Read any blog about important social media metrics and engagement is likely to make the list. Engagement counts how many times your audience has shared, liked, or commented on your photo or ad. Nice to know, right?

We have an unpopular opinion about social media engagement—it doesn’t really matter. Cue the boos and rotten tomatoes.

If your goal is sales and conversions, then there are more important metrics to focus on than engagement.

Keep reading for the full explanation of why engagement on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter ads doesn’t matter, and what you should be tracking instead. We may even throw in a few additional unpopular opinions. Stay tuned.

How does social engagement translate into sales?

For most companies, engagement doesn’t equal sales.

The number of people who like your posts and ads does not directly translate into sales, leads, or customers. There is something to be said about growing a community on social media, and we are all about building solid followings and social brands. They can turn into your most loyal customers.

The truth is, any community you are building on Instagram or Facebook should be separate from your ad metrics. Unless you can directly track the engagements to purchases, then there are more important things to track, like website visits.

Engagement on posts? Great! Engagement on ads? Doesn’t matter.

The person who comments on your ad is not necessarily going to visit your landing page. The reverse is true as well—the person who purchases from you is not necessarily going to comment on your ad.

When running ads, there is very little use in tracking engagement. We always keep an eye on engagement for our clients, but we don’t put any stock in it. An ad with high engagement and low purchases is not a success. Your business does not run on engagement. It runs on cold, hard sales.

Buying likes and followers has ruined engagement.

We’ve all seen Instagram accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers and 100 likes on their most recent post. We’ve also seen the opposite: accounts with inflated “fake” likes on every post.

The ease of buying likes and followers has ruined the dependency of the engagement metric. It no longer holds the stock it once did. 100 comments is great, but who left the comments, and are they in your target demographic? If they are either fake or in a different audience, then it does you no good to have a lot of likes and comments.

Fake likes don’t make you money. They may give your brand some credibility, but they won’t bring in sales. That’s often why you see companies buying likes and followers—to inflate their profiles so other customers think they are credible. When a company focuses too much on the number of likes and followers, then they tend to lose sight of what actually makes them money.

Our One Caveat

There is one caveat—if you are an influencer or looking to sell posts on your social media profiles, then engagement is a big deal. It’s one of a few metrics brands want to see.

Engagement has its time and place… that time and place just probably doesn’t matter if you are running ads as a business.

What is your social media end goal?

Decide what the goal of your social media marketing is. Maybe your goal is to sell products online. You could sell $100,000 worth of products without a single like on your ad.

If your goal is to get more leads so you can sell a service, then track your online leads, phone calls, visits to your website, and messages.

Take a close look at what makes you money, and put together a few customer journeys. Maybe your typical customer starts on Google, visits the website, does not purchase, sees a retargeting ad on Facebook, and visits the website again to purchase. That tells you what metrics to track. Reach, impressions, landing page views, cost per landing page view, and purchases are a few that would be important here.

Track what matters for your company.

Track leads and purchases. Track visits to your website. Put together a list of no more than ten metrics that lead to your end goal. It’s tempting to look at every single metric—like engagement—but stick to the list and you’ll find yourself more focused on what really matters.

What do you think about tracking engagement on your social media ads? Tell us your thoughts below and contact us if you have any questions