We were happy to see social agency Fullscreen bemoaning the industry’s “over-reliance on behavioral metrics” and measuring client campaigns on conversions — but less excited they claimed to have data “validating the value of an engagement.”
Fullscreen measured three campaigns for engagement and sales, and declared that “brands focused on the bottom line can optimize towards engagements with reasonable confidence that it will more effectively drive sales.”
Not so fast:
This isn’t research; it’s one cherry-picked case study. While Fullscreen calls this a “study,” it only analyzed three campaigns. And Fullscreen only reported that one campaign showed a correlation between engagement and sales. The other two, we can extrapolate, failed to “validate the value of an engagement.”
That single study didn’t find causation, only correlation. We’ve long known the majority of brands’ followers are already customers. So even when people who engage also buy, it’s wrong to assume engagement drives purchases. More likely, the engagement and the purchase both indicate an already-deep brand connection.
Facebook has already disproven this claim. While Fullscreen cherry-picked a single case study to make its claim, Facebook’s thousands of sales lift studies found “engagement rates do not correlate with the outcomes ultimately used to judge the success of your marketing efforts.”
We applaud Fullscreen’s desire to better measure social. We just recognize that the data they’ve collected doesn’t support their sweeping conclusion.