’m relying on users’ affirmations to give me that weird, endorphin-like high. Engagement means my content resonated, it entertained, and it effectively solicited the kind of reaction I wanted.

But while engagement is certainly a valuable social media metric – and one of the most commonly measured – it isn’t the only one. And in some cases, it isn’t the most important one either.

Engagement vs. Other Social Media Metrics

Let’s say your company is brand-new or just about to launch. You have very different needs on social media than a business with huge market presence. You must make yourself known (brand awareness), whereas the other business may be more focused on increasing sales.

Because you have different goals, your organization must measure your performance differently, too.

Your goal needs to correspond to a specific social media metric that tells you how well you’re doing – or not doing.

For a campaign focused on brand awareness, engagement is certainly an important metric. The goal is to get in front of as many social media users as possible, and to increase likes, shares, etc. in order to gain even more exposure. The more users who engage with your brand, the better for building your brand.

But for the company that is building a sales campaign, measuring conversions is a better fit. The business needs to see which social content is getting users to click and then buy the product or service. The goal is to sell more, so the business must be able to see whether or not their social media is aiding this initiative.

Some campaigns may even combine metrics. But that’s a whole other post. For now, just know that while engagement is a very good social metric, it may not be the most effective one to help you reach the goals that are important right now.

How to Increase Social Media Engagement with Facebook 360 Photos

This article was originally posted on and can be found here.

If your social media engagement on Facebook has taken a nosedive recently, you can thank the platform’s newest algorithm change. Since placing the posts of friends and family above those from publishers, it appears that many brands are experiencing extremely low engagement – some less than 1 percent.

If this resonates with you, then you are probably wondering what you can do to increase your social media engagement. Rather than resort to memes about political speeches or blatant promotional posts, how about creating unique content people actually care about. You can start with the new Facebook 360 Photos. (more…)

Measuring YouTube Ad Performance in AdWords

Over a billion users are on YouTube, which accounts for one-third of people online. This is a potential goldmine for savvy marketers. With AdWords, you can promote your YouTube videos with paid placements to increase the chance of people learning about your brand. 

In Google AdWords, there are a set of metrics specifically for earned actions on YouTube: views, subscribers, playlist additions, likes, and shares. “Earned actions happen when a viewer watches a TrueView video ad and then takes a related action on YouTube.” In other words, you pay for that first click on your ad, but not additional actions which are “earned” as a result of people engaging with your video initially from an ad.

Here are brief definitions of the different earned actions available in AdWords:

  • Earned view: A viewer watched another video on your channel within a week.
  • Earned subscribers: A viewer subscribed to your channel within a week.
  • Earned shares: A viewer shares a video from your channel within a week.
  • Earned likes: A viewer “likes” a video after watching your paid placement.

This alone gives you a wealth of data about how interested people are in what you offer, but don’t forget about Google Analytics. As long as your Google products are connected, you will see Video Campaigns under Acquisition > AdWords in Google Analytics.


6 Reason Brands Should Be Using Snapchat

6 reasons 1

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to send pictures to each other that disappear after seconds. At first glance it seems more like a fun social network for millennials than a brand-building opportunity. And yet, with its huge and rapidly expanding user base, authentic feel, and incredibly broad reach, there are plenty of reasons that brands should be jumping on the Snapchat wagon. Here are six reasons why your company should be capitalizing on Snapchat.

1. You Can Reach a Lot of People

Snapchat is only a few years old as a social media network, and yet according to the Infinite Dial 2016 study it has become the second favorite social network of Americans, beaten only by Facebook. In fact, among users age 12-24, Snapchat is even more frequently used than Facebook. It has 200 million users, and ads on Snapchat’s Discover feature receive fifty thousand to a million views per day.


All these facts add up to one big conclusion:  You can reach a lot of people using Snapchat, especially young millennials who can be hard to reach via other social networks. If your brand is aimed at people within the age 12-24 bracket, you should definitely be on Snapchat. And even if it isn’t, there are still enough people from other demographics using the app to make it well worth your time investment.

2. Snapchat Keeps People Checking Back

The nature of Snapchat is that the content is constantly changing, with old stories and snaps disappearing, and new ones being added. Users have to check back at least every 24 hours, or else they may miss their friends’ “stories”–pictures or videos that can be viewed by everyone and disappear one day after being posted. Combine the frequent checking for updates with the amount of time users spend sending snaps or posting to their own stories, and the result is a platform with an insanely high amount of user engagement.

With Snapchat, you don’t need to worry as much about user engagement as you do on networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Snapchat’s format does the work for you, bringing users back again and again throughout the day, decreasing the chance that they’ll miss new content. Because Snapchat focuses more on the amount of views stories receive, rather than on the number of followers a user has, it can be difficult to get a good idea of how many people your brand is reaching. Check out this article for ways to measure your Snapchat success.

3. Your Brand’s Uniqueness and Authenticity Can Shine

Snapchat lets you give your followers a behind the scenes look at your brand. Post a tour of your workspace, pictures of your newest product, or a video of your developers joking around–no matter what, the people who view your story will see more than advertisements and product placement. They’ll see the human element behind the brand and they’ll see what makes your brand unique. Making your brand stand out from the others in its field should always be a top-priority goal, and the informality of Snapchat helps you make that uniqueness and transparency readily apparent.

There is no editing available on Snapchat, so whatever you post will automatically give a direct, behind-the-scenes look at your brand, building your brand personality by showing your viewers the “what you see is what you get” of your brand. Snapchat makes giving your brand an authentic and personal feel easier than any other social network.

4. You’ll Be Ahead of the Game

6 reasons 2

Because of Snapchat’s relative newness, very few businesses are using it. This is yet another reason why using Snapchat will set your brand apart from the crowd. By establishing a brand presence on Snapchat, you’ll be well ahead of those competitors who don’t use it. Snapchat’s rapid growth and strong young demographic means it will be around for a long time, and the number of brands that use it will only increase.

5. You’ll Learn to Think Outside the Box

Learning to come up with good content for your brand’s Snapchat story will help you flex your creative muscles. Options for what to share on Snapchat abound, whether it’s filming a live event, taking the viewers behind the scenes of your company, or delivering exclusive content concerning your brand that isn’t available elsewhere. And while working within the limitations of Snapchat, such as the 10-second maximum length of pictures or videos, can be challenging at first, it will also drive you to find fun and creative ways to get your message across within the challenges.

This article has some other ideas for what to share on Snapchat, but a little time exploring Snapchat will give you some inspiration of your own. Snapchat’s Discover feature showcases different business, all of which know how to use Snapchat to display the best aspects of their brand. BuzzFeed, National Geographic, and Cosmopolitan are only a few of the companies that use the Discover feature.

6. It’s Low-Cost

Some advertising campaigns and other ways to increase awareness of your brand require an initial investment before they pay off. A Snapchat account is absolutely free, and provides benefits you can’t put a price tag on. While getting your brand featured on the Discover feature does cost money, you can utilize the great advantages of Snapchat without ever spending a dime. These brands use only the Story feature to create a fun and engaging brand personality to attract people and spread brand awareness.

So if you’re looking to build a build a company that connects and engages with your audience, then check out Snapchat to help you launch an authentic and transparent brand that your fans will love to follow.

5 Ways to Measure Your Social Media Results

Social media is all about connecting with people. If they’re not engaged, you’re not doing it right. Monitoring and measuring the connections you make with people is essential to any good social media strategy. Luckily, there are lots of ways to measure what kind of results you’re getting on social media. Here are five ways to measure your social media results, and a few third-party tools that make the task of measuring easier.

1. Reach

The first and most basic thing to measure is your social media reach–how many people do you reach on social media, how many people are you impacting, how much attention are you getting? In the social media world, getting ignored is the equivalent to death. Reach helps you understand how far your content is going. The most obvious way to measure reach is by the amount of followers you have–how many subscribers on YouTube, or your amount of followers on Twitter and Facebook. Reach measures how far your conversations and posts go – how many people see them and then the more important action; what do they do once they see them?

2. Engagement


How to Measure Social Media Efforts with Google Analytics

social-analytics-google-analytics1Social media can feel like a moving target with new channels and techniques constantly popping up and not always knowing what’s next on the horizon.  Business leaders are left wondering what the true return on investment is for their social media strategy.  Before any metrics are collected to answer these questions, relevant KPIs must first be identified then data can be collected in a specific channel, such as Facebook Insights, as well Google Analytics for social traffic to the website.  An active presence on social media is a good first step, but you have measure your efforts.  This is where you learn what worked and what did not so you can modify your strategy moving forward.

Reach – Building your brand

How many people are you connected to in your various social media channels?  Do you have 20 followers on Twitter or 20,000?  Are most of your Facebook posts seen by 1 or 100 fans? There’s not a magic number here.  It’s more about whether this number is growing or shrinking than the numbers alone.  And it needs to grow to expand your reach organically over time.

Active usersLikes and shares

123Look beyond reach to interaction with your posts.  People who are actively engaged with your content like or share your posts.  Like reach, you want to see this number increase over time as they build a relationship with your brand.  Although likes are a good start because they indicate positive sentiment, shares are more valuable because they increase your reach.


Using Video Ads to Reach Users on YouTube

Almost one-third of people on the internet use YouTube and YouTube is considered the second largest search engine by many.  With all that attention on video, advertisers should consider YouTube as a cost effective option in their advertising strategy.

Low Costs

With In-Stream TrueView ads, viewers can skip an ad after-five seconds. Advertisers pay only when the viewer does not choose to skip the ad and watches it for 30-seconds until the end. As a result, the traffic is better quality because you don’t waste money on people who are not interested in your offer.

Brand building

Brand awareness is a fuzzy metric. But when it comes to video, brand awareness is a decent goal. Although you probably will not see an immediate ROI, it can have an impact in someone’s decision to purchase over time after repeated exposure.

Tips for a great video ad

Keep it short.  Attention spans are short all over the internet. People want to consume information quickly, hopefully share it, then move on to whatever is next. You do not have a lot of time to keep their attention.

Be different

There’s a lot of noise online. Just as your business needs to have a differentiator, so do your videos. If there’s nothing about them that stands out, people have no incentive to share them. Make sure you provide something useful or interesting in the ad that demonstrates how you are different.

Keep it simple

If you’re keeping it short (under two minutes), you may be tempted to include as many great things about you as possible in that brief moment you have the viewer’s attention. But in this world of information overload, be careful to not overwhelm the viewer. What is the one thing you want them to do as a result of watching your clip?

Use a card

A YouTube card can be viewed by clicking small “i” visible on the video ad.  The card can include information about what was displayed in the ad so the viewer can make a purchase with customized text and images. The goal is to keep the viewers’ attention by inviting them to click on the cards to learn more.  Unlike annotations, these work on mobile devices so one card will work across all device types.

Exclude repeat viewers

Yes, there is a case for people to see a brand multiple times before they remember it. But if the goal of your video ad is to attract new people, then you may want to use remarketing to exclude people who have already seen a video, or even those who have been to your channel. This technique is definitely worth considering for brands with a limited advertising budget.

Don’t forget SEO

Your videos have options to include titles and descriptions.  Don’t overlook this space and make sure you use it for a relevant description and keywords.  With SEO, the rule of sounding natural still applies so don’t go overboard with keyword stuffing.

Check your results

YouTube Analytics provides data specific to your videos beyond just the number of people who watched it, although views of course are important.

With it, you’ll learn more about your audience, such as age, gender, and where they are located. You’ll also learn how they found you which helps you measure other marketing efforts. You may also find some pleasant surprises with referrals to your channel you were not aware of.

It’s also great to see who subscribed to your YouTube channel.  Beyond looking at the number of subscribers on it’s own, determine when they chose to subscribe. It provides insight about the type of video that results in engagement.

If you run ads on the Display Network, check where these ads are being displayed by viewing Targeting, then Placements. If some sites are not performing well for you, they can be excluded in the future.


Similar to how you use Google Analytics, YouTube Analytics provides data to improve your marketing on YouTube so you need to review your results with the goal to optimize.  For example, if you want to send viewers to your website, you may need to adjust your call-to-action (CTA) so a visit to your website is obvious as the desired outcome. If some of the placements never result in a click to your site, then you may want to exclude those from the campaigns.

Not everyone will become a YouTube star or have that one video that seems to magically go viral. But if you remember these tips and can create a message that works well with video, the low costs make this an advertising medium that is worth exploring.

Have Your Tissues Ready, WestJet Just Released Their Annual Christmas Video

Canadian commercial airliner, WestJet, is known for their spectacular marketing through social media and viral video. Some of their most popular videos include their April Fools videos such as WestJet #SmartSeats: the best way to board a plane and Introducing WestJet’s #FurryFamily program.

How does WestJet manage to produce videos that receive up to fifty millions views? By using a combination of humor, philanthropy and finding that one-to-one connection. WestJet knows their customers, knows how to reach them, touch them, and make a personal connection.

They do it every year when they bring us all to tears with their Christmas miracle videos, and they definitely didn’t let us down this year.

Think your tear ducts can handle more? Check out previous years’ videos:

Utilizing Analytics for Your Website & Social Media

analytics-600Finding out if your online campaigns are actually working is important for any team or manager.  In order to allocate resources effectively throughout the campaign you need to find out if potential customers are taking the actions that you want them to take.


Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool that you can use to track social media interactions as well as actions that your visitors take online. Under the “site content” tab you’re able to see what pages people are visiting and how long they are staying on the pages. This is useful if you are posting articles on social media and want to know if people are visiting from specific networks. If you are posting content on all social networks and find you are only getting traffic from a couple of them, then you know to concentrate your focus on the platforms that are working.

This tool provides you with key statistics including:

  • Time User Spends on Site
  • Bounce Rate – Percentage of visitors who leave after visiting the homepage
  • Geo – What location visitors are coming from
  • Device – What device visitors are using
  • Flow – What pages do they pass through before leaving the site
  • Pageviews – How many pages do they go through when on the site


Social Media Lessons from the Starbucks #RedCups Campaign

This post was originally published on

The recent controversy over the Starbucks Red Cup design reminds us that when it comes to social networks, we can create our own media but sometimes it is the users who really develop the campaign.

Starbucks Social Media - Red Cups Campaign

A few weeks ago when the retail coffee chain introduced its annual holiday cup in red gradient with a Starbucks logo, the spartan design had some people wondering if it was an effort to pacify the detractors of holidays past or if something more malevolent was brewing. Some people were just happy to see the cups return to stores, despite the artistry or the intent.

Whatever the message behind the cup, Starbucks had to know its highly anticipated drinkware would initiate a social media discussion, an acknowledgement confirmed and encouraged by its self-promoted #RedCups hashtag.

What ensued was more than a discussion; it was a heated debate that quickly escalated over social networks and bled into mainstream media, drawing passionate reactions from critics as well as supporters.

But we don’t need to rehash what you may already know; we need to highlight the social media lessons that you can take away from the smoldering situation.

You Can Please Some of the People

All brands want to please all of their customers all of the time. The reality is, you will eventually receive negative feedback or an opinion that may seem out of line, and you will have to decide how – or whether or not – to respond on social media.

Silence Can Be Deadly – Or Appropriate

In the case of the Red Cup debate, many people expected Starbucks to issue a statement in response to the uproar. But in fact, the only entity we did not hear from was Starbucks. While the general rule of thumb in social media is to respond to customers – negative or not – in this case, the brand let the public response speak for the brand itself. And it seems to have worked.

Even Bad Reactions Can Be Good

Whether or not Starbucks could have anticipated this type of reaction to its Red Cup campaign is unknown, but what we do know is that even with all of the negative attention the company still received an overwhelming amount of free press on social media. Good or bad, people were definitely talking about the brand, and this could be just what a company needs to launch into other, more impactful social media marketing strategies.

No matter what your stance on the Starbucks Red Cup situation, one thing is for sure: this campaign saturated our social media feeds and the consumer conversation at large. And that’s something that, as a legacy or emerging company, will need to be considered in the delicate balance between popularizing and polarizing a brand.