Which social media metrics are most important to your business?

How Businesses Get The Most Value From Externally Managed Social Media Marketing Campaigns
January 21, 2020
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Which social media metrics are most important to your business?

3 Facebook Metrics To Watch

There are thousands of social media metrics to consider when you begin to analyze the effectiveness of your social media marketing program. But which social media metrics matter most to your business and what do they actually mean? In this article, we’ll cover three (3) metrics to consider when evaluating the success of your social media marketing.

If this is your first introduction to metrics, let’s begin with a definition of a metric.

What is a metric? A metric is a measurement; it can be a rate, ratio, or percentage. For example, take a look at your mobile phone battery display. The number up in the top corner is a metric (in my case, 92%) What a metric does is tell you the quantitative measurement for a specific dimension. (In this example, battery.)

In social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn there are thousands of metrics to consider for analysis. 

Metrics can be straight-forward (e.g.: # of followers is literally the number of followers you or your business has.) And metrics can be complex, such as the compound metric “Engagement Rate” 

What is a compound metric? A compound metric is a combination of at least two metrics. If we take the example of “Engagement Rate” we understand it to be a calculation of multiple data points. Stripped down, Engagement Rate reflects the number of engagements on a post by the total number of fans or followers. [Note: there is no standard formula to calculate “Engagement Rate” across social media channels.]

While engagement is central to social media, you’re better off to break your analysis down into specific actions (e.g.: “likes”, “comments”, “shares” etc.) which are reflected in metrics originating via Avinash Kaushik called “Conversation Rate”, “Amplification Rate” and “Applause Rate”, respectively.

We take this approach for the simple reason that we need specific data to make better decisions. If our “goal” in social media is to amplify our message, we’d probably zero-in on the “Amplification Rate”; this metric could help us make decisions around the types of content we share, when we share it and where we share it.

When I teach social media analytics, marketers and business owners will often ask which metrics to focus on. While I will always default to “it’s dependent on the overall marketing goals for your business” let me share a few metrics from Facebook (since that seems to be the most popular channel for businesses right now) that are a good place to start.  [Keep in mind that there isn’t one magic social media metric that says “YOU ARE WINNING!”]

Here are three social media metrics from Facebook to consider when analyzing your social media marketing program:

  1. Number of Followers/Number of Fans
  2. Daily Engaged Users
  3. Actions on a page

Number of Fans/Followers: As the name suggests, this metric reflects the total number of fans and followers on your business page. While I don’t typically recommend exclusively focusing on fans and followers because it isn’t a proxy for business success, I do think it’s important to keep an eye on when you’re investing time + resources in social channels.

Why look at this metric?  If the goal you have for your business via social media is to increase the community size, you must watch this number month-over-month. While knowing that the number increases or decreases doesn’t immediately tell you exactly what to do, it does tell you if you’re on course. For example, if you launch your business in a city of 1000 and notice via the data that your fans increase in that area by x% each month, you know your efforts are on track.

How can this metric be misleading? A high number of fans or followers doesn’t translate into important actions for your business (even if they are in the right region, demographic, etc.) What we (should) care about as businesses is the behaviour of our fans and followers.

Daily Engaged Users: This metric tells you the number of unique people who engaged with your social channel. (The important thing to note here is the use of the term “unique” – because it is a count of 1 – as in, one unique person. This differs from other metrics where actions by the same person can be counted multiple times, e.g.: impressions.) There’s a misconception that a high number of followers translates into business success. However, I’ve seen pages with thousands of followers, and hardly any “daily engaged users” nor a high CTR. 1.8% of their “fans” are active daily. On the flip side, I’ve encountered pages that have a small community size but encounter high volume of DEU.

Why look at this metric? If our goal is to build and engage our community, we want to see a steady increase in the number of daily engaged users. We want our fans to keep coming back day-after-day, rather than showing up once and never again.

How can this metric be misleading? The nature of social media is that if the content is appealing, it will be seen. For example, if you have a post that goes viral, you may see an increase in daily engaged users who just come for that one (1) post. The downside is that there’s a high probability that these people aren’t your ideal audience; and they won’t be coming back. So, like any metric, you should be looking for patterns and trends.

Actions On A Page: this metric tells you how many actions a visitor takes on your Facebook page. Generally, these are considered “high-value” actions such as clicking on “get directions”, your phone number, your website, and clicking on your action button.

Why look at this metric? Realistically, businesses leverage social channels because at the end of the day, they want to encourage people to buy their product or service. “Actions on a page” give a temperature check on the audiences actual engagement with the business (beyond social channels.) For example, if you see an increase in the number of “Get Directions” that’s a pretty good proxy to consider if you own a boutique clothing store. 

How can it be misleading? This is actually a fairly good metric to consider as it directly connects back to your business. However, just like everything online you have to truly look at the numbers. Low counts can be deceptive because someone may accidentally click on the phone number or website link, so you want to look at patterns and trends over time. 

Where can you find these metrics?

The key to choosing social media metrics is to think about what you’re trying to accomplish with a social channel as it relates to your business.

Think about how you can connect a social media metric to a business metric. Remember that there are lots of smoke and mirrors online, spend your time on the critical few and regularly (e.g.: monthly) check your numbers. 

If you need help, get in touch!

Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay is a Marketing Strategist, Writer + Speaker known for her no-nonsense approach to pretty much everything. Using data insights, she helps organizations market more effectively to get results that matter. She's also a high-scoring instructor at Mount Royal University, where she teaches Social Media Analytics and Google Analytics + Marketing Measurement. She holds certifications from Google, as well as Facebook and is currently working toward a specialization in Marketing Analytics and a certificate in Data Science from IBM. When she’s not busy juggling kids, volunteering + work, she’s busy planning her retirement to Cape Breton.