9 Essential Metrics to Track Social Media Success

Social media is a busy field. Everyone is on it! But not everyone is getting what they’ve been expecting. It is true — it’s more and more difficult to achieve results on social media, namely because it’s a very crowded space, but also because many marketers don’t track what they’ve been doing and thus don’t adjust their efforts.

To me, the key to success is being able to adapt to changing circumstances. Call it flexibility.

It’s impossible to adapt if you don’t know what you need to adapt to. Tracking certain metrics will signal whether your social media efforts are paying off and if some changes are required.

Let’s have a look.

My marketing funnel has three components: awareness, engagement, and conversion. All of these stages will deal with a different type of audience and will bring different types of results. Ideally, they should facilitate the consumer journey. It’s important to analyze them and address issues (if any) to improve the results.

Why Do We Need to Measure Success?

Numbers are the universal language, especially for marketers. Every effort and activity we do has to be translated into tangible numbers. There is no way for marketers to measure the effectiveness of various campaigns unless the measurement of important metrics is in place.

Now that you have set goals for your social media marketing strategy, it’s time to think further — measure the performance. Don’t be misguided: Likes and shares aren’t the main numbers to monitor. There are more important metrics that you should rely on to assess the effectiveness and success of your social media activities.

I will introduce nine essential metrics for you to measure.

As I mentioned earlier, I will address three main stages in the marketing funnel:

  • Awareness — reflects the metrics that connect your audience (potential customers) with your brand.

  • Engagement — reflects the numbers on how your audiences interact with your content.

  • Conversion — reflects the overall performance of your content on social media. 

Awareness Metrics to Measure Success

Awareness is the first stage of my marketing funnel. My main focus at this stage is to get attention from my audience and make them aware of my product or brand.

1. Brand awareness

This is the general attention on and understanding of your brand that you get from your audience. Measuring brand awareness may be challenging, especially if you’re just starting your social media game.

My advice for startups is to create a social media posting schedule and stick to it. Try to gather some information before actually measuring it. Once you have a functioning social media space, you will be able to measure your brand awareness.

To me, one of the best indicators for measuring brand awareness is mentions of your brand name. You should aim to track the who, why, and when of mentions of your brand on social space. Sometimes, if you aren’t directly tagged in a post, it may be hard to track. I use Mention to get my daily updates on who mentioned my brand, on which platforms, and what they said. Give it a shot!

Also, you should monitor trends. This means to try and see what people are in fact searching for. A great tool for this is Google Trends.

2. Post reach

Post reach is the number of people who have seen your post since it was published. It’s an important metric as it will give you insights into your targetting — whether your target is too narrow or too broad.

If your reach seems low, try adjusting your audience settings. If you are using Instagram, try adding more diverse hashtags; if you’re using Facebook ads, try to adjust your audience settings.

You can easily calculate your post reach. Take any post, divide the number of people who have seen it by the total number of followers, and multiply by 100. For example, the number of people who’ve seen your post is 1,567 and you have 5,689 followers. This will translate into a 27.5% reach. I always try to have my content hit at least the 40% mark.

3. Audience growth

In simple terms, this metric measures how fast you’re gaining new followers during a certain period of time. You may set your own goals and develop campaigns to achieve the desired numbers.

To keep me motivated and accountable for my social media work, I measure this weekly (every Monday). I simply compare this Monday’s numbers with the stats from last Monday.

Believe me or not, but this is one of the most important metrics to me as I tend to neglect the growth in followers. Seeing how many new followers I’ve gained in seven days motivates me to do better next week.

You can calculate your growth rate by dividing the number of new followers by the number of total followers and multiplying it by 100. For example, if since last Monday, I have gotten 267 new followers, and my total number of followers now is 4,567, this means that my weekly growth rate is 5.8%.

You should set your own targets and decide how fast you want to grow.

Engagement Metrics to Measure Success

Engagement metrics are among the most interesting ones to analyze because they will give you an insight into how and with what kind of content your audience interacts with the most. This is mainly about comments, shares, likes, reposts, etc.

4. Average engagement rate

The average engagement rate is the percentage of people who interact with your content. The higher the rate, the more engaged people are with your content, which is great as it should be your main objective.

It’s calculated by taking all engagement (usually likes, shares, and comments) within a period of time, dividing it by the total number of followers, and multiplying by 100. For example, I got 356 likes/shares/comments on my content this week. I have 1,098 followers. This translates into a 32% engagement rate.

The good news about measuring the engagement rate is that LinkedIn and Facebook have it automatically calculated for you. As for Instagram, you may rely on your own calculation or use Instrack to calculate for you.

(Off-topic: I love Instrack as it is a great tool to analyze the basic information for Instagram accounts and to spy on your competitors.)

5. Instagram saves

Likes and comments are dropping on Instagram. However, there is a new hot metric that you can start relying on to measure engagement. It’s how many people saved your post.

I’ve written an article about Instagram saves and why you should start measuring them. Feel free to refer to the article.

Conversion Metrics to Measure Success

High conversion rates from social media are a dream for every marketer. However, frequently, social media does not become the platform that generates leads or helps to make sales. If it happens, and if your conversion rate from social media is high, congratulations — your social media perfectly meets your business expectations.

6. Conversion rate

Conversion rate basically measures how many leads you get from social media channels. This rate will differ from platform to platform and you should concentrate on the platforms that have higher conversion rates.

You should open your website’s Google Analytics and see how many visitors came from social media channels. Have a look at how many people from social media converted as customers (newsletter subscribers).

You should set your goal for this one. There are too many dependencies that will affect the conversion rate. Thus you should set the target that you want to achieve. The results will fluctuate.

To calculate the conversion rate, you have to divide the number of conversions within a certain period of time by the total number of clicks and multiply by 100. For example, I got 23 subscribers this week, the total number of clicks on my website from Facebook was 856. Therefore, my conversion rate from Facebook is 2.7%.

7. Click-through rate (CTR)

CTR is one of the most popular metrics used by marketers to measure the success of marketing activities. It shows how frequently people actually click on your post to get to your website. The higher CTR, the more unique, relevant, and compelling your social media posts are.

A lot has to do with the call to action in your posts. Thus, if your CTR is low, you should consider changing the call to action, adjust your audience settings, or look for ways to produce higher quality and more engaging content.

To calculate your CTR, you should divide the number of clicks by the number of impressions, and multiply by 100. For example, I got 450 clicks from 3,457 impressions. This will translate into 13% CTR (a very good result, by the way).

8. Bounce rate

Bounce rate is a great way to measure how relevant the content that you direct your social media audiences to is. It’s a percentage of people who click on a link and immediately end their journey on your website without browsing further.

A high bounce rate may indicate that your target audience is not right, that the message in your post is misleading, or that you are talking to the wrong audience.

You should cross-compare bounce rates from different channels and see if the pattern is similar. If some platforms generate very high bounce rates, while others don’t, you should really look into your audience settings or message on those platforms.

You can access your bounce rate through Google Analytics. As a general standard, a bounce rate higher than 60% needs to be addressed.

9. Cost-per-click (CPC)

In simple words, this is an amount of money that you pay for one click. This applies to paid advertising only. You won’t be able to measure it for organic posts, as there are no advertising costs involved.

If you run paid advertising, this metric should be always in your mind. It’s best to never leave it unattended as the CPC will fluctuate based on a social media channel, number of searches, number of clicks, etc.

To calculate it, you have to divide the total amount you spent on advertising by the total number of clicks. For example, last month I spent $300 on Facebook, which generated 1,500 clicks. It means that my CPC was 20 cents. Most of the ad platforms will calculate it for you, though.

Tracking Social Media Metrics Is Crucial

Tracking social media figures has never been easier, as most of the platforms offer automated calculations. All you need to do is actually pay attention to these figures and make sense of them.

Tracking and analyzing should be a big part of your social media game. By knowing how your posts perform, you will be able to better adjust your campaigns, strategize, and eventually achieve better results.

It’s also exciting to actually know how your posts compare with each other. You will be able to discover patterns and see what works and what doesn’t. In the end, you want to give only what works to your audiences so that they engage more and convert more readily.

Tweet, which metrics do you use to measure the ROI of your marketing efforts?