by Martin MacGregor (@MartMacG) Every brand wants to be authentic. Finally, it seems surface-level vanity metrics such as “Likes” are being disposed of as brands search for an authentic play in social media.

Having kids that are entering the world of social media is a challenging time. Dangerous content exposure is an obvious constant fear. As important are the intricacies of their digital social networks, and how the currency of liking and comments becomes the gauge of self-worth. Constant conversations are required to balance this digital world with the real world as they try to navigate a very different set of pressures than when I was growing up.

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Billions has been spent globally by brands grappling with how to behave on social media platforms. Understandably, they’ve looked to mirror the behaviour of consumers and chased any kind of affirmation. This seemed like a fantastic measure at the beginning as brands proudly showed how many loyal fans they had.

Except, they soon realised that loyalty is something way deeper than a click of a button. The cost of getting that click might have been extraordinarily cheap but, with absolutely no real return, all those cents added up to a big waste of money.

Brands are finally coming out of their teenage years in their relationship with social media. The focus has shifted to metrics that matter and a much more-meaningful engagement with consumers, where real return can be tracked.

What are some of these new metrics that matter?

  • Attention retention: Not just getting attention but keeping it
  • Organic mentions: An unprompted conversation about a brand is likely to be a meaningful one
  • Facial recognition: If you’re willing to let a brand recognise your face, you’re all in
  • Sales: As social platforms start to offer ecommerce solutions, the only metric that really matters will dominate.

The other day, my teenage son said to me “Dad, my friends and I have all decided to stop posting anything. It’s just a complete waste of time.”

Maturity is always inevitable.

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Martin MacGregorMartin MacGregor (@MartMacG) has been managing director of Connect, the M&C Saatchi media agency with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, since 2012. He has spent 22 years in the industry, having previously worked at Ogilvy and been MD of Nota Bene (now Wavemaker) in Cape Town. Martin contributes the regular “Media Redefined” column, in which he challenges norms in the media space, to

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