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There have been a lot of studies recently on the effectiveness of social media marketing, and the findings have been pretty bleak.
A post on the SparkToro blog in September of last year showed that referrals from many social platforms are on the decline.
Rival IQ’s 2019 benchmark report found that the median engagement for Facebook posts is a paltry 0.09%.
Marketing consultant Mike Sonders found that social drives an average of only 2.2% of traffic to the top 50 public SaaS companies.
And while those findings may seem discouraging on the surface, they don’t necessarily mean social media marketing is no longer worth the investment. Instead, these findings suggest that measuring how your social channels perform is more important than ever.
Maybe social isn’t worth the time and money you’re investing in it. Or maybe it’s well worth it. The only way to know for sure is to track the right metrics to identify if the returns on your social media marketing efforts justify your investment.
To find out what metrics you should be measuring, we asked 95 social media marketers to fill us in on the most important metrics they track.
These are the 24 social media metrics they say matter the most.
23 different respondents—far more than the number of votes cast for any other metric on this list—said that the most important metric to measure is engagement. Why?
Our respondents explain:
- “Tracking your engagement will help you see which posts are working and which posts are not. This will help you stay on track with posting content your users will be interested in.” (Andrew Ruditser, MAXBURST)
- “A large follower base and tons of quality posts mean nothing if they’re not actually facilitating conversions. Your engagement rate tells you if your content is actually making an impact on your audience.” (Riley Panko, Clutch)
- “People buy from brands they like and trust, and your engagement rate is a great way to check in on how your followers feel about you and your brand.” (Devyn Lamon, Imagine Media)
- “Understanding engagement can take normal customers and transform them into raving brand ambassadors. It can be the difference from a nurturing campaign falling flat or resounding with prospects and guiding them toward a buying decision. (Ryan Vet)
- “On Facebook, when your engagement rates increase, your organic reach increases, which helps you grow your page even more.” (Andrew Schutt, Schutt Media)
- “Engagement rate goes beyond vanity metrics to really highlight the reach of your content.” (Stephanie Riel, RielDeal Marketing)
“Any social media managers worth their salt are always tracking the engagement percentage of every post they put out,” says Lauren Pope of G2. “The reach or views on a post don’t matter at all if the people who see your post aren’t interacting with you.”
“I could never pick one social media metric for all industries, but a community with engaged members will benefit any business,” says IMPACT’s Stephanie Baiocchi.
What Does Engagement Entail?
“Engagement pertains to likes, comments, shares, views, etc.,” says Raj Vardhman of 99 Firms.
Sally Willis of Isoline Communications agrees: “The ideal engagement metric works on a scoring system and includes criteria such as audience reach, shares, and comments to provide a complete picture of how the message was received and what the response was.”
“Knowing how many engagements your followers actually execute on average is much more valuable than knowing how many followers or likes that you have separately,” says Quincy Smith of Ampjar.
How to Measure Engagement
“As it stands, engagement isn’t a straightforward metric that can be extracted from platforms,” Sally Willis says. “Calculating it is more of a manual process.”
Here’s how some of our respondents measure and calculate engagement for their posts:
- “We pay special attention to metrics like comment-to-impression ratio and like-to-impression ratio,” says The Slumber Yard’s Matthew Ross. “These metrics give us an idea of the percentage of people we reach that are actually engaging with our content.”
- “Take the average number of likes for your last three normal Instagram posts—don’t include promoted content as it could skew your numbers,” says Shelby Rogers of DigitalUs. “Divide that average by your total number of followers, and multiply the result by 100. That’s your engagement percentage.”
- “To calculate your account’s engagement rate, you’ll need to use the following formula: (Likes + Comments + Shares / Total Followers) x 100,” says Winestyr’s Scott Washburn. “For example, if your account has 10,000 followers and you receive a total of 200 likes, shares, and comments on a post, the engagement rate for that post is 2%.”
So what engagement rate should you target? Morgan Lathaen of thumbprint says to “aim for 3-5%.”
Editor’s note: Databox makes it easy to grab the metrics you need to calculate your engagement rate on different channels. For example, the Instagram dashboard below shows month-to-date likes and comments on your posts as well as your total number of followers.
Not on Instagram? Use one of these dashboard templates to get the same overall view of your engagement metrics on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter.
Where to Measure Engagement
Our respondents also note that you should measure engagement on every social channel you use.
“You can track engagement on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest—any channel where people can like or comment on your posts,” says Christina Albe of Haus von Albe.
“Monitoring your post engagement across all networks is extremely important,” says Yvonne Hall of HIVE Digital Strategy. “By knowing which posts have the highest engagement, you can refine your social media strategy to more effectively engage your followers and grow your follower base organically.”
“Tracking your social media engagements will give you the data needed to make informed decisions,” says Market Veep’s Emily Boisvert. “You can look into what social platform is getting the most engagement—as well as what type of content is driving that engagement—to inform your content strategy moving forward.”
“If you’re not able to engage your audience on your social media channels, it’s time to restrategize your campaigns,” Techtic Solutions’ Rajat Chauhan says.
Engagement is an Important Metric for Evaluating Influencers, Too
Shelby Rogers also says it’s particularly important to measure the engagement of any influencers you’re considering working with. “In this world of brand influencers and influencer partnerships, it’s critical to know how much influencers really connect with their audiences.”
“Engagement percentages give you exactly what the name implies—a look into just how engaged an audience is. An ideal Instagram percentage is 7-8%. The average engagement rate on the platform is between 2-3%.”
“If you’re looking to partner with influencers, look for those with rates of 8% or higher. They exist, I promise. They’ll give your business the highest rate of return.”
“Low engagement rates are also a great way to sniff out which ‘influencers’ buy fake followers to pad their numbers. By avoiding influencers who don’t have real, human followers, you’re free to invest in influencers who will give you a higher ROI,” Rogers says.
2. Engagement-to-Reach Ratio (Facebook and Instagram)
“Post reach on Facebook and Instagram indicates how many individual users have seen your posts,” says Fundera’s Nicolas Straut. “This metric is valuable because it showcases how far your influence reaches for posts you’re publishing.”
StoryChief’s Iva Divic says reach can also “help you understand what content works best on specific platforms so you can tailor your messages and medium to attract more people.”
And Steve Yanor of Sky Alphabet Social Media also notes that “reach is a good benchmark that’s highly reliable for gauging the effectiveness of your content, especially over varying time periods.”
But a couple of respondents said that reach measurements work best when paired with engagement rates. “Reach becomes very powerful when compared to other engagement metrics,” says Claudia Lopez of Social Factor. “Use reach as the denominator in your social media measurement equations.”
In other words, instead of using your total followers as recommended above, divide your likes + comments + shares figure by the total reach of a post, then multiply by 100 to get your engagement rate for people who actually saw your post.
“Your engagement-to-reach ratio can help you quickly determine what type of post your audience responds to,” says Browne Box Creative Solutions’ Andrew Browne. Anything 20% or higher is good. Between 10-20% is okay. If it’s below 10%, stop using that type of post.”
3. Click-Through Rate
“Click-through rate (CTR) is important because it shows you how often the links in your social media posts are being clicked on,” says Best Company’s Alayna Okerlund. “To calculate your CTR, divide the number of clicks a post got by the number of impressions it received, and multiply the result by 100.”
“A high CTR means a high percentage of people who saw your post are clicking on your content and going to your website,” says SyncShow’s Mallory Bar. “This tells you that your overall message and image is effective, and therefore, your audience takes action.”
“CTR works well for measuring both organic and paid posts,” says Digital Now’s Marcin Nieweglowski. “Moreover, it’s a common and impartial marketing metric for everyone who’s accountable for SEO, AdWords, email marketing, or social media marketing.”
“CTR is the one metric I use to measure a number of different factors at once while isolating variables that can be treated independently, such as how visually appealing the post looks and how engaging and relevant it is to the targeted audience,” says Pathfinder Software’s Tom Dolfi.
“If the post meets all the criteria, meaning it’s relevant, appealing, and engaging, then it’s reasonable to expect a good CTR. If that’s not followed by a good conversion rate, either the message in the post isn’t aligned to the product offering or other stages of the funnel need optimization,” Dolfi says.
What a Good Click-Through Rate?
True Recovery’s Milad Hassibi says “an ideal CTR is 2-3%.”
Jess Riches of Enriches Business aims for a slightly lower figure: “For us, 1-1.5% is a decent CTR.”
Why the disparity? It all depends on your industry. As Online Optimism’s Lauren Walter says, “Average CTRs can vary a lot by industry, so I would always recommend trying to find the average for your industry and setting benchmarks to meet and surpass that rate.”
“There’s no general standard benchmark to aim for,” Tom Dolfi says. “Performance has to be assessed factoring in a number of variables: target goal of the campaign, business model, product offering, sales funnel, social media, etc.”
“For a new business with no previous track record, a simple process should look like: experimentation (with a broad-to-narrow or narrow-to-broad approach) in order to establish the baseline, followed by optimization of the best-performing post,” Dolfi says.
4. Click-Through Volume
While click-through rate is one way to measure a post’s performance, Emily Chen of The Great Guac Off™ says she prefers to measure click-through volume instead. “We’re a B2B company, and I’ve found that social engagements like followers, likes, and comments don’t translate into sales and profit for us.”
“Instead, I focus on the click-through volume and aim for 100+ clicks with every share. I know if someone in our target market (HR and Office Managers) clicks through to our site, there is a roughly 13% likelihood they will request additional information, and about one in five of these will become paying clients,” Chen says.
Referral Rock’s Megan Mosley agrees: “Measuring clicks gives us a quick way to understand what our followers want more of. This then helps us work on the content that can increase our engagement and leads.”
5. Landing Page Views
NeONBRAND’s Morgan Miller Tingey says while it’s good to measure clicks and click-through rates, you have to measure landing page views, too. “An ad or post can get clicks all day long, but that doesn’t mean anything unless those users are getting to your website.”
“You can see landing page views by using the Facebook pixel on your website. It stemmed from users clicking on an ad on accident—or clicking on an ad and the website loading slowly. An ad could have 10,000 link clicks and only 5,000 landing page views if your website is slow.”
“So it’s essential to track the users who have actually seen your website. Why run ads if you’re not getting anything from them?”
6. Referral Traffic
“A lot of social media marketers track followers and likes, but those numbers are often superficial—they don’t necessarily guarantee results,” says Mike Schiemer of MyFrugalBusiness.com. “So I like to focus more on the amount of traffic driven from social media marketing.”
The Advisor Coach’s James Pollard agrees: “All social media is rented land. While you don’t control your social media accounts, you do control your website, your email lists, etc. Getting people to your owned land should be a top priority.”
“Ultimately, your social media activity should be driving traffic to whatever platform you are promoting,” says Max R. of WeSwap. “If you track referral traffic from social media activity regularly, you’ll quickly learn which types of posts drive the most traffic, helping you hone your strategy.”
Foundation Marketing’s Josh Gallant says that referral traffic is “trackable across every channel you use and will show you exactly which channels are bringing in the most tangible results.”
“If your followers aren’t visiting your website, converting them into leads will be near impossible. And if your social strategy isn’t driving leads, the business value of the time you’re investing is questionable at best,” Gallant says.
Which Social Platform Drives the Most Traffic?
While there’s been plenty of talk in the last year about how referrals from Facebook have been on the decline, it’s still a big source of traffic for many businesses.
In fact, when we asked our respondents to specify which platform drives the most traffic to their websites, Facebook was the clear winner:
Behind Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit (“Other”) were neck-in-neck, raging between 10-15%. YouTube received the fewest votes.
“LinkedIn demographics are invaluable for understanding who is viewing your posts,” says SFA Marketing’s Tim Troiano.
Perry Nalevka of Penguin Strategies agrees: “You should be checking what companies, titles, and geographies are viewing your posts. This will give you insight into and feedback on your messaging.”
“If your business/organization has a geographic boundary (i.e. a city government), you should track how many of your followers live within that boundary,” says Jon Barilone of Tripepi Smith.
“When you measure that, for example, against the number of people with a Facebook account in your city (found through Facebook Ads), you can calculate your penetration rate,” Barilone says.
Editor’s note: Get a quick view of the demographics of your company’s followers on LinkedIn by downloading this free LinkedIn Demographics Overview dashboard.
“For companies that rely on revenue, conversions originating from social media is the single most important metric,” says Anvil Media’s Kent Lewis.
Lee Namoo of TK101 Global Korea agrees: “Sometimes clients just want exposure and branding, but the vast majority invest in marketing to grow revenue.”
“Vanity social media metrics like followers and likes are fun and can even be useful, but don’t expect your CEO or CFO to cheer you on and fund your efforts if that’s all you’ve got,” says MedTouch’s James Gardner. “Instead, you really need to be showing hard evidence of social media advancing key business goals.”
“Many businesses tend to overlook conversions and only focus on traffic, but it’s important to look at conversions that resulted from social media so you can calculate your ROI,” says Stacy Caprio of Colorful Eyes.
“All marketers have to justify their plans and strategies to someone, so for most businesses, revenue brought in is going to be more important than shares, followers, brand recognition, or reputation management,” says Text Request’s Kenneth Burke.
What Conversions Should You Measure?
“I measure the number of form fills, contact requests, demos, and trials,” says Advance B2B’s Pinja Virtanen. “I believe social is on its way to becoming a pay-to-play channel, so we mainly use it for very tactical promotion where we can optimize our ad spend for the intended outcome.”
“My go-to would be measuring goal conversions in Google Analytics, either for my primary (purchase) or secondary (email sign-ups) goals,” says Ryan Dixon of Social Beings.
Conversions vs. Conversion Rate
You can track your number of conversions, or you can track what percentage of your social traffic converts—your conversion rate. According to AngelHack’s Kristen Scheven, conversion rate “can be measured on any social media platform by applying proper tracking metrics through tools like Google Analytics or Mixpanel.”
“Everyone’s conversion metrics will look different, but aim to make incremental increases in the number of people who visit your content and then follow through with action,” Scheven says.
Caroline Liller of 10x digital agrees: “Conversion rate is incredibly important to track. If you are driving a lot of traffic to your website via social media campaigns—but your traffic is not converting—you should reevaluate your strategy and user experience.”
“You need to know the number of leads you generate from each social media channel,” says Growth Hackers’ Jonathan Aufray. “After all, which would you rather have: 1,000 likes and 0 leads, or 100 likes and 10 leads? I’d rather get more leads.”
Von Mack Agency’s Abby Sanders agrees: “Marketers should be using Google Analytics to track how many leads they get from each social platform. Yes, creating great content and interacting with your fans is important, but ultimately, you should also know which platforms are truly generating sales.”
“Even if you only see conservative numbers, keep in mind that your social account is generating more leads than are being reported. Think of all the users who see a post on Instagram and then Google your company or look you up on Amazon to purchase.”
“But tracking the relative number of leads coming in from each social platform is a great way to see which ones are bringing in more sales and deserve more resources,” Sanders says.
Which Social Channel Drives the Most Leads?
When we asked our respondents which social platform is most effective at generating leads for their businesses and clients, Facebook and LinkedIn received far more votes than any other channel:
But every business is different.
“For us, Facebook produces the majority of our social media traffic, but LinkedIn produces a higher number of leads,” says Uku Inbound’s Emma-Jane Shaw.
Measuring interactions like shares, likes, and comments is a starting point for measuring engagement, but many of our respondents noted that these metrics are important to track on their own, too.
“All marketers should track interactions like comments, shares, and retweets,” says Ben Demers of Figmints. “These are the best forms of engagement and really allow for a two-way street dialogue between customers and a company that ultimately help drive more sales.”
Here are the specific interaction metrics our respondents recommend tracking.
“Shares are always an important metric for how well you are connecting with your audience,” says Jake McKenzie of Auto Accessories Garage. “Likes are one thing, but a share means not only did this audience member like the content, but they liked it enough to share it with their followers.”
Duckpin’s Andrew Clark agrees: “A share represents a stamp of approval and shows you’ve made someone stop scrolling. Additionally, shares provide businesses with third-party validation that has been shown to lead to increased conversions and sales.”
“If your content is being shared multiple times, that’s a very positive indication of your social media performance,” says Tusshar Aggarwal of Digi Elephant Marketing Agency.
Additionally, Kimberly Afonso of Kimberly Afonso Digital Marketing & Consulting says that “shareable content gets a much higher reach because it helps posts organically spread across personal networks. See which of your posts are getting the most shares and try to optimize others with those same criteria.”
“When someone shares our content, it means it’s being amplified to people who haven’t heard of us before,” says RingBoost’s Ellen Sluder. “While we have repeat customers, for most people, buying a custom phone number is something you only do once, so we have to constantly reach new eyes and ears.”
“For us, it’s all about spreading the message farther and wider, so if we can get people to share the news that you can get a personalized number to enhance your brand at an affordable price, we’re using our social media time well,” Sluder says.
“Reddit is a great platform for promoting content,” says WeSwap’s Max R. “However, without upvotes from Reddit users, your content will have no visibility.”
“Furthermore, the SEO benefits of a link from Reddit will not be passed to your website if your post has no upvotes: posts without upvotes have a ‘nofollow’ attribute, so there is no SEO value passed.”
“For every upvote your post receives, it means that your post will be visible for longer and will drive more traffic. So it is a great metric to track.”
“Yes, it’s important to have views and lots of comments and likes,” says World Financial Group’s Colton Burr. “However, it’s much more important to track the number of focused comments you are receiving.”
“A focused comment is a comment on one of your posts that actually pertains to what the post is about. Many big influencers and marketers get a lot of comments; however, they are generic and essentially meaningless.”
Burr says that looking at focused comments is important when evaluating influencers, too: “If an influencer is trying to gain sponsors, it’s much more beneficial to the sponsor to know the number of focused comments that influencer’s content is receiving.”
“It’s a little counter-intuitive, but the one metric you need to be tracking is impressions, especially on Facebook,” says Colibri Digital Marketing’s Andrew McLoughlin.
“Impressions rarely correlate to leads or a direct increase in site traffic, but they’re still the most fundamental data you can gather. Without knowing how many people saw your post, it’s impossible to cross-reference those other metrics, like shares or leads, to know what’s gaining traction and what’s falling behind.”
“Measuring impressions isn’t useful in and of itself, but it’s foundational for any practical analysis. It’s like a baseline, and without it, you won’t know how to calibrate your other results,” McLoughlin says.
“As a largely B2B marketer responsible for launching a next-gen product, I’m focused on increasing awareness: the number of eyeballs seeing our content,” says Nextiva’s Yaniv Masjedi. “On LinkedIn, that translates to views.”
“If we can get our brand seeded into the minds of more individuals across a company’s infrastructure, we are that much more likely to pop up in conversation—whether at the water cooler or the board room—whenever there is a discussion concerning our niche.”
“When it comes to social media—and LinkedIn in particular—I’m not going for the jugular. We’re not looking to make a conversion right off of someone else’s platform. Instead, we’re trying to generate awareness,” Masjedi says.
Related: 30 Marketers Share Their Most Effective LinkedIn Marketing Strategies
12. Follower Growth Rate
“Follower growth rate is a really important measurement to take note of,” says Storage Vault’s Kraig Martin.
“While a high follower rate might make your social media execs feel good in the short-term, this isn’t a true indicator of success. Instead, how many followers you’re acquiring over a specific period of time is much more useful when it comes to working out your performance.”
“To work it out, you just take the number of new followers you gained in a period of time and divide it by the number of followers that you had at the start of that period,” Martin says.
Editor’s note: To see follower growth on all of your social channels in a single view, download this free Social Networks Overview dashboard.
13. Unique Visitors
“Unique visitors is a social media metric I track because it gives us a better understanding of which posts help our agency increase its reach,” says Bailey Thompson of Response Media.
“It’s great to continue to engage the same audience, but it’s important to scale growth year over year to continue to enhance opportunities to create new partnerships and client relationships,” Thompson says.
PHLEARN’s Seth Kravitz agrees: “After posting something to Facebook or Instagram, we look at what percentage of views and engagements came from non-followers versus followers. If your organic posts are only being viewed by people who already follow your brand, your marketing is failing to deliver.”
Story Viewers (Instagram)
“While your follower count is undoubtedly a metric you want to pay attention to when tracking your social media, it may not be an accurate representation of how many people are actually engaged with your content,” says Jeff Arnett of Arnett Credentials.
“With Instagram’s recent additions of Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Instagram Live, users are able to live stream videos longer than the original 10-second limit. They can then save and upload these videos to be hosted on their account—while also allowing them to access usernames of those who have viewed their story in the last 24 hours.”
“Businesses can then use that information to reach out to those who haven’t yet added the page and ask them to do so—or even recognize loyal fans with prizes or shout-outs.”
14. Relevance Score (Facebook and Instagram Ads)
“Relevance score is often overlooked, but it’s probably the best metric to show you the quality of your targeting strategy,” Lightbulb Media’s Lewis Kemp says. “A higher score (9 or 10) means your ads will reach more people for less money, and often results in sky-high engagement levels.”
“After a sponsored post on Facebook or Instagram surpasses a threshold of being served 500 times, you start to see your relevance score, which is a combination of how the content performed from an audience, creative, and copy perspective,” says Altimese Nichole of Altimese Nichole Enterprise, LLC.”
“The lower the score, the higher your CPA. Conversely, the higher your score, the lower your CPA,” Nichole says.
“I use relevance score to gauge whether targeting parameters are accurate and parallel with appropriate content,” says Dana Leever of Pandemic Labs. “It’s not a steadfast KPI, but I like to aim for anything over six. Many of my campaigns run seven-plus, even into the nine range.”
Related: 29 Advertisers On the Top 5 Facebook Ads Metrics for Measuring ROI
15. Influence and Share of Voice
“A very important social media metric for all marketers to track is influence,” says ExpertSure’s Ollie Smith. “It’s critical to know who is being persuaded by and talking about your brand. Knowing this assists in tailoring your message, ensuring it gets to the right audience.”
In addition to influence, Kyle Flaherty of Zaius recommends tracking share of voice: “Influence alone is a great metric, as is share of voice, but together they tell you the true tale of your social impact. You want to figure out if your influence metrics are aiding your overall share of voice in order to break your brand through the clutter.”
“Your engagement and volume can be extremely high, but it’s not a good thing if what people are saying is negative or even neutral,” says Natalia Forrest of Rec-Social. “Sentiment analysis is required to track how your company is being perceived, which is ultimately what you are interested in.”
“Measuring sentiment means you’re looking at the positive and negative things that your customers are tweeting, commenting, or posting about your brand,” says Tiffany Schreane. “A lot of consumers take to the web to see how other consumers feel about your brand.”
“I would track sentiment across all social networks. The insights it can provide include ensuring year-over-year negative review percentages are down and increased positive reviews around customer service or product.”
“Additionally, measuring sentiment lets you retrieve ideas around what potential or current consumers think you can do to enhance your products,” Schreane says.
An Example of the Benefits of Measuring Sentiment
“After looking at the comments on a few of our social ad campaigns, we saw a lot of conversation directed at the pictures we were choosing,” says Best Company’s McCall Robison. “They weren’t as up to date as they should’ve been, and people were noticing that.”
“People were completely neglecting our advertised product because they were too distracted by our choice of picture. They discussed this quite a bit in the comments, and by tracking our social engagement, we were able to quickly identify the problem and update our pictures.”
“After making that change, our social engagement and volume both increased.”
“The value of a social media mention can be confusing,” says PACIFIC Digital Group’s Tim Brown. “Without a business KPI to ladder up to, mentions can easily be dismissed as trivial. But it all depends on how the brand was mentioned.”
“If a Twitter handle is explicitly included in the post, assume the writer is talking to the brand. If a hashtagged version is used, that individual may not be talking directly to the brand, but they know the brand can see it. This is like talking about the brand while standing within earshot of them.”
“Finally, if a brand is simply mentioned with no hashtag or handle, the sender has no real expectation that the brand will see it. Rather, they are talking about the brand, not necessarily to them. This the purest form of a mention.”
“The mention metric is not a stand-alone data point. It needs to be compared to something, such as the competition within a branded social listening monitor, a historical snapshot against previous performance, or even as a share of voice in an unbranded, industry-wide conversation.”
“For example: How does Little Debbie stack up against Entenmann’s and Tastykake in a branded conversation? How is Little Debbie doing this year over last? How much of the conversation is Little Debbie earning in the generic online chatter about snack cakes?”
18. Return on Time Invested
“One metric that even experienced social media marketers miss is return on time invested (ROTI),” says Jordan Law’s Mark Miller. “If ROTI isn’t measured properly, then how can you see if your social posts are having an effect?”
“Calculating ROTI is simple. Assume you’re paying someone a mere $15/hour. This means they’re making $.25/minute, so if it takes them 10 minutes to create a post, then it costs you $2.50 per post. That’s how much you need to make on average per post just to pay for your social media efforts,” Miller says.
Oppilo’s David Hamilton agrees: “Some marketers carefully measure return on investment on paid social but don’t think to ask what they are getting for paying a marketing associate $60k a year to post iPhone photos on Instagram.”
“Make sure you know what return you can expect before adding any full-time headcount,” Hamilton says.
19. Frequency (Ads)
“Frequency is the metric that helps us drive optimization,” says MWI’s Chris Weaver. “At MWI, we have identified the exact frequency where ad performance begins to decrease, cost goes up, and it’s time to refresh creative.”
“Too high of a frequency will lead to ad blindness, and we see too many clients who are running social media ads—or even organic management—that still have a set it and forget it mentality. Use your frequency metric as a tool to tell you when it’s time to refresh your creative.”
20. Cost Per Action (Ads)
“Almost every social platform tells you your cost per action,” says Ellen Roumeliotis of Aston Social. “It’s an important metric to track regularly because it determines whether you are actually getting your money’s worth.”
“You could be spending a high cost-per-click with very little return, which uses up your budget faster than you might like. Typically, anything more than $4-5 is too much.”
21. Most Popular Posts
“One important social media metric to track is your most popular posts,” says Glow Radio’s Jacquelyn Son and Clara Coelho. “Track it across every social media channel that you use.”
“This is important if you are a content creator because you want to make sure your audience is engaged. You want to create posts that your audience enjoys to keep them coming back for more.”
22. Branded Hashtag Use
“Branded hashtag use can be tracked across all platforms that support hashtags,” says Jason Martinez of Redefine Marketing Group. “All you need is the help of a social listening tool to monitor that specific term for you.”
“When you monitor the usage of a branded/unique hashtag, you are able to tap into engagement outside of your page. Plus, this is the ultimate engagement metric. People are willingly promoting your brand using a hashtag you created, so why not track it?”
“With some smart tools out there, you can even assess the sentiment around its usage. Is it positive? Is it negative? Ask yourself why it’s negative and adjust business operations accordingly.”
“Additionally, you can even leverage the power of user-generated content. Most users out there may post a photo to social media along with the use of a branded hashtag. Reshare that content and throw a little authenticity into the mix.”
23. Video Completion Rate
“If you’re posting videos to social, you should examine your video completion rate,” says Media Dean’s Patrick Dean Hodgson. “The metric is available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and it’s vital to keep an eye on it since video is the content type prioritized by all social media algorithms.”
“It’s essential to examine which videos are performing best with audiences and getting watched. Marketers should strive to have a video completion rate at 60% or higher.”
Related: Videos vs. Images: Which Drives More Engagement in Facebook Ads?
“Measure the number of consistent days you’re posting to each channel,” says Kurt Uhlir of Showcase IDX. “No network provides this directly, but it’s the most important factor in social media success for both B2B and B2C brands.”
“Having been part of the team that helped Facebook create pages for brands and the tools thousands of brands have used to be successful on every network, consistent posting is by far the most important factor in audience growth, engagement, and conversion to sales.”
“Other metrics are important and can help improve the type and topic of content, but tracking consistency creates momentum and is the single biggest factor in success on social.”
So Which Social Media Metrics Should You Track?
So which of these 24 metrics is the absolute most important to track? There really isn’t one.
As Adzerk’s Chris Shuptrine says: “You can’t only measure one social media metric to get a real sense of how your social media marketing effort is shaping up.”
Nada Pupovac of No Bounds Digital says the metrics to track depend on your goals. “If you want to promote an event, then it’s the number of event responses. If your goal is to generate leads, then you should track the number of conversions coming from a particular social media channel.”
Start by setting your goals for your efforts on social media. Then, select from the metrics above to set the KPIs you’ll track to see if your returns from social are worth the time and effort you’re putting into social media marketing.