Yes, Reach and Engagement Metrics Still Matter

Andrew Schulkind  |  August 25, 2015

A read an article recently on a very widely followed digital marketing firm’s blog titled something like “Useless Metrics You Shouldn’t Be Tracking.” (The title has been changed to protect the hapless.) I was surprised to see that the basic gist of the article was that you should ignore reach metrics pretty much entirely. Wow!

While I can understand the desire to focus on engagement metrics since it’s not uncommon to view engagement as more valuable than reach, the whole premise doesn’t make sense if you follow it to its logical conclusion. (Which is, no process metric is worth tracking; only outcomes are worth tracking. So forget reach and engagement and instead focus on conversions and sales generated and return on investment.)

Except … that’s neither realistic for most of us, nor is it a good idea for any of us.

Yes, outcomes metrics are the only metric that matter, ultimately. If you’re not providing a positive return on your marketing investment, you should stop engaging in that marketing activity. But both reach and engagement are important indicators of how well your marketing is working, particularly if you look at moving trends rather than snapshots.

In other words, X number of followers or Y times your page has been viewed on aren’t terribly important metrics on their own. But if you know that your blog posts typically get X number of likes and one particular post gets 10x – or 0.5x – then you know you’re on to something good. (Or something you shouldn’t bother repeating.)

So don’t fall prey to the idea that email open rates, likes or comments are your ultimate goal any more than page traffic numbers or subscribers or fans are. Your goal is to attract qualified prospects and generate demand. Everything else is just an interim measure.