As the inevitable shift from grassroots high-street commerce moves ever more into the virtual space, measuring an online business’s functionality, performance and effectiveness becomes a vital part of modern business strategy. Where word of mouth and footfall counting were the primary metrics employed by the merchants and traders in antiquity, a whole new set of measuring tools has necessarily evolved to complement the needs of the modern virtual business. This is where essential social media marketing metrics come to the fore.
What Are Social Media Marketing Metrics, and Why Do They Matter?
The fragmented nature of the internet has introduced new levels of complexity to how merchants and customers find each other and interact. As brands compete for traffic and sales, their respective social media campaigns grow larger in size and budget to remain well positioned and competitive. The foundation of any successful marketing campaign is having the right set of marketing metrics tailored exclusively to the needs and goals of a brand, product or service. Metrics are analytical tools that measure the individual components of an online business strategy. They are invaluable strands of data that, if well calibrated, give business owners a comprehensive 360º view of their brand’s performance and engagement across social media platforms.
Analysing social media marketing metrics can help you with:
- Assessing whether your marketing campaigns are working.
- Improving your content by knowing what brings the best results.
- Establishing which social media platforms work best for your business.
- Understanding the online times of your target audience (and consequently knowing when it’s best to schedule posts).
- Strengthening your knowledge about how to strategise your social media campaigns.
- Monitoring your competitors and adjusting your marketing campaigns accordingly.
Where To Find Social Media Metrics
You can easily check social media metrics on different social media platforms. The following table gives information about accessing metrics on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
|How To Access Insights
|Look for the menu bar across the top of the profile page. Go to the Insights tab and click on it.
|A minimum of 100 people’s data is required before demographic data becomes available. The Page Insights metric only reaches as far back as 2 years.
|Access to insights is only available on the phone app. In the upper-right corner, click on the menu icon and select Insights.
|To access Insights, you’ll need a business profile. A personal profile won’t work. You can easily convert from a personal to a business profile.
|Access it via Tweet Activity Dashboard after logging into your account.
|Clicking on any individual tweet opens up the metrics section for a clear overview of performance. You can see your audience’s engagement in real time and weigh up activity between different tweets.
|Go to the admin centre and sign in. Go to the menu and click the Analytics tab. From the drop-down menu, select Updates, Followers or Visitors.
|You need to be a page admin or someone with “analyst” access to view Page Analytics. Click Show Stats in the bottom right of a post to see its metrics. Profile analytics can also be tracked.
Pulling metrics from different social media platforms can be time-consuming, so, depending on your needs and budget, you might wish to consider using social media analytics tools such as Sprout Social, HubSpot, Hootsuite and Zoho Social. One of the most comprehensive free analytics software tools available is Google Analytics. It might look intimidating at first, but it is actually rather easy to use. Google also provides free courses through which you can familiarise yourself with this tool.
Now, let’s take a look at 10 essential social media marketing metrics your business should track.
Reach, put simply, refers to how many eyes have seen your brand and its associative content. Strong, broad-scale brand awareness is indicative of solid reach, so the results of reach are more evident and immediate than other, more nuance-focused metrics.
Reach shows the number of unique views of your post. In practice, this is usually your follower count plus the counts of accounts that shared or engaged with your post.
Impressions count the number of times a video was viewed. This is not the same as reach, which measures each unique viewer.
Let’s say one of your audience members views your video once. Reach counts that as one unique viewer. If the same person really likes the video and watches it 19 more times, reach will still count that as one unique viewer, but impressions will count that as 20 views (or impressions).
Follower growth gives you a good indication of the increasing visibility of your business. Although your number of followers is important, you should also pay attention to how engaged your followers are. Having lots of followers is encouraging, but if they are not engaged, inertia sets in, and growth becomes a bit of an uphill slog. Keep in mind that not all followers are equal, and followers that are bots or empty spam accounts can actually be harmful to your brand.
With a campaign spread across multiple platforms, the disparity between followers on different social media platforms is a given. A targeted focus on platforms that are not drawing in as many followers would be a pretty sound course of action, but bear in mind that the nature of the brand will generally favour certain types of platforms over others. For example, if you have a gaming channel, it will likely garner many more followers on YouTube than on LinkedIn. In such a case, it would be beneficial to consolidate power and double down on your YouTube channel.
Likes and Comments
Likes and comments can help you understand which topics and types of posts perform best with your audience. Comments generally carry more weight, as they require more active effort from your audience. To gain more likes and comments, consider using images and videos in addition to simple text in your posts.
Likes and comments are often referred to as vanity metrics. Although having lots of likes and positive comments does wonders for the ego, they don’t offer too much strategic significance. In fact, too many likes can lead to complacency, a sense that you can get to the goal by standing where you are. It’s worth remembering that likes and engagement are not quite of equal value.
Shares count every time your audience shares your content. They indicate that your audience is not just engaged with your content but also promotes it to their networks. To gain more shares, consider using promotions and competitions and sharing high-quality content that includes videos and images. Such content gets people talking, tagging, retweeting, pinning and effectively spreading your business’s message on your behalf.
Clicks tell you how many people clicked on the link in the post to find out more. Sometimes, posts generate few likes and comments but have a high rate of clicks, so it is important to track all of them to correctly assess which content appeals to your audience. A high number of clicks is an encouraging sign that your social media campaign is working, as it shows that your content persuaded your audience to follow the path from your social media page to your website landing page.
When a person clicks on a link posted on a social media page that leads them to a website, this is tracked as a referral. Referral traffic from social media is a massive part of a brand’s success. Knowing how many people have travelled over from Facebook and other social media platforms to your landing page is a helpful way of gauging engagement.
What is particularly satisfying about getting prospective clients to your website is that you know their actions demonstrate a heightened level of interest. Now, a more immersive and intimate form of marketing can take place. Away from the noise of the public square, a more bespoke experience can be tailored for curious visitors.
Conversions represent the number of users that take the desired action after clicking on a link in your social media post. This could mean a direct sale, download, registration or subscription. For example, if your website offers products for sale, free manuals to download, a subscription to your newsletter and registration for your affiliate programme, each of these actions counts as a conversion and can be prompted by different kinds of social media content. Locking in a prospective client comes in various forms. Either way, a commitment of sorts has been made.
Video View Count
Your video view count is the number of people who have viewed your video. Social media platforms have different criteria for measuring video view counts:
- YouTube: Your video is watched for 30 seconds, and the person who views it clicks the play button to start the video.
- Instagram: Your video is watched for 3 seconds.
- Facebook: Your video is watched for 3 seconds.
- Twitter: Your video is watched for 2 seconds with at least 50% of the video player on the screen.
- LinkedIn: Your video is watched for 2 seconds with at least 50% of the video player on the screen.
Video Completion Rate
Most video-viewing platforms also offer a video completion rate metric, which shows how many people watched your entire video. Given the short attention span of today’s audiences, having a high video completion rate suggests that you are creating engaging and high-quality content that appeals to your audience.
Nowadays, it is vital that business owners understand the delicate synergy between the nature of a brand or service and the metrics selected for it. The right set of metrics will allow for a more efficient, tightly knit and lucrative campaign. In contrast, the wrong set of metrics will steer traffic in the wrong direction by placing too much emphasis on irrelevances and too little on areas that are fertile with untapped potential.
Consider using metrics like impressions, reach and follower growth to measure how much presence your brand commands in the open market. Track metrics like clicks, likes and comments to find out how many people are interacting with your posts. If you want to pull traffic to your site, monitor referrals and conversions. There are, of course, many other social media marketing metrics that you could track. Metrics also contain sub-metrics of their own, offering a more surgical deep dive into specifics that serve to refine and enhance any brand or product campaign.
As social media alchemists, the Altlier team can help your business generate fantastic, eye-catching copy with our outstanding copywriting services. We have won the award for the best social media marketing agency in the UK. To find out more, check out our services page or get in touch. If you wish to learn more about our process and strategies, visit our FAQ page.