Today we want to talk about an essential digital marketing topic: the importance of social media metrics. Have you wondered how many social media metrics exist to this day?
Try to take a guess. Would it surprise you that there are a couple hundred, if not over a thousand, measurable metrics today, and the number is still growing as we are introduced to new platforms and features?
It becomes impossible to list them all. However, it is essential to understand why they play such a significant role in social media marketing. With that in mind, we will explain the most useful social media metrics that will help you keep track of your social media marketing efforts accurately.
Social Media Measurable Metrics
Whatever social media marketing guide you start reading will cover critical social media metrics. Probably the most common form of interaction on social media, likes show user appreciation or approval of a specific post.
They exist on virtually all social media platforms. It is essential to understand that while likes impact your brand's overall image; they do not always accurately measure the effectiveness of your post. People will click a like button for various reasons, like a habit or social pressure.
Alt: A 3D illustration of a Facebook “like” icon.
Caption: Likes are one of the basic metrics of social media marketing.
Comments are a much more valuable metric than likes. While leaving a like requires a simple click, a comment requires an effort. They are very valuable because comments measure user feedback and allow discussions and conversations. That is the best way to understand how users react to your content and how to improve your content strategy.
An even more critical metric than comments, shares require more engagement. When a user shares your content on their social media profile, that tells you that it left a significant impact on them, and they are willing to promote your content to a broader audience.
Shares help with exposure, and they also help you to improve your content strategy. If you notice that a particular piece of content is getting shared more than the rest, that is a clear sign of what type of content you should be creating.
This metric represents the number of times your brand's name is mentioned in a post or a comment or the number of times it was tagged. Mentions are crucial for brand awareness and brand promotion, and online reputation.
Another reason why marketing managers love mentions is that it allows them to create partnerships with other companies. As a marketing manager, you can spark a conversation on another brand's post and mention or tag their brand. They will do the same for your business.
Remember that this strategy, while efficient, might also show inaccurate numbers of mentions. The goal is to know if users mention your business and how often. Be mindful of that.
You can use views to measure how many times a piece of content has been seen. When it comes to video views, usually, the user must see a portion of a video for it to count as a view. The length of that portion depends from platform to platform.
Views are important because they measure how engaged users are. In simple terms, if users are watching your videos long enough to count as views, that means they are interested in the content.
Alt: An illustration of a video posted on social media.
Caption: Views are essential if you want to understand if your users are connecting with the content you are posting.
Impressions are similar to views, but they are two different metrics. Just like views, impressions show how often someone watches a piece of content.
However, while for views, a user must watch a defined portion of the video for it to count as a view, for impressions, every time the content is shown to the user counts. The impressions will tell you how often your content was displayed, but they will not tell you whether the user engaged with it.
As the name suggests, clicks measure how many times someone has clicked on a piece of content on social media. The growing number of clicks indicates that the overall first look (an image, a headline, etc.) is attractive enough to make the users click on it.
This is an excellent way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaign, at least to some extent. You would have to cross-reference clicks with metrics like the bounce rate or the conversion rate to get the whole picture.
Number of followers
We all know that the more followers you have on social media, the better. Growing your channel this way is one of the essential parts of a social media campaign.
It tells you how many people relate to your content and the entire account. These people want to see more of what you are offering. It would help if you treated all of the followers as potential leads for your business.
Alt: An illustration of a “follow us” banner for Facebook.
Caption: A good way to increase your follower base is to openly ask people to follow you on social media.
If you are creating a social media marketing strategy for a small business, this metric will benefit you. It tells you how many unique users have seen your content. For example, if one subscriber on YouTube watched your video 50 times, that would still count as one user regarding the reach metric. We have to mention a similarity with impressions here.
Impressions also measure the number of times someone sees your content, but they do not count for the number of unique users. Make sure to understand the difference between the two.
All of the metrics we covered so far help you to understand how users interact with your content on social media. Together, they contribute to the engagement rate of your posts. The idea is to take the total number of followers and impressions and compare them with the number of views, clicks, shares, mentions, comments, and so on.
You want to measure how engaged your customers really are. A high number of followers and impressions will not bring value to your business if the users are not actively engaging with the content you post on social media.
Engagement by content type
If you want to learn more about how much your posts are engaging, you can split them into different groups. For example, you can independently measure the engagement of video posts, social media ads, blog posts, and so on.
This is a valuable metric if you want to take an in-depth view of different aspects of your social media content. Different types of content require a different approach. Understanding the overall engagement rate of your content is essential. However, this unique metric will help you to improve each type of content individually.
Hashtags are very useful because they help you to categorize your content into different groups and help the users find it more easily. If a user searches for a specific hashtag, they will see a list of content that relates to it.
Alt: An illustration of a person sitting on a hashtag sign.
Caption: Research hashtags to understand which content categories perform the best.
You can measure the efficiency of a hashtag in the same way you can measure the performance of your content:
Hashtag mentions: A number of times a hashtag was attached to a social media post
Hashtag reach: A unique number of users who have seen content with that hashtag
Hashtag engagement: The metric that measures the level of engagement of the content that uses the hashtag
These are just some of many examples of how you can measure the performance of hashtags and determine whether they are good for your social media posts or not.
CTR, or Click-through-rate, is a perfect example that shows how one metric does not mean much without the other. Let's say you have a YouTube video that has 1000 impressions. That is an impressive number. However, when you look at the number of clicks, you see there are only 10. In this scenario, your CTR for that video is just 1%.
This metric tells you that your video is not as effective as it may seem from just looking at the number of impressions. The formula for calculating the CTR percentage is:
the number of clicks / the number of impressions * 100
CTR is extremely important because it helps you to understand if your marketing campaign is actually driving relevant traffic to your website. The higher the CTR, the better. If you notice that the percentage of Click-through-rate is lower, you need to make a change in your content to make it more efficient.
In business, it is all about conversions. The more users convert into paying customers, the better. When it comes to social media, a conversion could mean a lot of things.
For example, it can tell you how many users have downloaded a piece of content, clicked on a CTA button in your post, or filled out a form on your website after clicking on a social media post. To get the percentage of the conversion rate, use the formula below:
the number of users that took a desired action / the number of users who interacted with the content
Per Convert More, this is arguably one of the best metrics to measure the performance of your content. It is definitely a key metric to keep track of.
Alt: An illustration of a conversion funnel.
Caption: You should monitor your conversion rate of social media posts because it will directly affect the sales of your business.
Average time spent on a post
It is important to know how much time each user spends watching your content. You want to know if the content is relevant to them or not. The longer time indicates that the users found value in your posts, while a shorter time means your content is not what they were looking for.
There is a lot of opportunity for improvement based just on this metric. First, take a look at your content and see if it is engaging enough and if it offers relevant information. Maybe you have to improve it in some way. And second, maybe the content is not well-optimized, so it does not come up for relevant users.
Using metrics to measure the spending on social media advertising
There are a couple of different social media metrics that will help you to better analyze your spending on marketing campaigns. Here are a couple of the most important ones.
You will get the CPC percentage if you divide the total cost of your marketing efforts by the number of clicks generated from your social media content. This metric measures the total value of your marketing campaign and the efficiency of your content, and you should use it if you want to optimize your marketing campaign to improve the performance of your ads.
In the same manner, you can calculate the CPI by dividing the total cost of your marketing campaign by the total number of impressions generated by it. The purpose of this metric is to show you how visible your entire marketing campaign is. As a marketing manager, you can use the CPI metric to optimize your campaign for more visibility.
Whenever someone makes a desired action through your ads and social media posts, they add up to your conversion rate. If you divide the total cost of your marketing campaign by the number of people that took action, you will find out how much it costs you to get one customer. The lower the CPA, the better.
Understanding CPC, CPI, and CPA is crucial because these metrics help you know exactly how much money you spend on different marketing campaign elements. It all leads to calculating the ROI or the return on investment. If you discover that the profit is lower than your spending, you need to adjust how much you spend.
Alt: An illustration of a growing profit graph.
Caption: The ROI metric will help you to balance your spending on social media marketing efforts.
As a simple calculation, if you spent $1000 on a campaign that generated $1500, you would see that your ROI is 50%. The formula goes like this:
(Revenue - Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment) x 100
Keep in mind that many different costs affect your business. You should be aware of all those costs to get an accurate ROI. This metric will allow you to balance your spending to generate more profit for your business.
Follower growth rate
Besides acquiring new followers on your social media accounts, it is also important to measure the rate at which you acquire them. For example, gaining 100 followers within a week is very much different from gaining the same number of followers within a month or a year. You can use this metric to understand how engaging and relevant your social media profile really is.
Community growth rate
When we look at the importance of social media metrics, we want to know how impactful our marketing efforts are, not just on individuals but on the entire community. As a growing brand, your goal is to create a community of loyal customers.
When it comes to social media engagement, you also want to build a community of followers who will always follow your business, no matter your social media platform. Marketing managers that run multiple social media platforms or multiple accounts often struggle with understanding how many people there are in the entire community.
Alt: An illustration of people figures connected with lines.
Caption: To improve your marketing efforts on social media, you should work on growing your online user community.
Just like you can measure the growth of your follower base on a single social media platform, that is how you can measure the growth of your entire online community on all social media platforms you use. If you are a growing brand, you want to focus on all sources, not just on a single one.
Content amplification rate
Another way to measure the success of your social media content is to determine the content amplification rate. As an example, let's say that you have an article on your website blog, and it generated 2000 views within a month.
However, once you shared it on social media accounts, it generated 4000 views. Let's apply a formula to calculate the amplification rate of this post:
((4000 views on social media/2000 blog views)-1)x100=100%
This formula tells you that your post performed 100% better when shared on social media. This is a very efficient tool you can use to measure different amplification rates and try to figure out which one has more engagement. That will tell you what types of posts perform better. Use that information to optimize your social media content strategy to achieve more success.
Influencers are a crucial part of social media marketing. They can help brands grow quickly, and they can also help with acquiring new leads.
If you ever want to work with an influencer as part of your social media campaign, knowing how to recognize a good partnership when you see it is crucial. You want someone proficient in creating engaging social media posts and also someone who can quickly spread the content. If they can produce interesting material, they will substantially help your business.
Measuring the influencer score is an excellent way to determine whether an influencer is a good fit for your campaign.
This metric depends on various other metrics we have already covered, like clicks, shares, likes, reach, etc. You want to understand an influencer's efficiency before you start working with them.
Just like these metrics can help you to improve your marketing campaign, you can also use them to measure the success of other marketing managers. Consider this because it is helpful to know, especially if you want to analyze your competitors and their efforts.
In technical terms, bounce rate is a website metric that shows you how quickly a user leaves your website or a page after landing on it. A high bounce rate usually indicates that the user did not get what they expected, so they decided to leave. That could happen if the URL leading to your page was misleading or if it had a poor description.
Alt: An illustration of a person jumping over a metrics graph.
Caption: Low bounce rate indicates that your content is perfectly aligned with your website.
In terms of social media marketing, you can measure the bounce rate for every visit to your website that happens through a social media post. This way, you will understand if your social media strategy is aligned with your website. It is essential to be consistent and give your clients exactly what the social media post is advertising.
The importance of social media metrics - explained!
To truly understand the importance of social media metrics, you have to look at each of them individually first.
Each metric has a specific benefit for your business, but some of them also rely on other metrics, as we have seen in a couple of examples in the article. Social media metrics that we mentioned are the most common and the most important ones on our list. However, there are many more.
As a marketing manager, your job is to figure out which of these metrics are the most relevant for your business. Keeping track of these many metrics requires a lot of time and a team of social media experts.
If you have a limited number of people at your disposal, or if you are working alone, you will have to prioritize. Do not waste your time tracking metrics that will not help you to immediately understand how to improve your marketing campaign.
Even though the metrics will greatly depend on your business and your marketing goals, these 10 are our picks for the most important metrics that should always help your business:
- Conversion rate
- Engagement rate
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Cost per click (CPC)
- Follower growth rate
- Cost per acquisition (CPA)
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Bounce rate
- Hashtag performance
It is crucial to understand the importance of social media metrics from this list. If you do, you will quickly understand how to optimize your social media marketing campaign to achieve the best results in the long run while saving money and using your time efficiently.