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Ultimate social media metrics guide

by Khoros staff | Mar 31, 2023

Social media metrics guide

Metrics are key to understanding whether social media efforts are paying off. At the same time, social media success looks different from brand to brand; each business with its unique goals.

We created this guide to social media metrics to help empower you in knowing the right things to measure. If you struggle to know what metrics matter most for social media, you're not alone; Forrester notes that 44% of marketers haven’t been able to show the impact of their social media efforts.

We want to help you effectively measure your social media marketing strategy. In this guide, you will find everything you need to know about social media metrics: why they’re important, which metrics to track, and how to measure social media success.

Why track social media metrics?

Social media metrics help you know how well you are hitting your goals and inform whether you should continue with or drop a specific strategy.

For example, if you aim to increase engagement, tracking comments and replies let you see what content generates engagement and discussions. You may find that your audience responds most enthusiastically to videos, infographics, or even a specific topic matter. 

Alternatively, if your goal is to propel sales, metrics like click-through rate (CTR) and highest referral links tell you which content churns out those conversions.

The big question: What social media metrics do you measure?

Typically, four types of social media metrics correspond with different phases of the customer journey:

Customer journey stages

1. Awareness metrics

Awareness metrics reveal how much of a splash your brand makes in the market with audiences. These are important for companies to increase their footprint in the market and across social media.

Top awareness metrics:

Impressions: The number of times your content is seen, even if it’s not clicked on.

  • Reach: The number of unique people who saw your content. For example, if you have 1,000 followers who all saw your last post once, that post would have a reach of 1,000. If all of your followers saw the post twice, it would have 2,000 impressions but still have a reach of 1,000. You can even break 'reach' data into sub-groups like followers and non-followers to see how many new people view your content.

  • Followers/fans: The number of unique people following your account.

  • Brand mentions: The number of times your brand is mentioned on a social media platform.

  • Share of voice (SOV): A measure of how often your brand is mentioned compared to competitors, expressed as a percent. For example, if your brand had 50 mentions, competitor A had 30, and competitor B had 20 — your SOV would be 50%. SOV can include as many competitors as you want and is a good way to track how you stack up against competitor awareness.

  • Audience growth rate: The rate at which your brand is gaining new followers. You get this by dividing new followers by your total audience within a given timeframe.

For example, if you start with 10 followers and gain 90, your audience growth rate would be 90%. However, getting an additional 90 followers after this would yield a growth rate of only 47.4%. As your brand grows, you need more followers to achieve the same rate.

Special note on TikTok: TikTok offers different awareness metrics than other social media channels. TikTok Analytics does not show impressions, but it provides total video views during a specific date range and how many views an individual video received. With TikTok, you can track your trending videos and follower insights.

Here’s a visual reference for some of the awareness metrics above and a few others:

    2. Engagement metrics

    Engagement metrics show how audiences interact with your brand on social media.

    The most important engagement metrics to track are:

    • Reactions: An indication of how users felt about your post — through likes, loves, dislikes, sad faces, mad faces, and other emoji options that differ based on the platform.

    • Applause rate: The number of total reactions on a post relative to your total number of followers. Tracking applause rate lets you see the percentage of your follower base finding value in your published content.

    • Comments/replies: The number of user responses on a post. Comments are a great way to see how users feel about the content you’re publishing, and discussions between users are a great way to see how people are talking about your brand in an open space.

    • Shares/retweets: The number of times a user shared a post to their timeline.

    • Engagement rate: Number of times a post was interacted with through a reaction, comment, or share — divided by how many times it was viewed.

    • Amplification rate: The rate at which your followers share your content. This is calculated by taking the total number of post shares and dividing that figure by your total number of followers.

    • Virality rate: The number of people who shared a post relative to the number of unique impressions over a specific period, revealing how viral a post went. To calculate this, choose a date range and divide the number of post shares by the total number of impressions.

    Special note on TikTok: TikTok’s engagement metrics (in the ‘Overview’ tab of Analytics) show likes, comments, and shares — however the data is displayed as the total number of likes, etc., for a given date range. Most notably, you can view the total number of profile views over a selected period, which indicates how many people viewed your profile after watching one of your TikToks.

    TikTok’s engagement rate is also calculated slightly differently. The formula is as follows:

    [(Number of likes + number of comments + number of shares) / number of views] X 100

    Here’s a visual reference for some of the engagement metrics above and a few others:

    3. Conversion metrics

    Conversion metrics indicate how successful your social media efforts are in achieving a specific goal. Common examples of conversion goals include driving purchases, website visits, newsletter sign-ups, downloads, and event registrations among others. To measure social media conversion metrics, you’ll need to use social media management software with tracking capabilities.

    The most important conversion metrics to track are:

    • Conversion rate: The ratio of people who clicked on a link within your post and completed the desired action, compared to the number of people who saw it. This is calculated by taking the total number of social media based conversions and dividing it by the number of total post impressions.

    • Click-through-rate (CTR): The ratio of people who clicked on the link within your post, relative to the total number of people who saw it. This is similar to conversion rate, but sometimes people will click the link and decide not to convert. Comparing your CTR to your conversion rate will provide insight on how many people drop off at the last stage of the customer journey.

    • Bounce rate: This is the percentage of people who clicked a link on your post, but left without taking an action. Conversion rate shows the ratio of people who converted, CTR shows the ratio of people who clicked, while bounce rate shows the ratio of people who clicked but almost immediately left. A high bounce rate can indicate a problem with your page, such as a technical issue or lack of relevance to the message in the post.

    • Average order value: The average value of each purchase made by customers on social media. Knowing this can help you determine what products to promote on social media. If your average order value is $100, you may have trouble promoting a product priced at $200.

    Additionally, many brands are using paid ads on social media to drive conversions. For paid ads, you’ll want to track these social media metrics:

    • Cost per thousand impressions (CPM): The cost of 1,000 people seeing your promoted post.

    • Cost per click (CPC): The cost for each person who clicks on your link.

    • Cost per engagement (CPE): The cost to obtain an engagement with a post, such as generating reactions, replies, shares, clicks, etc.

    Here’s a visual reference for some of the paid metrics above and a few others:

    4. Customer service metrics

    One of the most important parts of the customer journey is the care you provide to retain customers and turn them into loyal advocates for your brand.

    Research shows that acquiring a new customer can cost 5x more than retaining an existing customer while increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits by 25-95%. This is because selling to a new customer has a much lower success rate than selling to an existing customer with whom you’ve already built trust.

    Customer care metrics measure the efficiency and effectiveness of your digital contact center and customer satisfaction with the support process.

    The most important customer care metrics to track are:

    • Response time: How long it takes for a customer to receive a response from your brand, including direct messages and brand mentions in posts.

    • Resolution rate: The rate at which customer service inquiries are resolved. Related to this, you should also measure the first contact resolution rate, which indicates the rate at which inquiries are resolved from the time of the customer’s first point of contact.

    • Support ticket volume: This is a measure of the total number of support inquiries received in a specified period. Monitoring this is important to ensure your contact center doesn’t get overwhelmed.

    • Average resolution time: This indicates the average time it takes to resolve a customer inquiry. This should be measured for your contact center and for each agent to gauge their efficiency.

    • Customer satisfaction (CSAT): This is a measure of how satisfied customers are with your product, service, or experience. This metric doesn’t exclusively apply to customer service but is often collected through surveys after an interaction. Measuring it is complex, but you can learn how in our guide.

    • Net promoter score (NPS): NPS measures the loyalty of your existing customers and how likely they are to recommend your brand to others. Customers are grouped into promoters, passives, and detractors to help brands forecast customer churn and growth.

    • Customer effort score (CES): CES measures how easy it is for customers to engage with your brand and is an excellent indicator of the customer experience. On social media, brands may use CES to get insights about how easy it is for a customer to get rerouted to the appropriate channel based on the nature of their question.

    How to measure social media success

    These social media metrics will tell you what to track, but how you measure overall success will depend on your brand’s unique goals.

    If you’d like to start tracking these social media metrics to create and measure goals for your brand, Khoros offers award-winning social media management software to help. Learn about our social media management software, including features, benefits, and case studies — or request a demo today.

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