Measuring up: 6 metrics you should be tracking on social media

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Understanding what’s worth measuring – and what’s worth skipping – when it comes to your social media efforts


If you’re someone who tends to shy away from numbers, social media analytics can seem daunting at first.

There are so many things that can be measured, especially when looking across different platforms – so how can you tell what’s worth your time and what isn’t?

Many of the metrics below have something in common: context.

We always want to try to track our actionable metrics rather than our vanity metrics.

While vanity metrics such as the number of followers or total number of retweets can look good on paper or in a quarterly status presentation, they don’t actually help you move towards your social media goals.

That’s why actionable metrics should be the focus of your efforts. They provide context and, as the name suggests, are actionable pieces of information that can help you make informed decisions about content and campaigns.

With that said, here are six things you should be measuring across all of your social media accounts:

1. Engagement rate

This is the social part of social media. How are people responding to, and engaging with, your content? Likes, shares, comments, retweets, etc. are all opportunities to engage with your audience and potentially boost your messages to people beyond your typical network.

The engagement rate is simply calculated as the total number of interactions on a post divided by your total number of followers. From there, multiply the number by 100% to get a final percentage.

Via Hopper HQ

By keeping track of how much and how often people interact with your content over time, you can start to get a strong idea of what content does and doesn’t work well on different social media platforms.

But be careful here: it’s nice to get lots of likes and retweets on a single post, but it’s much more important to get consistent engagement over time. That’s why the engagement rate is crucial to measure rather than just tracking engagement. Engagement rates help you see how your social media content performs over time and is independent of your follower count.

2. Conversion rate

Conversion rates help you keep track of how good your posts are at getting audiences to do something – otherwise known as converting – whether that’s signing up for a webinar, purchasing a ticket to an annual conference or downloading an ebook.

The conversion rate is calculated by taking the total number of conversions and dividing it by the number of total interactions of a post or campaign.

If you’re running a campaign with clear goals in mind, tracking the conversion rate is one of the best ways to check the performance and impact of a campaign (both during and after the campaign’s run).

3. Follower growth rate

300 followers may not be that impressive, but if you started with only 25 followers the month prior, that’s a huge jump in audience size.

That’s why tracking your follower growth rate is far more important than simply keeping an eye on your total number of followers.

A Twitter account with 1,000 followers and a 1% follower growth rate is far less impressive than a Twitter account with 200 followers and a 20% follower growth rate. The follower growth rate is all about growing your audience size in the proportional context of your current audience size.

4. Impressions

Impressions are an easy metric to follow on just about any social media platform, as it answers one of the most basic questions we ask when posting online: how many eyeballs are seeing my content?

And while it’s certainly not a metric that is helpful in and of itself for driving content decisions, it can be a nice guide for better understanding how often your content is seen across different social media platforms.

Plus, if your goal is to increase awareness of your organisation on social media, aiming for a high impression count is a great place to start. 

5. Follower demographics

While this metric is technically a collection of data points about your followers – gender identity, age range, location, etc. – it can sometimes be a crucial piece of your social media metrics puzzle.

By understanding who your audience is and possibly where they’re from and what they’re interested in, we can tailor the type of content we post to fit what they’re looking for.

Perhaps you notice that the vast majority of your Twitter followers are in the 40-55 year age range. Because of this, it might be a good idea to not overdo it with emojis or to heavily rely on reposting TikTok content, as it doesn’t really fit with what this demographic would be interested in.

(Side note: This is a generalised example and if you are someone in this age range who loves using emojis and frequently scrolls through TikTok, more power to you!)

6. Traffic

OK, so this one is cheating a little bit, because it’s a metric that you need to track outside of your social media analytics tool, but is still just as important to track.

Let me explain.

By better understanding where your website traffic is coming from, you can make informed decisions on where to spend your time and resources on social media. After all, the ultimate goal of an organisation’s social media presence should be to drive audiences to your website.

Are you only getting 20 visitors from Facebook but 10,000 from LinkedIn? Then maybe the time and resources you’re spending on Facebook aren’t worth it in the end and you should instead focus on your dedicated LinkedIn audience.

This simple guide from Campaign Monitor shows how you can track social media traffic on Google Analytics, so be sure to check it out if you’re interested in seeing just where exactly your website visitors are coming from.

Which metrics are you measuring on your social media channels? Let us know on Twitter.

And if you’re interested in learning more about social media analytics, or are looking to refresh your social media skills, get in touch for a customised training.

About Ali Colwell

Ali Colwell is a trainer, copywriter and the Managing Director of Clear Europe. Her previous work includes helping finance and technology companies in Belgium and New York elevate their online branding and social media efforts.

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