making sense of social

Quality vs quantity in social media. It’s not a debate we should be having.

For years social experts have been declaring that the power of social is to engage people. To have conversations with them, all that jazz.

It’s even hinted that because engagement is so important that even measuring is a waste of effort. That we should focus 100% on engagement rates as this is the only true measure of success in social media. That it’s about quality not quantity.


Marketing is about sales. And for all brands, to varying degrees, sales are about numbers. As marketers we shouldn’t be debating quality or quantity. We should always aim for both.

Sure, we often need to sacrifice a little scale to get quality. Media targeting is based on this principle. But quantity is always important.

If you’ve set up your social team at incredible expense, with community managers, some social managers and a few senior people for good measure, then you need to be showing significant return. And a few likes won’t cut it. A handful of highly engaged fans is almost certainly a poor use of budget. Unless of course you work in the super luxury market, where you only ever aim for a handful of customers. In the world of FMCG it’s a failure.

This isn’t a debate in other media. We all know that banner ads can have impressions in the millions, but if it’s not engaging, if people ignore it, if it has a poor click through rate, we generally consider them ineffective.

Consider a TV advert – I just can’t imagine there is ever a debate between whether a TV ad should aim for numbers or compelling creative. We know they can reach huge swathes of our audience, but unless the ad itself is engaging, is funny, emotive, entertaining and makes people want the product then someone somewhere hasn’t done their job

Reach and engagement go hand in hand in any good marketing plan. You need both. So can we just stop trying to debate a non-issue?

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About the author

This post was written by Mike Phillips

Plannery type person with silly side projects. Not to be trusted.

Follow them on twitter: @imjustmike

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    • Mike Phillips |

      Fast Moving Consumer Goods (like soft drinks, shampoo etc). Wanky marketing term, a thousand apologies


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