Which social media metrics to track to improve your performance
If you've ever tried your hand at social media, you'll know that it's not always a walk in the park. Sometimes, you put time, effort, and resources into producing a really high-quality piece of content, but when you publish it, you don't get the viral response you wanted right away.
It might be tempting to throw in the towel, but don't fret! Social media has made brands — big and small — into industry-shaking powerhouses. If you leverage it wisely, it can help you grow, too.
The secret to social media success isn't in learning some moves for TikTok and mastering your Insta-smile (though those things don't hurt, of course). No. The secret is measuring your social media success with metrics and tweaking your strategy accordingly.
To help you do just that, we'd like to share 15 social media metrics in this article.
Let's dive into it!
What are social media metrics, and why are they important for your content performance?
Put simply, social media metrics are data points that show how your strategy is currently performing. Social media metrics are how many comments you get, how many followers “like” your content, and how many people click links you share.
The most obvious use case of social media metrics is that you use them to tweak your strategy, so you get a better Return on Investment (ROI).
You can see a real-life example of this in the Instagram advertising campaign run by PlantIn — a “gardening companion.” PlantIn used A/B testing between the 18th and 26th of November 2021 to test ad placements on Reels. This test showed them that Reel ads cost 26% less per 1,000 views.
Subsequently, they adapted their Instagram ad strategy and now have a thriving business with 325K+ Instagram followers.
Of course, there are other benefits, too. For example,
- Tracking metrics can help you prove the value of your social media strategy to management.
- Tracking metrics can help you spot sudden shifts in your audience's sentiment and behavior.
- Tracking metrics lets you identify seasonal shifts that otherwise would be difficult to spot.
- Tracking metrics helps you quantify brand awareness and reach — two things that are notoriously difficult to pin down.
Note: If you're interested in learning more about the value of social media, read “Social Media Statistics 2022.”
15 metrics for social media success in 2022
Okay, so you know why you should track social media metrics, but what metrics should you look at exactly? If you Google “social media KPIs,” you'll find lists of 50+ metrics. How overwhelming!
Truthfully, the number of metrics doesn't matter as much as the metrics themselves. So, here's a shortened list of 15 metrics we suggest you start with.
Your content reach is the number of individuals who viewed your content. It's important to note that a “view” isn't the same between platforms:
- Facebook = a view counts when someone sees a post or watches three seconds of a video or live.
- Instagram = a view counts when someone sees a post or watches three seconds of a video. Repeated loops of a video don't count as a new view.
- Twitter = a view counts if users see a post or view at least two seconds of a video, plus at least 50% of the video player is in view.
- TikTok = a view counts as soon as the video starts playing.
- YouTube = a view counts when someone watches a video for at least 30 seconds.
There are a few ways to look at reach. You could look at the total reach per post/video, total reach per day, or a more specific figure like the total reach in the U.S — it depends on your preferences.
Social media impressions
Social media impressions count how many times your content has been viewed in total. Impressions count multiple views by the same person, whereas reach doesn't.
It's worth tracking both impressions and reaches because if you see that your impressions are far higher than your reach, it means your audience is viewing your content multiple times.
Audience growth rate
Audience growth rate looks at how quickly you are gaining followers. You can calculate it by applying this formula: (net new followers / total audience) * 100.
For example, if you gained ten new followers last week and have 150 followers total, your audience growth rate is 6.6%.
Tip: If you want to compare your progress to your competitors, track their new followers and calculate their audience growth rate. Follower data is public, so you may as well use it!
Social media engagement rate
Your social media engagement rate measures how much your audience engages with you. “Engagements” include leaving likes, comments, hearts, reactions, and sharing content.
You can calculate your engagement rate with this formula: (total engagement / total followers) * 100.
For example, if you got 150 engagements yesterday and have 15,000 followers, your engagement rate for the day was 1%.
To give you something to compare your engagement rate to, here was the average engagement rates per post on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter in 2020 and 2021:
Social share of voice (SSoV)
Your SSoV measures how many times people mention your brand compared to how often they mention other brands in your industry.
You can calculate it using this formula: (number of mentions for your brand/total mentions for the industry) * 100.
For example, if your brand got 150 mentions, Competitor A got 400 mentions, and Competitor B got 500 mentions, your social share of voice would be 14.2%.
The easiest way to track your social share of voice is with a social media tool that offers social listening. We'll cover a few of these tools in the “Tools for tracking social media metrics” section.
Video Completion Rate (VCR)
As the name suggests, this metric assesses how many people watch your videos all the way to the end. Video Completion Rate (VCR) is sometimes called “View-Through Rate” or “VTR.”
You can measure it with this formula: (view-throughs * 100) / number of impressions.
For example, if 100 people out of 1,000 finished your video, your VCR was 10%.
It's difficult to find data on average VCRs, as it differs greatly by device. Data from MarketingCharts suggests the average VCR was between 56% and 96% from 2016 to 2019.
Note: Video content is popular in 2022 — research on marketers shows that 88% are planning to use YouTube videos, 68% are planning to use LinkedIn videos, 68% are planning to use Instagram videos, and 65% are planning to use Facebook videos in 2022.
This metric doesn't have a formula exactly, but it's still very useful. Tracking the keywords that your posts rank well for will help you optimize them so they rank higher. You can also identify new keywords to target, as well as keywords that your audience is using to find you.
Note: If you can, you should try and determine which keywords your competitors are ranking well for. Then, you can create posts to compete for those keywords!
Marketing Return on Investment (ROI) has a BIG impact. Many organizations use marketing ROI to decide whether to invest further in a marketing strategy or slash the budget to ribbons in favor of greener pastures.
You can calculate your social media ROI with this formula: (social media revenue – social media costs) / social media costs.
For example, if your social media costs for 2021 were $1,200 and you made $15,000 in sales from social media, your ROI was $11.5 for every $1 invested.
Note: When calculating ROI, try to account for both direct costs (influencer deals, equipment costs, etc.) and indirect costs (labor costs, overhead costs, etc.).
Cost-Per-Click (CPC) only applies if you pay for social media ads. CPC helps you ensure you get the clicks you need from the ads you run.
You can calculate it with this formula: total ad spend / total clicks.
For example, if you spent $150 and got 1,000 clicks, you spent $0.15 per click.
Your CPC will differ wildly depending on the keywords and audience you are targeting — high-traffic keywords are much more expensive than low-traffic ones.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures how many of your customers are loyal supporters.
To calculate your NPS, you need to send customers a survey asking, “on a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend (brand) to a friend or colleague?”
Then, you support your respondents into three categories:
- Promoters = these people put 9-10
- Passives = these people put 7-8
- Detractors = these people put 0-6
You can then calculate your NPS by using this formula: percentage of promoters – percentage of detractors.
For example, if promoters were 55% and detractors were 5%, your NPS is 50%.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
As the name suggests, your Click-Through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who press your Call-To-Actions (CTAs) or click links you share.
You can calculate it with this formula: (total number of clicks / total number of impressions) * 100.
For example, if you got 50 clicks from 5,000 impressions, your CTA is 1%.
To give you a point of comparison, the average social media CTR was 1.3% in 2020 and 1.2% in 2019.
Influencer campaign metrics
Okay, this isn't a single metric, but it still matters! These metrics can help you determine how valuable each influencer campaign was. They include:
- Revenue and sales figures (“we made $250”)
- Brand awareness
- Impressions and views
- Brand mentions
- Hashtag uses
- CTA clicks
Traffic to brand's website
Finally, we suggest you consider how much your website traffic comes from social media.
This is best done with an analytic tool that can break down your traffic by channel — like the ones in the next section…
Tools for tracking social media marketing metrics
You can do a lot of the work involved in tracking your metrics for social media measurements by hand, but this can be very time-consuming. Instead, give one of these tools a go:
- Google Analytics. Google Analytics is smart and very customizable. You can analyze traffic from many platforms with a few easy clicks. Something that's neat about Google Analytics is that you can add Google Search Console as a traffic source and analyze your social media, content marketing, and website growth efforts side-by-side.
- SproutSocial. SproutSocial works for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more. It offers social listening, advanced analytics, and custom reporting.
- HubSpot. HubSpot's social media analytics are included with the HubSpot Marketing Hub. HubSpot is perfect for those who prefer charts and graphics to hard numbers.
- Curalate. Curalate is a great choice for marketers looking to analyze results from social media storefronts. It also tracks product mentions and User-Generated Content (UGC).
- Snaplytics. Snaplytics focuses on Instagram stories and Snapchat. It's perfect for analyzing stories of all sizes and shapes.
- Keyhole. Keyhole is the best tool around for those looking to analyze the performance of hashtags. Keyhole is also great for influencer marketing, and it provides social listening tools.
- Buzzsumo. BuzzSumo is perfect for analyzing shares and keywords. It also lets you compare your campaigns to your competitions'.
Get ahead with these social media performance metrics
You don't need to be an accounting whiz or a mathematician to measure social media success with numbers. The metrics and formulas we shared in this article only require a basic calculator, a little time, and access to your social media analytics data.
We hope that you found this guide useful and that it made measuring social media engagement a little less daunting.
And if you're looking to take your social media strategy to the next level with expert-written content and link-building, ask us how we can help you. Reach out to Mediaberry here!