19 Social Media Metrics That Actually Issues – And How To Observe Them

What are social media metrics? And why is it important to pursue them?

As a social media professional, this is your chance Show the value of your workand the impact of the choices you make.

If your boss asks you to talk about data, take the opportunity to be a pro and go beyond the shallow "vanity" metrics – likes, shares, and retweets. Instead, focus on the data that matters – the numbers that prove your efforts have had a positive impact on the business.

Having the right data assures executives that their social media investment is paying off. This will also help you make smarter, more data-driven decisions going forward.

This article identifies the social media metrics that really matter, why they matter, and how to track them.

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Bonus: Get a Free Social Media Report Template to easily and effectively present your social media performance to important stakeholders.

The top social media metrics for marketers

The social funnel: a breakdown

Before we dive into social media metrics, let's review where each metric is in the social funnel.

For the purposes of this article, we'll break the funnel down into four key customer journey phases:

  • awareness: These metrics shed light on your current and potential audience.
  • engagement: These metrics show how the audiences interact with your content.
  • conversion: These key figures show the effectiveness of your social commitment.
  • consumer: These metrics reflect how active customers think and think about your brand.

At each stage there are a number of metrics that you need to measure. These KPIs provide information about the effectiveness of your social media marketing.

Let's dive in.

Consciousness metrics

These numbers illuminate your current and potential audience.

1. Brand awareness

Brand awareness is the attention your brand receives – across all social media – during a reporting period or a specific period that provides statistically relevant data.

Attention can be expressed through a variety of social media metrics, including @mentions, shares, links, and impressions. The reporting periods are also variable and usually last a week, a month or a quarter.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Determine the attention metric (s) your company wants to tie to brand awareness.
STEP 2: Determine the reporting period that your company would like to tie to brand awareness.
STEP 3: Be consistent. Consistency ensures that you are comparing trends with accurate, reliable data.

Note: A brand monitoring tool makes it easy to track every time someone mentions you on social media, with or without @mention.

2. Audience growth rate

Audience growth rate measures the speed at which your brand is tracking on social media. That's how fast you get followers.

As access to the internet continues to grow around the world, brands' social media followers will also increase.

But the question you should be asking is not, "How many net new followers did we get last month?" Instead, ask, "How quickly did we gain new followers in the last month – and was it faster than our competition?"

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Measure your new net followers (on each platform) over a reporting period.
STEP 2: Divide your new net followers by your total audience (on any platform) and multiply them by 100 to find the percentage growth rate of your target audience.

Note: You can follow your competitors' progress in the same way.

3. Post reach

Post reach How many people have seen a post since it went live.

This metric is easy to find and even easier to understand. Most importantly, it's actionable as it will be influenced by the timing (i.e. when is your audience online?) And the content (i.e. what does your audience find valuable?) Of your post.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Measure the reach of a post.
STEP 2: Divide reach by your total number of followers and multiply that by 100 to get the percentage of your post reach.

Graphic with formula to track the reach of social media posts

Note: On Facebook, the "When your fans are online" feature tells you the best time to post. Use this data to increase your reach.

Screenshot of a Facebook analytics dashboard showing the best times to post based on when the majority of Hootsuite followers are online

4. Possible range

Possible range measures the number of people who could realistically see a post during a reporting period.

In other words, if one of your followers shared your post with their network, roughly 2% to 5% of their followers would consider the potential reach of the post.

Understanding this metric is important because, as a social marketer, you should always be working on growing your audience. Knowing your potential reach is a great way to measure your progress.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Use a brand monitoring tool to keep track of your total brand names.
STEP 2: Make a note of how many followers saw each mention (i.e. the audience of the account that mentioned you).
STEP 3: Multiply these two numbers to get your theoretical reach, or the absolute maximum number of people who could theoretically see your brand names.

Their potential range is 2% to 5% of your theoretical range.

Graphic shows how to track

5. Social share of the vote (SSoV)

Social part of the voice measures how many people mention your brand on social media compared to your competitors.

Mentions can be either:

  1. Directly (e.g. "@Hootsuite")
  2. Indirectly (e.g. "Hootsuite")

SSoV is essentially a competitive analysis: How visible – and therefore relevant – is your brand in the market?

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Measure every mention your brand receives, directly and indirectly, on your social networks.
STEP 2: Measure your competitors' mentions over the same reporting period.
STEP 3: Add your and your competitors' mentions to get the total industry mentions.
STEP 4: Divide your brand names by the total and multiply by 100 to get your SSoV percentage.

Graphic with formula for calculating the social share of votes

Note: Using social media analytics tools makes this process easier.

Engagement metrics

These numbers show how people interact with your content.

6. Rate of applause

Applause rate is the number of approval actions (e.g. likes, favorites) that a post receives in relation to your total number of followers.

When a follower likes or favors one of your posts, they acknowledge that it is valuable to them. If you know what percentage of your target audience finds value in the things you publish, you can and should inform your content in the future.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Add up the total approval actions a post received over a reporting period.
STEP 2: Divide this number by your total number of followers and multiply by 100 to get the percentage of your applause rate.

Graphic with the formula to be followed

Note: Use a social media impact tool to track approval actions and simplify the process.

7. Average engagement rate

Average engagement rate is the number of engagement actions (e.g. likes, shares, comments) that a post receives in relation to your total number of followers.

This is an important metric because higher engagement means your content will resonate with audiences. To prove this, track the engagement rate of each post. If you have a high engagement rate, the actual number of likes, shares, and comments is irrelevant.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Add the total number of likes, comments and approvals on a post.
STEP 2: Divide by your total followers and multiply by 100 to get your average engagement percentage.

Graphic with formula to track average engagement rate on social media

Note: The benchmark for this metric is different on each platform.

For example, Facebook and Twitter typically have lower engagement rates (e.g., 0.5% to 1%). Instagram, on the other hand, is known for its relatively high engagement rates (e.g. 3% to 6%).

8. Boost rate

Amplification rate is the ratio of shares per post to the number of total followers.

The reinforcement was coined by Avinash Kaushik, writer and evangelist for digital marketing at Google, and is "the rate at which your followers take in your content and share it on their networks".

Basically, the higher your recruitment rate, the more likely your followers are ready to connect with your brand.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Add the number of times a post was shared (e.g. retweeted, re-pinned, reprogrammed) during a reporting period.
STEP 2: Divide this number by your total number of followers and multiply by 100 to get the percentage of your recruitment rate.

Graphic shows how to track

9. Virality rate

Virality rate is the number of people who shared your post relative to the number of unique views (i.e. impressions) it had during a reporting period.

As with the other metrics on this list, the virality rate goes below the surface. It's about more than just likes.

"A post with 17,000 likes may only get 0.1% virality," writes Nicolas Gremion, "while another post with 10,000 likes gets 9.97% virality – and that's a far better post."

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Measure the impressions of a post.
STEP 2: Measure the proportions of a post.
STEP 3: Divide the number of shares by the number of impressions and then multiply by 100 to get the percentage of your virality rate.

Formula for measuring

Conversion metrics

These figures prove the effectiveness of your social commitment.

10. Conversion rate

Exchange rate is the number of visitors who take action on a page after clicking a link in your post (e.g. subscribing to your newsletter, downloading a gated content asset, registering for a webinar) in order to calculate the total number of visitors to this Page to determine.

A high conversion rate means that your content is valuable and compelling for the target audience. From a social media perspective, this is a sign that your post was relevant to the offer. In other words, it kept its promise.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Create a post with a call-to-action link. Use a URL shortener to make it trackable.
STEP 2: Place a "cookie" on the user's computer. This will attach the lead to a campaign.
STEP 3: Use the campaign reports to track the total number of clicks and conversions generated by the post.
STEP 4: Divide conversions by the total number of clicks and multiply by 100 to get the percentage of your conversion rate.

Formula for tracking conversion rate on social media

Note: The conversion rate of a post can be high even with low traffic. The two metrics are mutually exclusive.

11. Click through rate (CTR)

Click rate, or CTR, is the number of times people click the call-to-action link in your post.

Not to be confused with other engagement campaigns (e.g. releases, likes, comments). Your click rate is specifically tied to a link that leads the audience to additional content.

If you track the click-through rate frequently and closely, you will gain an invaluable insight into how convincing your offer is for the target group.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Measure the total number of clicks on a post's link.
STEP 2: Measure the overall impressions in this post.
STEP 3: Divide the number of clicks by the number of impressions and multiply by 100 to get your CTR percentage.

Track Formula

Note: Don't forget to measure clicks and impressions over the same reporting period.

12. Bounce rate

Bounce rateis the percentage of page visitors who click a link in your post to quickly leave the page they landed on without taking any action.

The bounce rate allows you to measure your social media traffic – and thus also the ROI – using other traffic sources (e.g. traffic from a Facebook post compared to traffic from an organic Google search).

If your social media bounce rate is lower than other sources, it is proof that your social media campaigns are targeting the right audience – and getting high quality traffic.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Set up Google Analytics.
STEP 2: Open the "Acquisition" tab and look for the "Channels" segment under "All accesses".

Tracking social media metrics in Google Analytics

STEP 3: Click the Bounce Rate button to sort all channels from lowest to highest bounce rate.

Social media metrics in Google Analytics

Note: Demonstrating the relative effectiveness of your social media efforts goes a long way in proving its value to the company.

13. Cost per click (CPC)

Cost per clickor CPC is the amount you pay per single click on your sponsored social media post.

Whether you advertise on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Linkedin, don't focus on your overall spending. Instead, contact your CPC. It will help you weigh whether your investment in attention is efficient or wasteful.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Check your platform's ad manager.
STEP 2: Check it out often.

Formula for measuring cost-per-click (CPC) on social media

Note: Never leave your CPC campaigns unattended for long periods of time.

14.Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)

Cost per thousand impressionsor CPM is the amount you pay every time a thousand people roll by your sponsored social media post.

Unlike a CPC campaign, a CPM post doesn't necessarily lead to actions. Only impressions and views are created. Therefore, CPM is a faster and cheaper way to break down test content.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Check your platform's ad manager.
STEP 2: Check it out often.

Formula for calculation

Note: Never leave your CPM campaigns unattended for long periods of time.

15. Social media conversion rate

Social media conversion rate is the total number of social media conversions expressed as a percentage.

Understanding this metric will give you a clear view of the effectiveness of each post in a campaign. In other words, it answers this question: How well is this offering being received by our target audience?

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Create a link in the post with a shortened URL that will place a "cookie" on the user's computer.
STEP 2: Measure your total number of conversions.
STEP 3: Divide social media conversions by the total number of conversions and multiply by 100 to get the percentage of your social media conversion rate.

Made-to-measure formula

16. Talk rate

Conversation rate is the ratio of comments per post to the number of followers you have in total.

It's another metric coined by Avinash Kaushik – and it's better than tracking comments out of context. After all, getting an average of 20 comments per post is way more impressive when you only have 200 followers.

By tracking your conversation rate, you can better understand how much of your target audience is forced to add their voice to the content you post on social networks. Or as Kaushik puts it: "Is what you say interesting enough to spark the most social of all things: a conversation?"

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Use a tool like Hootsuite Analytics to see the number of comments you received during a reporting period.
STEP 2: Divide this number by your total number of followers and multiply by 100 to get the percentage of the conversation rate.

Formula for calculation

Customer metrics

These numbers indicate how your active customers think and think about your brand.

17. Customer references

Customer recommendation are customer ratings, ratings, comments, recommendations, or interviews related to a brand.

Ultimately, great testimonials are the product of customer pleasure. If your brand makes people happy, they are more likely to share their good experiences with others.

The benefits are obvious: A consistent stream of sincere testimonials on social media builds trust and credibility while strengthening your brand's presence.

Would you like further customer references?

  • Ask your best customers to leave a review. Of course, never offer to compensate them for their efforts as it would undermine your credibility.
  • Run a social media campaign that encourages people to create written, video, or online testimonials about your product, service, or mission.
  • Link your Google My Business review form to make leaving testimonials for your brand evangelists a simple and seamless process.

Bonus: Get a Free Social Media Report Template to easily and effectively present your social media performance to important stakeholders.

18. CSat-Score (Customer Satisfaction)

Customer satisfactionCSAT is a metric that measures how satisfied people are with your product or service.

Usually the CSAT score is the product of a simple question: How would you describe your overall satisfaction with this product?

Customers are then asked to rate their satisfaction on a linear scale, either numerically (e.g., one to ten) or sentimental (e.g., bad, fair, good, great, excellent).

CSAT has become a near ubiquitous way to understand how customers rate your brand, largely because it's clear, concise, and easy to manage, especially on social media.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Create a CSAT survey on social media.
STEP 2: Add the sum of all points.
STEP 3: Divide the total by the number of respondents and multiply by 10 to get your CSAT score.

Formula for calculation

19. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Scoreor NPS is a metric that measures customer loyalty.

In contrast to CSAT, NPS can predict future customer loyalty well, since it is the product of one – and only one – specifically formulated question: How likely is it that you would recommend our (company / product / service) to a friend?

Customers are then asked to answer on a scale from 0 to 10. Based on their answer, each customer is classified into one of three categories:

  • Critics: 0 – 6 point range
  • Passive: 7 – 8 point range
  • Organizer: 9-10 points range

NPS is unique in that it measures customer satisfaction as well as future sales. This has made it a valuable metric for businesses of all sizes.

How to Track It:

STEP 1: Create an NPS survey on social media.
STEP 2: Subtract the number of promoters from the number of critics.
STEP 3: Divide this number by the total number of respondents and multiply by 100 to get your NPS.

Formula for calculation

"Yes, absolutely," you say. "I'd like to talk about dates."

Whether you meet with your boss once a month or once a day, your conversations about data will be more substantive and impactful when you highlight social media metrics that show the impact your efforts have on the bottom line.

So dig deeper and go beyond the easily accessible vanity metrics that literally anyone can report. Showcase your skills by presenting social media analytics that tell a story, a narrative that is inherently valuable to your business.

You will work harder, but you will also get more of it than was worth your effort.

Social media metrics reporting tools

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