This report on Wired.com about an experiment by a group of liberal digital strategists on the efficacy of viral political ads is worthy of our attention and highlights the differences between macro, micro, and vanity metrics – a trap that too many campaigns fall into.
The study found that,
In the end, the videos’ success on Facebook, or lack thereof, turned out to have little impact on their ability to persuade.
“If we pick content to promote based on how well it engages, what we’re really measuring is how much it echoes around our own echo chambers,” Slezak says. “If we want to win over people who are not like us, we have to find ways to listen to them and hear whether our content or messages are resonating.”
The objective of Facebook’s algorithm is not necessarily aligned with your goals as a campaign. The platform wants its users to spend more and more time on the site or app and shows them content that will keep them there. For politics, this means content they agree with.
This can be useful if you are trying to win a primary or turn out your base, but your most persuasive ad may not be the one that gets the most shares or engagements.
Negative advertising, for example, remains incredibly effective despite the fact voters say they don’t like it.
In my trainings, I discuss the differences between macro, micro, and vanity metrics:
- Macro metrics are tied to your overall campaign goals, like raising money or turning out voters.
- Micro metrics are subordinate to these macro metrics. For example, since most online fundraising is done with email, micro metrics like open and click through rates can help you diagnose problems with your macro metrics.
- Vanity metrics are things that we can measure but don’t really have an impact on our primary goals. The campaign with the most Facebook shares isn’t necessarily the winning campaign.
A savvy digital strategist knows how to tell the difference between these three and focus on the ones that matter.