Posted on 27 November, 2019  |  3 mins

Social media is a mine of data. We consider five meaty social media metrics that matter to businesses

Now that social media has settled comfortably into the business sphere, there’s a greater understanding of which metrics matter most. As a result, there’s been a distinct move away from what are termed ‘vanity metrics’.

Vanity metrics are familiar measures such as likes, impressions, and even followers. They’re easy wins that are easy to measure and tell you little about real engagement or the success of your campaigns. 

Any metric not linked to a precise goal or objective is a vanity metric; an effective social media campaign requires you to identify the data relevant to your business and its goals, measure and analyse that data and distil it into appropriate actions.

The following are five meaty social media metrics to get stuck into:

1. Audience Growth Rate

Rather than simply tracking how many followers you gained, this metric shows the rate at which you gained them – expressed in per cent-change over time. By measuring audience growth, you can evaluate your marketing efforts and see which campaigns are most effective.

Bonus: you can also measure your competitors’ audience growth rates and benchmark these against your own.  

Doing the math

  • Take your net new followers on a platform over a defined period (i.e. a given month)
  • Divide net new followers by your total number of followers
  • Multiply by 100

Audience growth rate2

2. Average Engagement Rate

This metric considers the total number of engagements – reactions, comments, shares – received by your posts against your total number of followers. Measuring engagement relative to your follower base helps to identify your core audience, if your social media campaigns resonate with them and how to tailor your messaging to better engage them.

Doing the math

  • Add the total number of engagements – reactions, comments, shares – received by your posts
  • Divide the total number of engagements by your total number of followers on that platform
  • Multiply by 100

Average engagement rate

3. Click-through Rate

This is how often people click on the call-to-action link in your posts. While a like, share or comment indicates a shallow level of engagement, clicking on a link indicates a deeper interest and a willingness to be diverted to find out more.

Tracking your click-through rate gives you insight into whether your offering resonates with your target audience and if your posts are engaging.

Doing the math

  • Measure total clicks per post
  • Measure total impressions for the same period
  • Divide the number of clicks by the number of impressions
  • Multiply by 100

click through rate

4. Social Media Referrals

This measures the number of visitors coming to your website from your social media accounts – i.e. when a link in your bio or a post directs a visitor to your site. Understanding which social platforms are driving the most traffic to your website can be used to focus your social strategy and highlight areas for improvement.

Doing the math

Social media referrals are tracked through Google Analytics (acquisition > social).

Google Analytics shows the percentage of referrals that come from social media and breaks it down by channel. Not only can you discern between paid and organic traffic (if you use UTM parameters on your social links), you can track return visitor numbers which indicate the depth of engagement on your social networks.

5. Assisted Social Conversions

These are conversions that your social media activity assisted on. For example, if a social media referral lands on your website but leaves before completing a goal – a purchase, download, or other action – they’re a social visitor. However, if they return a little later and complete a goal, they’re considered an associated social conversion.

This is a useful social metric as it connects social media data with business profits and helps identify/measure social activity return on investment.

Doing the math

Assisted social conversions are tracked through Google Analytics.

To work out assisted social conversions, set conversion goals on Google Analytics then follow social media referrals through social channels and track conversions over a period.