Many of Jessica Malnick’s pieces for Databox actually make some sense. This one, “20 Instagram Metrics Every Marketer Should Track in 2021,” really caught our attention. Not because it has the ultimate click-bait headline for measurement geeks, but because the advice is so bad. The post gets our Measurement Menace of the Month award.
She basically suggests that marketers should rely on Instagram’s internal metrics as a measure of success. That is, of course, the social media version of the fox guarding the chicken coop. And as a chicken coop (and chicken) owner I know firsthand the damage a fox can do to a coop full of chickens.
Which is why I use our Great Pyrenees, Princess Leia, to guard my chickens. Great Pyrs are legendarily heroic sheep-guarding dogs. They’ve been known to attack and defeat bears in defense of their flocks.
To measure your Instagram success, you need the communications measurement equivalent of Princess Leia, not Instagram’s Shih Tsu version of metrics. Shih Tsus were originally bred to resemble lions, but have no lion-like temperament. Friendly dogs, sure, but kind of useless around a hen house. (No offense meant to Shih Tsu owners — don’t @ me — it’s just an analogy!)
Remember, Instagram makes money from those inflated numbers, which is why you shouldn’t trust them.
The perfect Princess Leia measurement equivalent is Google Tag Manager, which uses tags to track the degree to which people click on your photos or content and then actually buy things. Almost as good is pre/post audience research to test the degree to which your Instagram efforts are actually having an impact on brand preference, awareness, or consideration. Farther down on the fierce metric scale might be a bespoke engagement index that actually ties actions on a social platform back to sales or whatever the desired behavior.
The big point here is that if you only rely on the numbers provided by the platforms that profit from them, your budget will suffer the same fate as the fox when it meets a Great Pyrenees. So thanks to Ms. Malnick’s post, our Measurement Menace of the Month, for providing an eggs-ellent measurement lesson. ∞