Whether you’re looking to boost brand awareness or sell out of your newest product, social media can help. But in order to run an effective social campaign, you need to know what metrics to track. Discover how these 16 metrics can help you track campaign effectiveness, who is most engaged with your posts, and what sort of content your audience resonates with most.
Social media metrics are valuable tools to prove how effective your social media strategy is and how it can impact your overall business. By understanding how your audience engages with you online, you can keep a pulse on your brand's health and reputation.
But measuring the success of your social media campaigns isn’t as straightforward as calculating profits from a sale or leads generated through cold calls. That’s why it’s important to know how to interpret social media metrics to prove the effectiveness of your work.
Social media metrics help you track your organization’s social media goals—whether that’s boosting awareness, engagement, or conversions. For every goal, there should be a related metric that determines whether your strategy is hitting the mark or not.
Social metrics are helpful for:
Presenting your campaign progress to your project team and stakeholders.
Showcasing the value of your work.
Pinpointing weak points in your strategy that could be tweaked.
Keeping a pulse on the public’s perception.
But before you begin tracking likes and shares, it’s helpful to understand what these metrics mean for your long-term goals. Tie these goals into your social strategy and keep content and posts organized in your social calendar.Free social media content calendar
Here’s a breakdown of the 16 most important social metrics and how to measure them.
Awareness metrics measure your current and potential audience. Brand awareness is often the goal for newly established companies or those hoping to expand their audience base. Customers prefer to buy familiar products and services, so increasing your post reach on social platforms can increase profitability as more people begin to recognize and trust your brand.
To determine if you’re reaching your target audience, you should regularly measure the methods you use to reach consumers and evaluate your findings. Take a look at six key metrics to help you track awareness.
Impressions refer to the number of times your content showed up on someone’s feed—in other words, how many people saw one of your posts. Impressions won’t tell you whether or not your audience engaged with your content, but knowing how many times it was displayed is a good indicator of its value.
Tracking impressions is useful if you’re worried about overwhelming users with too many posts. If impressions are high but reach is low, you may want to cut back. You can also use this metric to track posts in real time. If you publish a post and it immediately gets few to no impressions, that could be an early sign that you may need to reframe your content.
Impressions and reach are very similar metrics with one key difference—reach measures the number of people who see your content. For example, you could come across a Facebook post in your news feed from the original publisher, then see it again when a friend shares the original post. That counts as two impressions for the post, but only one reach.
Like impressions, reach also helps you determine how effective your posts are. If your reach is high but has yet to generate any conversions or clicks, that might mean you need to revise your post. On the other hand, if your content has a broad reach and high engagement, it’s probably doing well—and expanding your customer base.
No matter your business goals, a growing follower base is usually a sign of a prosperous social account. However, it’s important to know who your followers are. Ask yourself if your product or service matches your targeted audience. For example, if you’re selling cars and a majority of your followers are under 16, you may want to reevaluate who you’re targeting with your content.
Depending on the platform, follower analytics can give you valuable audience demographics like age, income, interests, social habits, profession, and more. With this information, you can tailor content and advertisements to best suit your target audience and gain more followers with similar interests.
Brand mentions are references to your organization from articles, post captions, photo tags, service reviews, and more. These mentions provide honest feedback, objective insight, reputation management opportunities, and a better understanding of how your audience perceives your brand.
You’ll receive a notification when your brand gets tagged in a post on most social media platforms—these are called “direct mentions.” However, you may also want to do a manual search or set up Google Alerts for your brand name or product to ensure indirect mentions don’t fall through the cracks.
Responding to brand mentions—whether that’s simply liking a post or responding to a customer complaint—shows your audience that you’re engaged with them as much as they are engaged with your content. Interacting with your audience can do wonders for boosting brand reputation and credibility because it lets your audience know you value their opinions and contributions.
Adding hashtags to your captions is one way to increase reach and impressions on a post. These links are great for discovering relevant content and grouping like conversations. If a user follows the hashtag but has yet to follow you, you’ll have a chance to reach that user’s feed with the hashtag (and hopefully gain a new follower).
Some platforms will list how many impressions your hashtags pulled in on a particular post. If your goal is to increase awareness, pay attention to how your hashtags are performing and make adjustments when necessary. A pro tip is to look at the hashtags your competitors are using and include those.
Many brands create custom hashtags for specific marketing campaigns and products—#ShareACoke by Coca-Cola, #IceBucketChallenge by ALS Association, and Charmin’s #TweetFromTheSeat are just a few. They help tie conversations to specific campaigns and encourage consumer-generated content.
In some cases, trending branded hashtags will go viral and generate hundreds of thousands of brand mentions and shares. In fact, According to a study by Simply Measure, 70 percent of the most-used hashtags on Instagram are branded hashtags created by businesses.
Engagement metrics indicate how people are interacting with your content. This umbrella term includes:
Likes (or other reactions)
Direct messages or replies
Clicks or click-throughs
Tweets or retweets
Calls, texts, or emails
Don’t expect to use all these metrics in your reports—choose the ones that influence your social media strategy the most. In general, the higher the engagement rate, the more your audience is enjoying your posts.
Engagement metrics can help you determine if your creative strategy aligns with user interest. More engaged customers can impact overall profitability, as engaged users are more likely to buy, become loyal customers, and share their experiences with other people.Read: 7 steps to complete a social media audit (with template)
Use engagement rates to track how actively involved your audience is with your content. Most marketers calculate engagement rate by reach (ERR) using this formula:
Calculate engagement rate by reach to track the percentage of people who choose to interact with your content after seeing it. This formula can be a more accurate measurement of engagement than calculating engagement rate by followers because it factors in non-followers that may have come across your post through shares or hashtags.
However, reach is a difficult variable to control—low reach can lead to abnormally high engagement rates and vice versa. These fluctuations could impact your reports, so be sure to keep this in mind.Free social media content calendar
How you measure conversions will depend on what you want your audience to do, such as:
Making a purchase
Downloading a resource
Signing up for a newsletter
Attending a webinar
Visiting a specific webpage
Entering a contest
Signing up for a demo
In other words, conversions track how effective your content is at moving potential customers through the sales funnel. In digital marketing, analyzing conversion metrics helps you determine whether your campaign strategy is hitting the mark.
Your conversion rate represents the percentage of users who took a desired action after clicking a link on your post. A high conversion rate means users found your content valuable enough to take the next step in the buyer journey—whether that’s downloading a whitepaper, scheduling a demo, or purchasing a product. You’ll gain valuable insight into how well your offer resonates with your target audience.
To calculate the conversion rate on a post, divide conversions by the total number of clicks a link received, multiplied by 100.
Calculate click-through rate, or CTR, to determine how often people click on the call-to-action link on your post. You can calculate CTR by dividing the number of clicks a post receives by the number of impressions, multiplied by 100.
A low CTR might indicate your audience is seeing your post but isn’t inclined to click—your content isn’t resonating with them. If you’re using social media advertising, the platform’s algorithm may choose to not show your ad as often if the CTR suggests it may not be relevant to your audience.
If you’re using paid advertising, you’re going to want to know how much it’s costing you to get a conversion. Cost per conversion (CPC) takes the total cost of your advertising campaign and divides it by your number of conversions.
Total cost of campaign / Number of conversions = CPC
For example, if you put $5,000 into a paid advertising campaign on Instagram that generated 100 conversions, the CPC would be $50.
A good CPC depends on your target return on investment (ROI). For most businesses, a 5:1 revenue-to-ad-spend ratio is typical.
CPM stands for cost per mile or cost per thousand, meaning the cost per thousand impressions your post gets. If your goal is to boost brand awareness and visibility through paid campaigns, you’ll want to pay close attention to this metric.
To calculate CPM, divide your total ad spend by the number of impressions your ad received and multiply by 1,000.
As with most conversion metrics, a good CPM depends on several factors, such as market averages, seasonal variations, past campaigns, and ROI.
Bounce rate is the percentage of users who clicked on a link in your social post but immediately left the page without taking any action. To track the bounce rate, you’ll need a tool like Google Analytics to determine which sources of website traffic connect to which bounce rates. If your social media bounce rate is lower compared to other traffic sources, you’ll know your campaigns are targeting the right audience and generating high-quality traffic.
Social media is more than a platform for brand marketing and advertising—customer engagement should also play a huge part in your social media strategy. Your social accounts invite users to share their experiences, comments, concerns, and inquiries with your brand on a public platform. According to a recent study, 76% of consumers will contact brands they follow on social media for customer care.
How you interact with your audience has a significant impact on your brand’s reputation. Use customer service metrics to measure how your active users feel and think about your brand and how well your team responds.
Evaluating customer reviews and feedback on your products or services can help you identify what your target audience values most about your brand or what you need to improve on.
But not only should you read these reviews—oftentimes, your audience wants to see how you respond to reviews as well. Show your appreciation for positive feedback—and if you receive a complaint, offer a solution in a timely manner. You may not be able to simply delete a negative review, but how you respond could turn an upset user into a loyal customer.
Have you ever been asked to rate an interaction after you reached out to a company through social media? That’s how most brands track customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction scores take the average of all those rates to determine how effective your customer service is. You can track average scores on a monthly basis to assess which customers gave low scores, isolate larger trends that may impact your score, and identify best practices to improve your reputation.
This metric is similar to the customer satisfaction score, except it asks customers to rate how likely they are to recommend your products or services to others on a scale of 1 to 10. NPS is especially important in the food and hospitality industries, where word-of-mouth marketing has just as much—if not more—impact than paid advertising campaigns.
Response rate measures how fast a company is at responding to customer inquiries. To track this metric, you first need to set a goal such as responding to all customer DMs and tweets within a certain amount of time. If your team accomplished that goal, your response rate is 100%.
This metric is useful for holding employees accountable for the level of customer service they provide. Having specific goals sets a clear standard to ensure efficient response times.
To start taking advantage of social media for marketing, match each of your social media goals to an appropriate metric. Here are a few suggestions based on what we’ve covered:
If your goal is to spread awareness, use metrics like impressions, reach, mentions, and follower growth to measure how many people are being exposed to your content.
If your goal is to boost engagement, measure metrics like shares, comments, and clicks to track how many people are interacting with your posts.
If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, then track URL shares, clicks, and conversions.
The impact your social media strategy has on your business isn’t invisible. Take control of your work, assess what’s effective and what isn’t, and showcase your success by measuring and reporting your social media metrics. Who knows—you could end up influencing your overall business objectives.
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