Ever experienced a burst of dopamine after receiving a new follower, like, or share? Although these numbers can feel like an affirmation that you’re acing your social media strategy, the truth is they’re a mediocre indicator of performance. (For example, while gaining a thousand new followers may seem impressive, it becomes significantly less impactful when you realize they’re all bots.) In fact, the number one mistake that many marketing amateurs make is focusing on chasing after these vanity social media metrics.
Social media metrics have long been a tricky thing to master — the numbers fluctuate, you’re not sure what to look at, and it can be unclear what to do next. The challenge only mounts when you realize your social media efforts cover thousands of interactions across platforms.
Whether you’re just getting started with social media marketing or are a seasoned professional, it’s crucial that you dig behind the data, find the bigger story, and make key decisions based on genuine insights.
That’s why we’re here to help you out — though we can’t offer magical KPIs that you should strive for, we can point you in the right direction in terms of social media metrics that deserve your attention. With that, you’ll be one step closer to attracting new audiences, engaging existing customers, and reaching your ecommerce goals.
1. Audience Growth Rate
Rather than count the number of followers you have, we recommend tracking the rate at which your followership is growing. (Even better, track the audience growth rate for your competitors as well.) It’ll give you insight into the impact of specific campaigns and tactics over time.
How to calculate it:
- Choose a reporting period.
- Count the number of your net new followers during that period.
- Divide your net new followers by the number of your total audience.
- Multiply the number by 100 for your audience growth rate percentage.
How to boost it: Rather than treating each of your marketing channels as separate silos, don’t be afraid to cross-promote. For instance, send an email to customers encouraging them to follow you on social media if they haven’t already (for access to exclusive content or a similar offer).
2. Average Engagement Rate
The best marketers treat social media as a two-way communication channel rather than a one-way broadcast. With that said, calculating your average engagement rate can provide you with a glimpse into whether your content truly resonates with your audience. When someone interacts with your account, they’re acknowledging it’s caught their eye and deserves their time to respond.
When measuring average engagement rates, you’ll realize the specific number of likes, shares, and comments you receive don’t actually matter — getting 30 comments on a post is a lot more meaningful when you only have 150 followers.
How to calculate it:
- For every post, add up the total number of likes, shares, and comments.
- Divide it by your total followers.
- Multiply that by 100 for your average engagement rate.
How to boost it: Ask questions, use polls, post a challenge — anything that encourages responses can go a long way in increasing engagement rates.
Pro Tip: If you’re seeing low numbers, don’t freak out! The ideal average engagement rate differs between platforms — you’ll usually see numbers that hover around 0.2-1% for Facebook and Twitter, but this number rises significantly for Instagram at 3-6%.
3. Post Reach
Not sure if people see your content? Post reach can be a good metric to analyze the effectiveness of your posting strategy, including the date and time.
How to calculate it:
- Find the reach of your post (usually provided by the platform).
- Divide the number by your total number of followers.
- Multiply it by 100 for your post reach percentage.
How to boost it: A/B test your post frequency, date, and time to determine your ideal strategy. Remember: There is no magic formula — it’ll depend on your audience’s habits and preferences!
4. Conversion Rate
The goal of social media marketing is to drive more conversions, whether that’s completing a purchase, subscribing to emails, or joining a loyalty program. No matter what your CTA is, your conversion rate is a critical number that’ll reveal how effective your posts are at driving these actions. A high conversion rate means that your content is compelling enough that people are willing to learn more.
How to calculate it: No calculations are needed here! Head over to your ecommerce analytics platform to check the total number of clicks and conversions driven by specific social media posts.
How to boost it: If people are clicking but not converting, there might be a disconnect between your post and your landing page. Check that your messaging, visuals, and offers are consistent, so shoppers have a seamless experience.
Running social media ads? Cost-per-click is the metric for you, especially if you’re struggling to keep your budget under control. As its name implies, cost-per-click is the spend for each click on your social media ads, whether on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. It’ll help you determine if your investment in a specific platform, ad type, or ad creative is a great use or massive waste of your budget.
How to calculate it: No calculations are needed! It’ll be provided in your ad analytics platform.
How to boost it: Lowering your cost-per-click will involve A/B testing all the different elements of your ads, including platform type, ad type, messaging, imagery, CTA, and more.
6. Click-Through Rate
Your click-through rate is how often someone clicks on the CTA in your social media ads. It’s a great tool when you’re A/B testing the various elements that your ad comprises — have more people clicked on an ad with a “Learn More” versus a “Shop Now” button? Or maybe the ad using a lifestyle photo received more clicks than the one with a product photo?
How to calculate it:
- Count the total of clicks on a social media ad.
- Count the total impressions on that same ad.
- Divide the total clicks by the total impressions.
- Multiply the number by 100 for your click-through rate percentage.
How to boost it: Similar to cost-per-click, you’ll want to experiment with all the different parts of your ad to see their impact on the click-through rate.
Get Measuring! 📏
With these six social media metrics, you’re well on your way to better organic and paid social media marketing. But we’ve got one last tip for you: While each social media platform will provide its unique analytics, you’ll want to leverage an all-in-one dashboard tool like AdRoll to see how everything works together.
Most online shoppers will experience multiple social media touchpoints before converting, so you’ll want to see precisely how each platform drives results before attributing credit. This will also give you a better idea of where you can improve.
For more data and analytics tips, don’t forget to visit the AdRoll Marketing Resource Library. Don’t wait — start tracking, measuring, and analyzing now!
Angie is the Content Marketing Manager at AdRoll. Prior to AdRoll, she was a Content Writer at various digital marketing agencies. A writer by day and a reader by night, Angie’s other hobbies include cooking and learning useless movie trivia.