Creators & brands: Stop making these metric mistakes
The creator metrics that are most commonly used, aren't actually telling the whole story. Stop relying on these metrics and start measuring what's really important.
Calling all creators, and brands that work with creators!
What metrics do you track, and which ones are most important to you? Chances are, you're thinking somewhere along the lines of number of subscribers, followers, views, and engagement. Maybe a sprinkle of demographic data too.
I'm here to tell you that there are more important metrics we should be looking at, and creators & brands need to re-evaluate what actually matters to meet their business objectives.
• Metrics that people care about today, and why they don't tell the whole story
• Breaking down metrics into what they actually mean
• Passive viewers vs. Active Backr's
• Rethinking creator media kits and brand ROI
• Metrics that I think should matter, and how to measure them (skip here to get the real tea)
My observations 👀
Over the last year and a half, I've had hundreds of conversations with creators. Creators from all over the world, big and small, in a wide range of niches. And while these creators differed in pretty much every way imaginable, one consistent question kept coming up:
"How do I increase my core engaged audience, those fans that take action?"
I thought that was an interesting question, especially coming from creators with nearly 7 million subscribers, and over 1 billion views on YouTube. Hearing this question over and over, we decided to dive in to find out why so many creators with large followings were struggling to grow their core fanbase.
Goals of creators and brands 🚀
Before diving into the metrics, it's important to understand the goals of creators and brands. Ultimately, it's to create connections with their audience or customers.
As a creator, you want to be at the top of a fan's mind, so they consistently consume and engage with your content, which helps you monetize. As a brand, you want to be at the top of a customer's mind, so they consistently spend money on your product or service.
Passive viewers vs. active Backrs 💥
With the goals of creators and brands in mind, I wanted to know the metrics they're focusing on today. I did a quick Google search for "metrics creators should care about" and "influencer marketing metrics" and here were the top results:
Follower/ subscriber count
Follower growth rate
Engagement: clicks, likes, comments, shares
We think that followers and subscribers are just numbers on a screen unless you actually have a connection with each of these fans. For example, having 100K subscribers on YouTube doesn't translate to anything if they aren't watching and engaging with your videos.
Creators and brands today put too much emphasis on these raw numbers, which explains why there exists paid services that help you buy followers, or join engagement groups to artificially boost these vanity metrics (thumbs down!!).
Reach, engagement, and demographic metrics give us a little more insight into fan behaviour, but are still on the surface level of understanding whether individual fans are part of your core audience.
At the end of the day, these metrics only matter if it's linked with your audience's attention. Do they get value from your content? Do they care about you? Do they trust you? Do they Back you?
That, my friends, is what should matter most.
Creators and brands should be striving beyond passive viewers, and look to gain fans who are active Backrs. Lets take a look at how they differ:
The idea of striving for 'active Backrs' is similar to the famous 1,000 True Fans principle, originally written in 2008 by Kevin Kelly, and Li Jin's 1,000 True Fans? Try 100. These articles discuss that a smaller number of highly devoted fans are far more valuable than a large number of passive viewers.
This is true for both creators generating income directly from fans, and brands looking to improve ROI through influencer marketing.
Okay cool, so what should we be measuring? 🤷🏽♀️
Here's the stuff you've been waiting for! My team has been on a mission to uncover the metrics that truly matter for creators, so they can build sustainable online businesses. We're still in the process of discovering new insights, but here's what we've found so far.
Metrics that matter for creators, and why:
🏠 New fan retention - Every time someone new stumbles across a piece of your content, it is a prime opportunity to welcome them into your community, and start building a relationship with them. If 100% of people who saw one of your videos/ posts stuck around as a long time supporter, imagine how fast you'd grow your channel!
♻️ Repeat engagement - After you retain new fans, your next goal is to consistently provide value so they keep coming back for more. The more consistently a fan engages with your content over time, the stronger the relationship you build, and the more value they provide to you (and you to them!)
😍"Superfan-ness" - How actively engaged are your top fans? How much money do they spend on you? In almost every creator we've studied, a disproportionately large number of comments, purchases, and donations come from a tiny fraction of the total fanbase. It's like the 80/20 principle on steroids. For one creator we work with, top fans only make up 0.01% of his total fanbase, but account for 8% of total fan engagement! Now those are some dedicated top fans, and numbers we love to see!
➡️ Cross platform conversion - Being able to bring your audience across platforms is critical. With new platforms emerging (e.g. Clubhouse), and others teetering on the edge of existential crises (remember TikTok just a few months ago??) creators need to stay agile. The relationships you build with individual fans will ensure they continue to support you, regardless of the platform.
How do you actually track these metrics? Well that's what we're working on at Backr! For creators on YouTube, you can download your free audience analysis here to get a snapshot of your channel, and how you can improve the metrics that matter. You can also sign up for early access, and you'll be the first to know when our platform is ready!
In summary 💭
We believe that 1,000 die-hard fans that follow you on every platform, engage with every piece of content, and buy everything you create, are way more valuable than 100,000 passive followers.
The same goes for brands who work with creators. Promoting your products and services to a large number of passive viewers won't be as effective as targeting a smaller group of actively engaged super fans. For this reason, I think massive creators are overvalued by brands, whereas small, niche creators are undervalued by brands today— but I won't get into that in this article.
So back to the question: "How do I increase my core engaged audience, those fans that take action?"
Actively retaining new fans, providing consistent value, and building long-term relationships with your super fans is a good start! You are what you measure, so let's start measuring the right things.
If you're a creator, brand, talent agency, or anyone interested in revolutionizing metrics in the creator space, lets connect!
We love hearing your feedback, thoughts, pain points, and experiences as we continue to explore the space.
We're on a mission to help creators build sustainable businesses, one meaningful connection at a time, and we invite you to join us 🙂