In our guide, we show you 11 social media metrics you should be tracking in 2021.
It’s easy to get bogged down with numbers and data in social media.
But those statistics demonstrate performance if you look at the right ones. Likes, shares, and page views aren’t the metrics you’re looking for (at least in isolation). In our guide, we’ll look at 11 social metrics to track in 2021 and why they’re better than vanity metrics.
Social media metrics indicate what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your social media campaign. You need to be posting content that is valuable and relevant to your customers to navigate to your website and engage with your page on a regular basis.
Whether you’re using organic or paid social, there’s data to analyse and if paid social is part of your marketing strategy, that includes metrics like ROI (return on investment), CPL (cost per lead) and CPA (cost per acquisition). After all, you need to know how effective your budget spending is.
If you aren’t tracking metrics related to these actions, you’re not going to know which posts are performing better than others.
What’s the problem with vanity metrics?
A vanity metric is something that looks good, and in turn, makes you feel good, but does not give you any real information about how your business is performing. Vanity metrics aren’t suitable for evidence of necessary improvements. These include:
- Total downloads
There’s nothing inherently wrong with vanity metrics but you shouldn’t make wholesale changes to a strategy based on, say, a change in follower count or retweets without looking at the underlying metrics. Vanity metrics are often the result of more important metrics in the background.
Metrics you need to track
With that in mind, here is our list of metrics you should be tracking.
Engagement shows how substantive a social media following is, rather than looking at follower counts. Since engagement is a broad metric to follow, there are smaller metrics you can analyse such as:
- Amplification rate – the average number of shares per post
- Applause rate – the average number of approving actions your post receives in a given period (likes, thumbs-ups, faves, et al.)
- Conversation rate – the number of conversations per post, whether they’re comments or replies (depending on the platform)
- Engagement rate – the average number of engagement actions per post (a broader version of the applause rate as it also includes disapproving actions like angry faces on Facebook)
By looking at these specific metrics, you can see how active your followers are. You might find that a smaller follower base has more engagement than a larger one and that would be a testament to your content.
Your post reach tells you how many people have seen a post since you originally posted it. Since the timing and the content impact your reach, it is an actionable metric to follow. It will help you to understand when your audience is online and figure out what your audience finds valuable.
Here are some of the more specific reach metrics:
- Audience growth rate – the number of new audience members divided by the total audience members
- CPM – Cost per thousand ad impressions, used in paid social (Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Etsy Ads)
- Post Reach – the number of people who have seen a post
As well as your post reach, there is your potential reach. This measures the number of people that could see your post during a reporting period. Understanding this is important because you always need to be trying to get a broader audience. Knowing your potential reach will allow you to look at your progress and figure out how far you’ve come, what is working, and what needs changing.
For example, if a follower shared your post, 2-5% of their followers would factor into your potential reach. You can track this by using a brand monitoring tool which will show you the number of brand mentions.
Conversion metrics will show you how effective your social engagement is for your marketing campaign. Your conversion rate is the first metric you need to analyse. The higher your conversion rate, the more valuable your content is to your audience.
In order to measure conversions, you need to use conversion tracking which comes in the form of a Facebook pixel for Facebook. Read our article on Facebook pixels to find out more.
Then you’ve got what is called the click-through rate (CTR), which is how often people are clicking on the call-to-action (CTA). CTR is specifically related to the link that brings the audience to a landing page and is not to be confused with other engagement such as likes or comments.
It’s easy to track, and when done accurately, will show you how your offer is doing with the target audience. So, to track you need to divide the number of clicks by the number of impressions (and multiply by 100 for the percentage).
You’ve also got cost-per-click (CPC) which is how much you pay for ad clicks on your sponsored social media post. Focus on your CPC as it will help you to figure out if your investment is smart or if you are wasting money on something that isn’t working. The only way to track this is through your platform’s ad manager.
Finally, you need to be looking at your bounce rate, the number of people who click on the link in a post, to then leave your website quickly without taking any kind of action. If your social media campaigns are meeting the right audience, then your bounce rate will be lower for social media than it will for other sources as it will be driving higher levels of high-quality traffic to your site. If you want to track this, you’ve got to set up Google Analytics, head to the acquisition tab, go to all traffic for channels, and then click on bounce rate.
You want to know who is talking about your brand, what they are saying, and how much of an impact they are having. Several tools measure this, but the common takeaway is that audience size does not directly relate to influence. The fact that someone has a lot of followers or friends doesn’t mean that they are having any impact or making referrals.
Past actions can help to estimate how influential someone will be in the future. Tools like BuzzSumo can find content ideas and identify influencers. Then, you can use this information to figure out whom you should reach out to when you are starting a new campaign.
In summary, you need to be tracking all of these social media metrics that we have mentioned if you want to manage your social media campaign effectively. Every single metric will help contribute to the overall effectiveness of the campaign. It will give you the data you need to change things when they aren’t working as well as showing you what is going well and allowing you to increase the positive side. By tracking and measuring each of these metrics, you are giving your business the opportunity to succeed with customers on social media when you launch a new campaign.
Also, beware of vanity metrics because even though they feel good, they are doing more harm than you know to the overall health of your business.