Key Metrics for Social Media success

Karen Japajapa - Senior Social Media Executive,

There’s an endless list of social media metrics your brand could be tracking. In the ever-evolving world of social media, metrics dip in and out of focus as landscapes change and in some cases new metrics join the scene.

While ultimately there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to tracking success, this brief guide offers insight into some of the key metrics for tracking success for your brand. It’s worth noting that key metrics for success will differ brand to brand and campaign to campaign. You should identify your overall objectives and select the most relevant metrics under those to help in measuring success.

Engagement Metrics

Engagement metrics offer insight into how engaged an audience is with your content. If your social media objectives are to engage your audience, engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares will be key in determining how effective your output has been.

It’s important to identify the nuances between each platform. For example, across Instagram there is often a correlation between post likes and page followers - If a post performs well across the platform, we’d expect to see an uplift in page followers. However, the same does not apply for a platform like TikTok. Content on TikTok may perform well in relation to likes, views and comments but will not influence account followers greatly due to the way the platform is used. The TikTok algorithm is great at finding content that users will like based on past behavior. This lowers the need for users to actively follow specific accounts or content creators as they will continue to be delivered similar content via the “For You Page”. This is illustrated in the disproportionate content likes to page follow ratio commonly seen on the platform.

Ensuring you have a good understanding of how different metrics work on different platforms will be key to the success of  your social media strategy.

Focus metric: Engagement rate

A page’s engagement rate measures the volume of interaction verses the size of the audience interacting with the account. This metric provides an insight into average engagement across all content, instead of results being swayed by one-off strong or poorer performers. 

A higher engagement rate typically indicates that the audience is interested in the output, while a lower engagement rate may highlight a disconnect between content themes and interest from the audience.

Tracking engagement rate fortnightly or monthly is a good way to test and identify factors that may need improvement, such as content types, format, posting time and frequency - all of which can affect overall performance.

Organic engagement continues to dwindle, with platform averages decreasing over the past few years. As a benchmark, these are the following platform averages for engagement rate on organic content:

  • Facebook: 1%
  • Twitter: 0.5%
  • Instagram: 1-5%
  • LinkedIn: 2%

We  always recommend tracking engagement rate per platform in monthly reporting as a minimum.

Reach and Impressions

Reach and impressions are terms commonly used interchangeably however both differ from each other and offer different insights.

Both impressions and reach are good metrics for evaluating brand awareness across social.

Focus metric: Reach

Reach measures the total number of people who have viewed your content, while impressions highlight the total number of times the content has been displayed, which may include repeat views from one individual.

As the overall reach on an account, post or campaign increases, it’s an indicating factor of increased awareness. However, reach is most useful when tracked alongside the engagement metrics referred to above.

Focus metric: Impressions

Impressions illustrate the visibility of your content across social, so increases in impressions indicate that the output has been optimised well for the intended platform. Alongside impressions, more so for paid activity, we always recommend reviewing against frequency to ensure individuals aren’t being bombarded with the same content.

While a page’s reach and impressions are important, it’s also essential to consider the number of engaged followers and fans on the page to encourage organic sharing and reach amplification. Boosting the number of engaged followers requires a focus on creating shareable content within the target audience and platform.

Reach and impressions can sometimes be an afterthought for measuring success, as common goals for many social media campaigns centre around increasing engagement. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that engagement is a byproduct of awareness - you can’t have one without the other.

Conversions

Conversion metrics refer to interactions on social media that a user converts from. These can include things like purchases, sign-ups or downloads.

Conversions are usually the ultimate measure of success, as you can identify a clear return on investment from your social media activity. However, for social media it’s important not to discredit initial awareness activity. Top of the funnel awareness activity plays a key part in a long term user journeys, moving future customers down the marketing funnel as a brand builds a relationship with them.

Focus metric: Click through rate (CTR)

For any conversion activity generated from a brand’s website, the first step is driving traffic. Click through rate is the best metric for measuring this type of action, measuring the volume of people clicking through verses the number of people seeing the linking content.

A higher click through rate is a clear indication that the social media activity is not only capturing audience attention but more importantly is leading to a direct action.

Focus metric: Cost per click (CPC) 

Cost per click is an important metric when tracking paid activity on social. CPC does what it says on the tin and demonstrates how much each click on paid content costs. A lower cost per click indicates a better performing ad and a better return on investment.

While CPC is great for tracking performance over time, it may not be the best metric to focus on if the overall objective is sales driven. For this, cost per acquisition (CPA) would offer a more accurate summary of performance.

The metrics we’ve discussed above are some of the most commonly used, but they play a crucial role in tracking how successful your social media output or overall strategy has been over time. Platform insights offer a good overview of performance. Collating these metrics together and analysing performance to spot trends and reasons behind results will help in informing future activity. 

When tracking performance, step back and look at the bigger picture by exploring a combination of metrics, performance trends and external factors. Focusing on one metric alone will not provide the full context of performance and what works one month may not be as strong in performance the next. Keep an eye on your overall performance but make time to occasionally deep dive into your results to allow for a deeper understanding of your social media activity.

If you’re looking to turn your social media metrics into solid results, we can help. Get in touch with your ideas and we’ll get right back to you.

An image of Karen Japajapa.

THE AUTHOR

Senior Social Media Executive Karen is a true advocate of social media and the role it plays within the digital marketing environment. Her career and experience cover all areas of social media management. She currently supports her clients in building engaged communities across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. In her spare time Karen works on growing her own social media following and enjoys blogging and making TikToks.

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