You’ll agree with me when I say:
Understanding social media metrics can be really tough – there are just too many.
So, how can you know whether a metric is worth tracking or not?
To answer that question, I reached out to lots of business owners, entrepreneurs, marketing consultants and professional bloggers and asked a simple question:
If you could measure social media success with only 3 metrics, which 3 would you choose?
The answers I received from these experts are nothing short of amazing. You can see all of them below:
Social Media Metrics That Matter (According to 55 Experts):
You can skip directly to your favorite expert by using these links:
A. Alex Turnbull, Andrea Vahl, Adam connell, Al Gomez, Abdylas Tynyshov, Andrew Davis,
B. Beth Kanter, Bob Jones, Brian Carter,
C. Chris Brogan, Charlotte Waller, Cody McLain, Cendrine Marrouat,
D. David Meerman, Des Walsh, Daniel Scocco, Dave Schneider, Dennis Yu,
F. Fiona Zwieb,
G. Guy Kawasaki, Glen Gilmore, Govind Choudhary, Garin Kilpatrick,
H. Harsh Agarwal, Harris Schachter,
I. Ian Cleary, Ivana Taylor,
J. Jeff Bullas, Jenn Herman, Jay Owatway, Josh Turner, Joel Widmer, Joshua Parkinson, Jason Hong, Janet E Johnson,
K. Kevin Duncan, Kane Jamison, Kristi Hines,
L. Lee Odden,
M. Mike Gingerich, Marko Saric, Michael Kawula,
N. Neil Patel, Nadav Shoval,
S. Simon Penson, Sandi Krakowski, Sujan Patel, Sanket Patel, Sean Clark, Stuart Walker,
P. Phil Gerbyshak,
R. Ron Sela, Robbie Richards,
T. Tim Burrows,
Z. Zsuzsa Kecsmar
Guy Kawasaki is an author, speaker and prolific entrepreneur. He has founded several successful businesses, including AllTop.com, Canva and Garage.com.
1) Number of followers on Facebook
2) Facebook post reach
3) Twitter reshares per day
Jeff Bullas is a professional blogger, speaker, strategist and the founder of JeffBullas.com, one of the most popular blogs in the world. He helps business owners improve their brands with effective digital marketing.
The first two are obvious. Sharing volumes on social media and the traffic to your website from social networks.
There is the third metric that is not often discussed or mentioned. Conversion. This is leads and sales
Jenn Herman is the founder of Jenn’s Trends, an award-winning blog that focuses on discussing social media and business trends, and how to get the most out of them.
If I could measure social media success with only 3 metrics, they would be:
The ratio of likes/comments/etc. compared to the number of followers. I’d rather see a highly engaged audience with 25% engagement and 1000 fans than a misleading popularity metric of an account with 10,000 followers but only 1% engagement.
The more engaged your audience, the more targeted and relevant they are to your business, and the more likely you are to see this audience actually buy from you.
2) Brand awareness
How well your social media profiles are helping you reach new audiences and promote your business to potential new clients.
Regular monitoring of post reach (how many people see the post), shares, and accumulation of new fans will represent the general increase in brand awareness.
This should be a metric that increases over time, even if smaller time periods (daily, weekly) don’t show much change.
3) Website traffic
It’s all good and great to have a lot of activity on social media, but if this engagement doesn’t translate to traffic to your website, how well is it benefiting your business?
Whether you’re driving people to your blog, a landing page, or a sales/product page, you should be able to generate traffic – and subsequent sales – from your social media profiles.
Beth Kanter is the author of Beth’s blog, a blog focused on helping nonprofits get the most out of social networks. Fast Company Magazine says she is one of the most influential women in technology and innovation for social media.
For my own work, I think of outcomes or results first:
1) Learning what topics resonate most or serve the needs of my audience.
2) Increased reputation as a thought leader by providing content and engagement that serves those needs.
3) Getting referrals and contracts for work – each of those results has measurable metrics, obviously, including measuring views, reach, engagement, referrals, and conversions to actual consulting work.
Chris Brogan is a successful speaker and marketing expert. Forbes says he is one of the “Must Follow Marketing Minds” and listed his blog as one of the top 100 websites for entrepreneurs.
I actually track zero social media metrics. I track revenue, subscribers, and unsubscribe rates (on my email platform). Beyond that, I track opens and clicks.
There are zero social media stats that matter to me. Friends/Likes/Hearts/Klout are a quick way to lose your business and become poor.
leLee Odden is an outstanding author and blogger. He’s also the CEO of TopRank Marketing, a digital marketing agency based in Minneapolis.
Many people focus on specific social media measurements as stand alone indications of success. We take the approach of measuring the success of marketing that involves social media.
The difference is understanding that social media marketing efforts do not operate in a silo. They function best as part of an integrated marketing strategy.
As a result, the same marketing metrics that apply to other tactics, channels and platforms applies:
1) Attract – How effective are we attracting new and returning visitors to our content? Social network size (follows) and shares are two key metrics here. The larger the network and the more shares, the more possible views of our content.
2) Engage – What content is being consumed and what interactions occur as a result? Likes, comments, reposts, clicks to off network content are essential.
3) Convert – What commitments are we getting from our target audience? Members joined, subscriptions, inquiries, trials, downloads, sales/transactions all represent different kinds of conversions.
Focusing on these three basic measurements across marketing keeps social media marketing efforts accountable and focused on the kinds of outcomes that help the business vs. vanity metrics like fans, friends and followers alone.
Glen Gilmore is the founder of Gilmore Business Network, a recognized social media firm. He’s one of the top 20 social media power influencers, according to Forbes.
Your measurement of success must match business objectives.
For me, my three most important metrics of social media success, in no particular order, are:
Ian Cleary is a renowned blogger and die-hard geek. He’s the founder and CEO of Razor Social, an award-winning blog that focuses on social media technology and tools.
1) Email subscribers generated from social traffic – We generate sales through our email subscription so we want traffic to generate subscribers.
2) Engagement of audience with content – If the audience are not engaging with the content you share then you’ve either the wrong audience or the wrong content.
3) Traffic generate to the website – Even if we don’t build email subscribers getting more traffic to our content means that more people are getting to know what we do. They may not subscribe or buy from us on the first visit.
David Meerman is a best-selling author, keynote speaker and professional blogger. Also, he’s considered one of the best marketing and sales strategists in the world.
1) Business growth.
2) Customer satisfaction.
3) Where your company appears in Google search results.
Jay Oatway is a best-selling author, public speaker and social media evangelist. Forbes says he is one of the top 50 social media power influencers.
The first metric is something I call “Pass-on Value”. You can find out more about this in my book, Mastering Story, Community & Influence. In short, it is about building social capital through earned media. When you share something of value with your community, the best thing that can happen is that they share it with friends, who do the same and so on.
Everyone in the chain benefits and the bonds between them grow stronger. Ideally the content you shared was owned, but it doesn’t has to be for this to work. This is a bit tricky to track and measure.
One of the best ways is by using a customized traceable link shortening tool (like the ones provided by Hootsuite or Bitly). This lets you do searches against a unique URL as well as get data on click-through (which is useful when the link doesn’t point back to a site where you have access to the analytics).
The second success metric has to be how many website sessions you can generate via social. This isn’t necessarily about bringing in lots of new users (although that’s never usually a bad thing). But it’s about giving your loyal fans a reason to come to your site again and again.
The simplest way to measure this is by looking at how many return visitors are associated with links you are sharing via your social channels. More advanced methods would include some sort of social sign-in (like a login with Facebook connect) where you can generate more specific user data.
Learn who your superfans are — the ones who come to visit the most — they are the true leaders of your online movement.
And the third would have to be “likeability”. This one is often disregarded by the hard-nosed marketing managers as a “soft metric” as there is seldom any way to prove a correlation between sales and “likeability”.
But I believe this is the key to unlocking your “dark social” potential. A lot of recommendations people make to friends and colleagues doesn’t happen online. We can’t track what is happening at the water cooler.
But we do know that popular and well liked brands do get referred the most. So how to be “likeable”? This isn’t about getting likes on Facebook (although those can be good too). This is about providing extraordinary customer service. It’s about listening to your customers and responding promptly.
It’s about truly caring for them. You can measure this by tracking how frequently your social media team engages in 1-on-1 with customers (or potential customers) — and how good they are at actively solving problems. Small, friendly conversations can grow into bis business and deeper loyalty.
Josh Turner is a public speaker and the founder and CEO of LinkedSelling, one of the most popular LinkedIn training courses worldwide.
The key to tracking the success of social media is narrowing it down to just a few metrics that you track week after week. Seeing how those numbers change over time should be a good indicator of your success. If I had to choose just three, I would choose traffic, opt-ins, and sales.
1) Take a look at the traffic coming in from your social sites. Free tools like Google Analytics and Bitly will show you how many clicks you’re getting and from where. The more engagement you have on a site, the more engaged that audience is.
2) Engagement on social profiles is great, but you really want their email address. In a prospect’s inbox, you’ll have much less competition and a much more direct way of communicating with that prospect.
3) Once you’ve gotten a prospect all the way through your funnel, figure out how to attribute sales back to specific marketing efforts, like social media. Find the channels that result in the most sales, and focus more of your time and dollars there.
Alex Turnbull is the CEO and founder of Groove, a simple help desk software that helps small business owners deliver personal customer support.
If I could use only three metrics, I’d use unique visitors, shares and visitor-to-trial conversions. For our business, the ultimate goal of social media isn’t being social; it’s getting more customers. So action-driven metrics are most important.
Unique visitors tell us whether our social media content is doing its job to drive traffic to our site. Shares let us know that what we’re producing is effective and useful enough that readers want their friends and colleagues to see it. And conversions give us insight into the quality of the traffic we’re attracting. That is, are those unique visitors people who would get value from becoming Groove customers?
Kevin Duncan is the founder of BeaBetterBlogger.com. There he teaches their readers the principles, values and codes every person must follow in order to become a successful blogger.
On the surface, having to choose only three metrics for measuring social media success sounds hard. In reality, many of the metrics we spend our time analyzing and dissecting are dangerous because they distract us from the things that actually matter.
What good are “reach” or “impressions” if the audience you’ve reached doesn’t care about you or what you do?
What’s the point of fans and followers if they aren’t your ideal fans and followers?
Why care about Klout and other influence scores if the people you’re influencing will never, ever buy from you?
Track conversions. Track leads. Track engagement. Track the metrics that involve people getting to your content, subscribing to your content, buying your content, and actively engaging with your content.
Track anything that helps you find your ideal reader. Most of us can ignore the rest.
Andrea Vahl is an author, speaker, consultant and the co-founder of Social Media Manager School, a training course that focuses on helping people to become successful community managers or consultants.
Mine measures of success are: E-mail sign ups, Website clicks, Sales. I think social media works best when you are getting people connected to your e-mail list and that is your main priority – serving a valuable piece of information in exchange for an e-mail address.
Adam Connell is the Marketing Director of UK Linkology, an ROI driven marketing agency with a focus on content marketing and link building.
There are plenty of metrics to choose from, but which metrics you focus on ultimately depend on what your goals are.
I prefer to look at a mix of engagement and conversion based metrics, for example:
1) Share of voice
Monitoring how often your business is mentioned on the web can provide a great visual overview, especially when compared against competitors. Social monitoring tools become very useful here.
Whether it’s a retweet, +1 or a like – it’s some form of interaction which is great. I quite like the interaction statistics provided by SproutSocial for this.
This could be an email sign up or a purchase. Ultimately it translates into ROI for your business so this is seriously important. Goal tracking within Google Analytics is a quick and easy way to track this.
Ron Sela is one of the top 50 influencers in B2B Marketing, according to Onalytica. He constantly shares insightful content on his personal blog: RonSela.com.
To get the most out of your online efforts, use these three social media metrics to monitor how well you are doing.
1) Total Incoming Traffic
The goal is to get traffic to your website or landing pages from social media. This is true whether your content is new or curated.
You want to get an accurate idea how well your social media posts, tweets, images and other content are engaging your targeted market. To do this, you need to measure the total number of visitors each month that come to your pages from each social media platform you use.
Of course, you don’t need to worry about the numbers if you are doing this as a hobby or for branding. But even in those cases, it is interesting to periodically check the relationship between your social media efforts and the resulting traffic.
2) Conversion Rate
Lots of traffic is nice, but the traffic you are generating must help you reach your business goals and beat your competition. You can tell how you are doing by measuring conversion rates for visitors from your social media networks to your website.
For example, one platform might send lots of traffic, but very little of those people buy anything. This happens for a variety of reasons, including the fact that your offering isn’t what they are looking for.
In order to spend your time wisely, you need to know the rate of conversion for each social media platform you use. Then you can focus your time and money on those that send buyers to you.
3) Return on Investment
Every website owner has a limited amount of time to work online. Time is also money so you want to be cost-effective by putting your efforts where they do the most good. Either time or money, you want the best return that’s possible on your investment.
Free social media campaigns can produce very little result. Since you need to factor in the cost of your time, this means some platforms are poor choices for you.
Here’s how you check this: estimate the cost and income of each social media campaign. Then calculate your return on investment, or ROI. This will help you determine if free or paid campaigns are the best way to invest your time and money for each social media network.
Bob Jones is the founder of Visible, an Australian digital marketing agency that specializes in search engine optimization and social media.
This really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. For us, we’re often utilising social channels to drive more traffic to our clients’ websites, and strive to track everything we need to effectively measure the ROI of all our online efforts.
If we can’t effectively measure ROI, there’s no way of knowing if a campaign was successful, and we’ll be taking stabs in the dark when it comes time to provide recommendations for future campaigns.
With this in mind, I’d have to pick the following metrics as my top 3 for measuring social success:
1) Social Referrals: Tracking which social platforms drive the most unique visits to a website allows us to see which social channels are more effective. With this information we can more effectively tailor future social campaigns.
2) Conversions: To measure ROI we want to know what actions resulted from our social efforts and how many leads were created. This is essential for measuring the success of any social campaign driving traffic to websites.
3) Revenue & Cost Per Lead (CPL):How did our social efforts affect revenue? That’s what we really want to know at the end of the day. Clicks, likes and shares are great, but if results are indicating it’s not a cost-effective means of lead generation, then maybe we need to rethink our strategy.
Kane Jamison is the founder of Content Harmony, a Seattle-based marketing agency that helps people develop effective content marketing strategies.
I’d go with the following for organic social metrics:
1)Traffic to the website (looking for positive m-o-m growth)
2)Engagement (looking for consistent or growing m-o-m engagement rates by post type)
3)Total impressions/reach (as a broad measure of brand visibility growing over time)
We do a lot of paid social. For that I primarily care about impressions/reach with target audience, and CPC for website traffic.
Harsh Agarwal is a professional blogger, consultant and founder of Shout Me Loud, one of the most popular internet marketing blogs in the world.
1)Traffic: Social media marketing is all about helping your business.
As a blogger, for me Social media is about increasing the brand visibility & getting traffic to my blog. If after all the efforts any particular social media site is not driving traffic, that means either the strategy I’m taking is wrong or that social media platform is not right for my business.
So traffic is #1 metric to measure the success for me.
2) Engagement: This is the 2nd metric which I measure & most important ensure that all comments or messages are getting answered. Since I work alone, so it makes the task more tedious as #1 rule of social media engagement is respond in time ( in 5 minute or less) – most of the time, an engaged social media channel increases the reach & a sign of a healthy brand value.
3)Growth of subscriber: This is vital from many perspective. If numbers are not growing, that means the social media reach is slow & we are not tapping the viral nature of social media site.
I mostly monitor growth on my Facebook page (52K followers), Google plus page (613K followers) & recently started focusing on Twitter channel.
Joel Widmer is the founder of Fluxe, a Dallas-based agency that focuses on helping authors and business owners to develop smarter content marketing strategies.
If I could only track 3 metrics —I’m going to assume we’re on a budget and have a limited team, so I’m not going to worry about my competitors and focus only on making my audience happy— I would choose:
1) Engagement: If I’m targeting the right audience, my audience engagement should grow with my brand. What can I learn from how my audience engages with my content?
2) Influence:Do I have a good mix of influencers and fans that can help spread the word? Where and how are they doing that? This can include social media mentions, backlinks, or any type of media that features us.
3) Conversions:How many social media engagements can be tied to conversions for my brand? Whether that conversion is a call, an email opt-in or a purchase, I want to know whether it can be tied back to a direct or assisted conversion.
Simon Penson is an SEO expert, content creator and the founder of Zazzle Media, a digital marketing agency with over six years experience in the industry.
Social media can be measured in a myriad of different ways and ‘success’ is completely dependent upon setting the right objective initially and being really, really clear about what that looks like.
If your campaign is about engagement or sentiment then make sure you agree on that as a primary objective and then have secondary measures such as reach or audience growth as back up metrics.
For me social is about engagement and so if I had to name three metrics I’d include a solid measure around how many times your posts/content are interacted with, with audience growth in there as a result of that activity.
Sandi Krakowski is a renowned social media consultant who specializes in Facebook Marketing. Forbes says she is one of the top 20 women social media influencer.
1) Targeting:Who is our ideal client?
2) Reach:Is our content going where our ideal client hangs out?
3) Engagement:Are we creating a response and relationship?
A lot of people measure social media success by ROI (Return On Investment). The return you’ll get on any investment into social media will be directly related to the culture and relationships you grow.
Just like a great email list with highly targeted clients increases conversion ratios, the basic components of any successful social media campaign will be related to your targeting, reach and engagement.
Sujan Patel is a digital marketing strategist with over 12 years experience and the co-founder of Narrow.io, a tool that helps entrepreneurs grow their Twitter following.
Traffic, engagement & brand mentions are the 3 most important metrics.
Traffic is pretty straight forward – I track the number of visitors that I receive from each channel.
Engagement breaks down into a few parts: Share ratio per channel (number of shares per session) & Action taken per visit. Action could be a comment, share, email subscription, etc. I use tools like Filament.io & App Sumo to measure the engagement.
Lastly, brand mentions – I monitor weekly/monthly the number of times my brand is mentioned on websites (links) & social media.
Sanket Patel is the Founder and Director of Blurbpoint, a digital marketing agency with over 100 certified professionals.
The most important social media success metrics that come to my mind are;
1) Conversions (this includes subscriptions, email sign ups, form submission, leads, sales, etc.)
2) User Engagement (including Re-shares, Re-tweets, Likes, Comments, etc.)
These are 3 important factors for me, but most of the time our client is more care and concerned about their followers and likes, and always bother to looking at the numbers increasing on followers and likes as they feel they are spending money for this, but sometimes it’s being hard to make them understand about the true metrics of social media they should consider or what actually bring ROI for them.
Garin Kilpatrick is a marketing strategist, writer and social media influencer. He’s also the founder of several social media blogs, including fbadvance.com and Marketingstrategyhq.com.
Here are the three metrics I recommend using:
1) How many new connections do you create per week
New connections are important for a strong and growing network and will drive traffic as new connections explore your content and links.
2) How many email subscribers do you get from social media per week
Ultimately social media profiles and pages are owned by those platform – by building an email list you are creating a powerful audience that no one can take away from you.
3) How many people does your content reach per week
Do you leverage all of your existing communities on a regular basis?
The greater your reach the easier it will be for you to achieve success, so share quality content and engage with your social media communities on a regular, and ideally daily basis.
Des Walsh is an executive leadership coach, blogger and social media expert. He helps entrepreneurs and executives leverage their strengths and capabilities, as well as develop smarter social media strategies.
It will always depend on the company’s purpose in being active in social media and there will be considerations about short-term (e.a. campaign for a particular product or service) and long-term (e.g. establishing and maintaining thought leadership) – I think B2B will often look for different metrics than B2C.
That said, having for the sake of the exercise to pick three, they are:
1) Leads – taken as real leads for real prospects (that quality aspect being included, for example by productive/promising conversation)
2) Amplification – especially shares, comments and retweets
3) Engagement – again with the a quality component, e.g. by productive/promising conversation
Dennis Yu is a professional blogger, entrepreneur and Facebook Marketing expert. He’s also the CTO of BlitzMetrics, an education system for people who want to master social media marketing.
With only 3 metrics for social media health, I’d have to choose one at each stage of the funnel – audience, engagement, and conversion.
This way, you can figure out which of these 3 parts of your funnel needs the most attention at any point in time, and depending on the season, how your other campaigns are faring (especially search and email), the issue to focus on changes.
Of course, the most powerful metric and one that most people mistakenly believe is hard to measure in social. Absolutely not, if you’re running Google Tag Manager, have conversion tracking in Facebook configured, and custom audiences configured.
Do the same on Twitter and Google, of course.
You need to drive more conversions on social, yet that volume is largely dependent upon the volume of engagement you drive. Thus, leading to our second metric.
2 ) Number of interactions (engagement)
If my engagement is low, it’s either because my ad campaigns are not as effective, my other marketing efforts aren’t contributing to social as much – hint, when other channels are doing well, social naturally gets lifted, too. Or it could be that my content is not in alignment with my audience any more.
With all social networks now, it’s a pay to play game, so if you want traffic or deeper analytics, you’re going to have to pay to get it. You’ll need to pull up insights from within LinkedIn, Facebook, Google —which includes YouTube, what we consider the second largest social network)— Twitter, and now Instagram – part of Facebook now and built into Facebook’s self-service ads system, too.
Which leads us to the third metric of understand who this audience is that is engaging and converting…
3) Audience (reach and impressions)
When my audience isn’t as strong, the factors causing it are due to the frequency of your content, sharing/commenting/liking on the content, and how much you’re paying to amplifying it. Isolate what’s driving these changes and you’ll know which of these factors to focus more on.
Usually there are some audiences that have started to enjoy your content– so if you can identify them, you can produce more content for them, tied into your email sequences, blog, and other channels.
Because we’re talking about social metrics, we have to talk largely about Facebook, in the same way that we must talk mainly about Google if we’re talking about search.
Certainly true in Mexico and the United States. If you want to get geeky on how to optimize the health of your Facebook ad campaigns, then you’d want to use the same 3 metrics of audience, engagement, and conversion here.
Neil Patel is the founder of NeiPatel.com, Quicksprout, and several successful software companies, including Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and kissmetrics.
1)Traffic – traffic would be how many visitors I am receiving from social sites
2) Engagement – engagement would be metrics such as likes, retweets, comments and shares.
3) Revenue – revenue would be how much in sales am I generating from the social web. These 3 metrics would help me optimize my social media efforts.
Daniel Socco is a renowned mobile app developer and the founder of Dailywritingtips.com, one of the most popular blogging and online marketing blogs in the world.
I would say average number of Facebook likes per post, average number of shares and retweets per tweet, and the total number of followers on all social accounts.
Phil Gerbyshak is a professional blogger, speaker and social media expert. He specializes in helping business owners and entrepreneurs grow their revenue by developing effective social media strategies.
3 metrics to measure success in social media:
1) Time spent watching video, listening to a podcast or reading an article after a click from social media – I want to see not just a click, but how engaged that click user was.
2) Email subscribers that came from social media – who liked the work I was doing on social media enough to actually sign up for my emails.
3) “Real” social media shares – not automated you added my site to your list of things you share without thinking or things in a Triberr tribe you just click and it goes. But real shares where you thought “Hey. This was good enough my people must see this article because it will really help them” shares.
Sean Clark is a social media marketing expert with over 16 years experience. He mainly focuses on helping start-ups grow authority through content and social networks.
To me social media is more than just the numbers, it’s the impact it allows you to have on others. I don’t measure my own social media activity. For me it is organic, a natural part of my everyday life. The benefits I get from it are a by-product of my sharing and helping others.
If I were to measure it though it would be:
- The number of times I helped someone solve a problem this week
- The number of times I shared others content, relevant to my audience
- The number of new people I engaged with this week
I know these are not tangible business objectives. But if you want to sell stuff, there are other channels better suited to the job.
Mike Gingerich is an established blogger, Facebook expert and a business consultant with over 10 years experience. He’s mainly focused on helping small and medium size businesses grow their revenue.
It’s all about the bottom line really. So it’s got to be sales and:
1)Does it help us make money? Related to that is Leads as metric.
2) If we grow more leads, we should be able to grow our sales. Finally,
3) Ideal Audience Growth. Is it helping us reach more and more of our target ideal customer audience?
Those are the 3 that matter most in my mind!
Brian Carter is a 15-year digital marketing veteran and popular keynote speaker (with clients like NBC and Microsoft, but also small businesses and franchises) who delivers entertainment, motivation and practical takeaways. His Brian Carter Group offers results-focused implementation, ideation and innovation to boost profits for growth-minded businesses.
Your metric should fit your goal. Social media doesn’t define your goal for you. If your goal is profits, your metric should be ROI. If it’s awareness, perhaps it’s overall impression count. If it’s sales, maybe it’s sales volume, or ROI – but some companies care more about volume and will sacrifice some ROI for higher volume.
If your goal is leads, then do you care more about lead volume or lead quality? That will affect your metric choices. Social media doesn’t define your goal, but it also doesn’t restrict what is possible. We’ve seen people achieve high profits, high lead quality, low-cost per actions, and major buzz.
So first, define your goal, then choose the metrics that fit that goal.
Joshua Parkinson is the founder of Post Planner, a Facebook Marketing App that helps you maximize social interaction and track more accurate metrics.
My top 3 SM metrics are:
1) Shares (on Facebook, Shares = quarters, Comments = dimes, Likes = pennies)
2) Click rate (% of people who clicked the post out of the those who saw it)
3) On site conversion rate from SM clicks
Post Planner helps you maximize #1 and measure #2.
Robbie Richards is a professional blogger and full-stack digital strategist. He helps companies plan and execute customized marketing campaigns.
Jay Baer put it perfectly, “the end goal is action, not eyeballs”.
1) Conversions – this could be a number of things, including sales, trial sign ups, form completions, e-book downloads or any other goal you have set for a campaign. It could even be broken out further into “Leads”, but I’ll tie it all under one metric here.
One thing to note. Many marketers only pay attention to last-click attribution models. I like to also look at assisted conversion reports in Google Analytics to see if social media is contributing to conversions at the top of the funnel.
2) Referral traffic – how much traffic are you able to drive from each social media channel. Don’t just focus on quantity here. Even if you drive little traffic from the channel, if it converts well find a way to scale.
3) Engagement – what resonates with your audience? Do more of it and amplify your content to new audiences.
Charlotte Waller is the founder of Vis-e-bility.com, a marketing agency that helps you with everything from A/B testing to SEO, SEM and Social Media.
1) Followers: Not bought ones! Earned ones… it’s not all about that but more quality followers should equal a bigger amplification of your message and content when you put posts out there.
2) Website Traffic: Some platforms bring more than others but ultimately you want to try to entice people from social platforms to your website and content.
3) Brand Sentiment: I don’t know a quantitative tool to do this to hand, but I’m sure there are many.
Social media is fabulous for chatting with customers and —if they’re unhappy— dealing with the issue in real-time, and if they’re happy, shouting about it.
In my opinion, people feel appreciated when they get a personal response or post, so gauging brand sentiment and how many positive reviews you have either on Google, Facebook or any other big platform that has reviews and is linked in some way with social media, although fairly vague is an important one for me.
Dave Schneider is a professional blogger and the founder of NinjaOutreach.com, an innovative new blogger outreach tool.
Firstly it really comes down to what social platform is the one that is most useful for your business. For some businesses a large Pinterest following is going to be way more valuable than a large Twitter following.
Regardless, I think you need a metric for size, engagement, and then referral traffic.
# Twitter followers
# Daily Retweets
Referral traffic from Twitter
The idea here is about having a large, engaged audience that is interested in your beyond the platform on which they’re connected to you.
Marko Saric is an experienced blogger and the founder of Howtomakemyblog.com, one of the most popular blogging blogs in the world. There he teaches people how to build and run a profitable blog.
1) Clicks to my website
My main metric would be looking at what my social media activities have resulted in terms of clicks to my main website.
It is on my main website that I have full control over presentation of content, call-to-actions and monetization so a good sign for the value my social media activities deliver would be them sending a lot of targeted and quality traffic that converts into goals that are important to me.
2) Engagement rate
This one is key in understanding the quality and resonance of the content that I post on my social media channels with my audience.
Do people who see the content that I post actually engage with it by clicking on like or by commenting on it or by sharing it or by clicking on the link.
The engagement rate can be calculated by taking all the people who have engaged with a piece of content and dividing it by all the people who have seen that piece of content. Here’s a bit more from me on steps I take to improve my engagement rate.
3) Organic reach
This one is a bit more of a vanity metric but is useful in determining how much exposure my content is generating in social media. There’s a decline in organic reach across the social media and it is getting increasingly difficult to get the word out organically.
Monitoring reach numbers allows me to see what percentage of my audience my content is reaching and helps me figure out things I may need to change such as day of the week or time of the day that I post or even the content format.
Stuart Walker is the founder of NicheHacks.com, a blog that shows you how to find a hot niche and build a successful business around it.
Only 2 things really…
Relationship building and traffic.
I primarily use my FB Private Mastermind group to build a relationship and trust with my audience and then I also share content and any other blog notifications to that group and that drives traffic back to the site.
A lot of people love the fact that I’m present in the group and active which makes them feel more part of the NicheHacks tribe.
But I don’t really “measure” it as such.
Ivana Taylor is an experienced blogger and business influencer. She’s also the publisher of DIYMarkting.com, the digital hub for small business professionals.
When I think about social metrics, I am focused on three basic elements; reach, relevance and engagement.
1) Reach is, of course, the number of people following you.
2) Relevance is about who those people are. In my case, relevant followers are small business owners, small business experts, marketing folks and brands who sell to small business.
So I would much rather have FEWER followers that are more RELEVANT to my brand.
3) Finally there is the engagement piece. I’m pretty strict on engagement, meaning that retweets and shares are nice, but I’d much rather see a string of relevant conversation that might include questions, tips, links and overall engagement.
One of the things I measure is the number of conversions I get from tweet to email. There’s no easy tool for me to do that, but I can look at my direct messages or I star those tweets where I include my email and the person then responds via email.
In essence I’m talking about conversions and conversations. Conversations lead to conversions. The conversion can come in the form of an interview for me (in a lot of ways that is a sale for me).
Conversions can also come in the form of people clicking on links and signing up for something.
I differentiate between my audience (the main street business owner) and my client (a brand sponsoring content).
The brand wants to see engagement, relevance and reach. The audience wants to see small business experts and rock stars sharing themselves and their strategies.
So, in essence, I’m measuring the quality of engagement between experts and brands — and the quality of engagement and conversion between my content and my audience.
Cody McLain is a diehard entrepreneur and blogger. He constantly shares educational content on his personal blog: CodyMclain.com
I’ve seen a lot of digital influencers lose out on opportunities to help brands tap into their markets because those brands measure social media success based on followers, likes, and subscribers, instead of measuring followers that are actually fully engaged with said influencers message.
I think once an individual influencer has gone over the threshold of 200,000 followers/subscribers/likes, they have a voice that can be harvested depending on the ratio of engagement : followers/subscribers/likes.
2) Quality of Content:
Does what they post resonate with an even bigger audience than their followers? If the content is highly likely to go viraland have a far-reaching impact repeatedly, that is a social media success.
Many brands recognize that they have to be on as many platforms as possible, but I think the quality of the messages on each of those platforms has to represent different facets of the brand.
The audience gets really bored if you cross-pollinate different channels with the same content, so the key is to choose the theme and message for each platform every day.
That will garner you greater success in your quest, and those who are already doing it will find that they have a different demographic of followers on each platform.
Nadav Shoval is the co-founder and CEO of Spot.IM, the app that helps website owners and publishers turn blog comments into community.
I guess that Virality, Reach(exposure) and click through rates.
Al Gomez is the founder and head of operations at SEO Expertpage, an online marketing agency with over eight years experience and proven record of success.
The metrics to measure in a social media campaign will depend on what is your ultimate goal setting up your social accounts.
Social Media Engagement Metrics
Setting up social media accounts with no engagements at all is useless. If your goal is to create more engagement then you should focus on the following areas: Share/Retweet, Like/Favorites, Replies/Mentions.
No extra tools are needed to measure these ones because social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter for they have built-in analytics. You can easily view how far each social media status have reach, how much is your engagement rate and how many has engage with it.
Brand Awareness Metrics
Brand building in social media can also vary proportionally with how much engagement you reach. The more people who can see your post can also mean more people can see and feel your social media presence. However, the best metrics in this area that you should pay attention is the growth of fans/followers.
Modern day social media doesn’t mean you have a huge fan/number would equate to strong brand awareness already. You need to closely monitor that your fans are your target – location, interest, age and gender. You can easily track where your fans are coming from straight from Facebook and Twitter analytics dashboard.
Customer Conversion Metrics
This is what most would want – the goal of making sales from social media. However, frequent posting of “buy our product” or “get our service” nobody might ever dare to click all the links you are posting.
To make your audience click what you are posting, it should start from building target audience, attracting engagement through great content and finally baiting them to subscribe with what you post. Clicks – the metric you should pay attention in this area.
In Twitter and Facebook built-in analytics, you can see how many people have clicked your links. To strengthen your monitoring in this area, you can also use additional tools to analyze thoroughly. For a more detailed dashboard, you can use Google Analytics.
Cendrine Marrouat is an experienced writer and social media coach. She’s also the founder of SocialMediaSlant.com, a blog that helps readers understand social media from a human perspective.
Social media success does not the look the same to everyone. Some just tie it to dollar amounts, while others take additional results into consideration, including feedback, testimonials, and opportunities like the one you gave me today. I’m part of the second group.
Likes, comments, and follower numbers matter, of course. But in the grand scheme of things, they will do nothing for you if people don’t take any real action afterwards.
If I could measure success with only three metrics, I would go for website traffic / click growth, mentions on social media sites like Twitter and Google+, and referrals / leads.
For example, every time I share or post a new article on LinkedIn, I receive invitations to connect or messages inquiring about my services. This in itself is proof that I have succeeded in attracting attention.
Kristi Hines is a freelance writer with over seven years experience in business and online marketing topics. She has written content for several renowned companies, including Unbounce, kissmetrics and American Express.
The three metrics I would choose are audience growth, total engagement, and referral traffic.
If you can see that all three of these are consistently growing, you know that your social media strategy is working. If you aren’t growing your audience, receiving engagement on your posts, or getting traffic back to your website, then you need to troubleshoot your audience growth tactics and the content you are posting.
Michael Kawula is a best-selling author and successful entrepreneur. He’s also the CEO of SocialQuant.net, a web-based solution for people who want to get real targeted Twitter followers.
Measuring your success on Social Media should be the same as measuring anything for its effectiveness if you’re using Social Media for marketing your business. This measurement could be just one metric or many.
Some may say it’s much more than just looking at how many likes you’ve gotten or the number of followers you have, but maybe it isn’t.
At the end of the day if you’re an entrepreneur on Social Media, you’re there to increase sales for your business and if you can measure quantitatively how many likes, follows, hearts or anything it takes to get a sale, than that is the success factor you should focus on as an entrepreneur.
Social Media is all about engagement and the more hearts you get, the more Twitter followers you get, the more comments you get can yes give you that warm fuzzy feeling, but it should all be measured on its effectiveness to drive sales.
If you know that every 1000 new followers or hand raises/fist pumps causes your sales to move by “x” then you should focus on what can help you get those 1000 actions. What can’t be measured, can’t be improved. Know what you’re measuring and manage that as your measurement of success.
Jason Hong is the founder of J Social, an agency focused on helping business owners and professionals get the most out of Facebook Ads.
My top 3 metrics for social media success would obviously depend the role that social media plays within the larger organisational and business strategy.
If I were to look from the point of view of a social media content marketer that builds brands and make brands social, my top 3 metrics would be:
1) Customer satisfaction with social media response – measuring responsiveness and quality of response
2) Engagement on social media platforms – measuring the number of positive comments/useful enquiries related to the business on a monthly basis
3) Customer and social connectivity – number of customers who are socially connected to the brand
If advertising is included in the role of social media to drive leads and sales, then the top metrics would be :
- Number of leads driven through that platform
- Number of sales generated from those leads
- Number of instances when that channel influenced the sale (trackable using tools like kissmetrics)
Harris Schachter is a marketing expert, consultant and SEO channel owner at a large financial institution. He’s also the founder of Optimize Prime, a blog focused on SEO, UX and Content Marketing.
1) Audience engagement per social action:
This could be different depending on the channel, but the notion is the same – is anyone paying attention to you and are they interacting with the brand?
That could be favorites/replies/RTs per Tweet, comments/likes/re-shares per Facebook Share, etc. If you keep track of this engagement relative to the content, you can hone in on what it is that gets your audience excited (or riled up!)
2) Brand awareness:
This is a measure of how well-known your brand is as a result of your social efforts. You can measure this a number of different ways, such as surveys or questionnaires, but is usually best to do over a long campaign or period of time.
3) Traffic to the site:
Yes! Social media is meant to drive traffic to your website (as well as engage your audience). Remember, your success on social media isn’t limited to your brand’s success, but the success of your content on social media.
It doesn’t matter if other people are sharing/tweeting/posting your content – it’s still your success (and your referral traffic!)
Janet E Johnson is a marketing consultant with over 14 years experience in the industry. She helps business owners optimize their brands with social media and online marketing.
My 3 top metrics are: Reach, Growth and Engagement.
Let’s break this down.
Reach is still important, although it is not the top metric. If you don’t ‘reach’ your audience, how can you actually engage with them and eventually sell to them? I compare reach to a billboard, but much more targeted. It is eyes on your brand.
The more you get in front of clients and potential clients, the more likely they will buy when they need your service or product.
The growth of your followers DOES make a difference. In social media, you really want to grow a community and getting new people to that community.
That builds your presence and builds a bigger community and make sales. For instance, if we are talking Facebook, there’s been a lot of talk that ‘likes don’t really matter.’ I happen to believe they still do…if used properly.
Your ‘likes’ are people who are aware of you or your brand, so they are more likely to buy from you. I often re-engage my current ‘likes’ with special offers and updates using Facebook advertising. I think many forget this, but it really works! That’s why the growth is very important.
This is of top importance. Social media is about talking ‘with’ your audience, not ‘at’ your audience. If your audience is truly engaging with you, then you know it is working.
It is important to talk them about what they want to hear vs what you ‘think’ they want to hear. This will create better engagement, growth and sales!
Govind Choudhary is a professional blogger, consultant and the founder of FacebookFever.com, a blog focused on helping marketers get the most out of Facebook.
1) Try putting a check box saying “How did you find us?” if you’re promoting new customer to register and put your social channels and other sources there in the drop down.
That is the most effective way to measure social media success. By this, not only you’ll get to know your social success, but also the organic power.
2) Analyzing referring traffic is a great help to give you an idea about which social sites are giving you maximum conversion and traffic – use Google Analytics Traffic sources for this.
If you’ve a product, try using different link for different social channels and then analyse which one is working great for you. Use Goo.gl, bit.ly or If you’re on WordPress use “Pretty Link” Plugin to set custom URL and better tracking.
3)Track everything, it can be difficult in the beginning, but it’ll give you a complete idea about where you’ve to focus and how can you improve it further.
From analyzing and tracking your social media sites insights to link pointing to user registration for content downloads, webinar sign-ups, forms track and analyze everything. I’m sure you’ll see start getting good results in short time.
Fiona Zwieb is a virtual assistant specialized in working with musicians, taking their daily struggles and busy work off of their plates so they can focus their energy and time on their music.
The 3 metrics that I’ve learned to value in social media success all fall under the umbrella of the engagement you earn from your followers.
If your followers aren’t responding, no matter how high the number of followers, your social media sites are not successful. This is all based on numbers of reactions versus the number of posts you are putting out there to your followers.
What I seek is:
1) High rate of comments or responses.
2) High rate of sharing or retweets.
3) High rate of clicks, likes or favorites.
Tim Burrows is a marketing expert who specializes in social media for police and law enforcement. He constantly shares educational content on his blog: Walking the Social Media Beat.
1) New relationships built
I believe this is probably the most important measurement today. It takes time, commitment and trust to build relationships. All of those are hallmarks of real engagement that shows what you are doing on social and digital channels is resonating with an audience.
This shouldn’t be confused with likes, followers, subscribers or fans. This is all about building tribes, communities and relationships.
2) Information sharing
The greatest level of commitment between a creator of content and those that receive it the sharing of that information with the next level or circle of the consumers own audience – while likes have value along with new growth in your audience, this engagement goes beyond a mere click.
3) Is your message being heard?
You need to continually monitor your own results for what is working and what isn’t working.
How many eyes are seeing your information, or more importantly, who aren’t seeing it, tells a great story that once you interpret it, you can start to refine your message, content and your target audience to ensure you are providing what they want in such a way that they not only see it but that they share it and take the time to build a relationship with you.
Abdylas Tynyshov is a professional blogger with over 10 years experience in product management, social media and entrepreneurship.
I would go with the following metrics to identify if the campaign/person has achieved a social media success:
1) Number of followers on Twitter. Also, number of retweets, favorites and replies to tweets.
2) Number of followers on Facebook. And number of likes and comments on posts.
3) And lastly number of unique visitors to his/her personal blog or website, and if it’s a campaign, then number of unique visitors to a product site.
Number of followers on two main social media sites: Twitter and Facebook
For obvious reasons, two main and important social media sites are Twitter and Facebook. When people are interested in something or someone, first thing they do is to follow that particular product or person on Twitter or Facebook.
Having followers is one thing, but to see if the followers are genuine, we need to further look into the number of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’, and in the case of twitter number of ‘retweets’ and ‘replies’ that this particular person or product gets on the social media accounts.
Successful products and individuals have a high activity social media accounts, where often times their one Facebook post or tweet will ensue a lengthy discussion among the followers around that post or tweet.
Personal Sites/Blogs and Product Sites
Some individuals and organizations have made a strategic decision to build followers around their own personal site or product site, rather than on social media accounts. They might have social media accounts, but the sole purpose of those accounts will be to redirect all traffic to their own personal or product site.
In this case, the main metric would be the number of unique visitors that the site receives per month. And also the number of comments blog posts receive.
If there is a discussion forum, then we have to look into the activity within the discussion forum (e.g; number of new threads created per day, number of replies each thread receives on average, etc.)
Zsuzsa Kecsmar is the CMO and co-founder of Antavo, a loyalty software that specializes on eCommerce businesses.
The key metrics are not standalone measurable steps. They are pillars built on each other. Let’s see them:
On social media the engagement level of fans is the first step-stone to shoot for. How often they interact with your content? How often they like or comment to a post? Sharing relevant and engaging posts that raise their interest, and also motivate them to act is a must.
2) Social referrals
Once you have an engaged community, the next what matters how likely they refer your page to their friends.
Escalating the number of active fans on your page leads to the incensement of potential prospects. Contests are good way to measure it, as fans can invite their friends to also participate in them for increasing their chances.
3) Leads and conversions
After having an energized community on Facebook, converting them from prospects to customers what comes next. Ad-managers, contests and analytics tools are there for measuring this. What percentage of engaged fans are signed up to your newsletters? Registered on your landing pages? Become customers on your store in the end? These are the questions that you should answer.
Andrew Davis is a best-selling author, blogger and experienced speaker. He’s considered one of the most original marketing speakers in the world.
Measuring the effectiveness of your digital marketing (whatever it is) comes down to your ability to drive revenue.
I believe keeping your metrics simple and revenue-focused makes everyone’s life easier.
For example, measure your revenue per post or your revenue per subscriber. These are simple metrics that allow you to determine at the most basic level whether your marketing is working. i.e. if you generate $1000 in revenue this week and you posted two articles, your revenue per post is $500.
That was awesome!
Thanks to every expert who contributed to this amazing post!
Now I’ve got a quick homework for you:
Leave a comment below and let me know how you’re planning to use today’s insights.