Are “likes” completely useless as an engagement metric? This Gartner analyst thinks so

If you’re a social media manager who’s counting “likes” as a measure of how well you’re doing your job, you might just be wasting your time.

According to Gartner analyst Jennifer Polk, “likes” are fairly inaccurate when it comes to measuring how engaging your content is. Responding to an ANA study which revealed that 80% of brands measured content effectiveness, Polk took issue with “likes” being cited as their top metric.

In a blog post, Polk writes:

Let’s be honest, reporting thousands or millions of “likes” makes your program sound really successful, especially to executives with limited knowledge of social marketing. But please don’t believe your own hype. “Likes” are basically the social marketing equivalent of impressions. Sorry, but a “like” just means someone saw (glanced at) your content while scrolling through their newsfeed. They probably didn’t open it and they certainly didn’t take time to watch or read it.

Polk suggested other metrics as far better indicators of social media content engagement:

A better measure of social marketing content effectiveness is  whether or not content engaged your audience and influenced them to think or behave differently. Comments or replies can indicate engagement. Shares or retweets are behaviors that spread your content to other users, extending message reach and improving marketing efficiency.

Do you agree with Polk’s opinion on “likes”? Share in the comments below:


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