Social Media Analytics – What They Are and Why You Should Track Them

While a new, important metric seems to be popular every week, specifics that should be tract will vary by industry, individual brand, and even campaigns. As you build your approach to social media analytics, it’s important to understand the basic metrics that every brand should keep an eye on. Knowing exactly what specific social media core measurements are and why they are important is your first step to a strong social media analytics plan. Consider these as the basic metrics to build your approach to social media analytics around.


What are social media metrics and why should you track them?

Ultimately, your metrics should be determined by your social media goals. For every goal you have, there should be a related metric that will help you determine whether or not your social strategy is having a positive impact.

If your business goal is to increase conversions, your social media goal should be to increase conversions from those that visit your site via posts that are part of your social marketing strategy. With a goal in mind, a social media metric that will measure content performance can be clearly identified. Social media metrics can measure how successful a campaign is, how well your social strategy is performing, and ultimately if it will have an impact on your bottom line.

Accessibility to these metrics provides you the opportunity to showcase the impact of your work to your company and can lead to major shifts for your social team. Metrics can also help to keep you aware of your general social profile and brand health. Having the data to back up the impact of your social media presence takes the guesswork out of future campaigns.


Which social media metrics should be measured?

Every social media platform has its own native analytics for you to dive into. Facebook offers Insights, Twitter offers Twitter Analytics and so on. These native analytics resources are an excellent starting point especially if you have a low budget or are just starting out.

You may also find you want to invest in a social media analytics tool to save you the time it takes to manually pull metrics from various social platforms and create corresponding reports. Regardless of whether you use the free or paid version of analytics tools, it is important to monitor and document your metrics somewhere on a consistent basis and track your progress toward your goals.

All metrics have meaning. It is the interpretation of the metric that tells you how things are going in relation to your business goals. Here are some options that might help inform your future practices.



Engagement is a large category that delineates how much and how often audience accounts are interacting with your account. Each social network has some sort of engagement metric that is a total sum of smaller engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares. High engagement rates indicate how responsive your audience is and how many real followers are interested in your content and aware of your brand. Looking at a combination of metrics is a great way to learn more about what levers you can pull to meet your specific goals.

Likes, Comments, Retweets, etc.: Individual engagement metrics like a Share or a Retweet add up. In a Twitter report, you’ll see a total number of engagements per post or profile.

Post engagement rate: The number of engagements divided by impressions or reach. A high rate means the people who see the post find it interesting.

Account mentions: Organic mentions, like @mentions that aren’t part of a reply, or tagging a brand in an Instagram story without prompting, indicate good brand awareness.


Awareness: Impressions & reach

Frequently used terms but often confused with one another, impressions and reach are each an important metric to track, especially if your goals for social are focused around brand awareness and perception. At the post level, impressions are how many times a post shows up in someone’s timeline and reach is the potential unique viewers a post could have. Impressions can tell you a lot about the potential your content has for visibility on social media channels on its own. Reach is usually calculated by taking into consideration your follower count plus accounts that shared the post’s follower counts.


Share of voice: Volume and sentiment

Share of voice indicates how much of the online sphere your brand is taking part in. It is a metric that is often used in public relations or as part of a competitive analysis or paid advertising campaign. If your brand has an ongoing goal of improving your share of voice, you measure that improvement by benchmarking over time. While you may not be able to capture the largest share of voice, you can certainly track how it fluctuates over time and consider the factors for those vacillations.

Referrals & conversions

Return on investment, or ROI, is the simplest example of an important social metric. For most companies with a website or ecommerce platform, social referral traffic and conversions are tied to both sales and marketing goals, and the related major business goals for your brand. Google Analytics or built-in resources on an ecommerce platform like Shopify or Squarespace will help you track referrals and conversions.

To review, referrals indicate how a user gets to your website. In web analytics, they will be broken down into sources. Conversions are when someone completes a desired action like purchasing something from your site or downloading a resource. A social conversion means they visited via a social media channel and then purchased something on that same visit.


Response rate & time

Customer care should always be a priority, regardless of your industry. Metrics like response rate and response time can help you understand your own performance as well as your customers’ experience with your brand. Being able to track how fast your team is responding to important messages and how many of them are actually being responded to is of utmost importance. If you have multi-user accounts, you should also consider tracking how much each team member is getting done.


In Summary

There are dozens of social media metrics that are available to you to track. The key is to focus on the ones most essential for reaching your business goals. Metrics are important because they can tell you if a campaign or strategy is successful over time or needs to be tweaked for better performance. For a full view of your social media performance, the most common and often important metrics to pay attention to are engagement, impressions and reach, share of voice, referrals and conversions, and response rate and time. Measuring the results of your social media efforts can make the difference between taking shots in the dark and actually seeing a return on your marketing investment.

The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing understand how important it is to identify trends and inconsistencies to best understand how your social media efforts are performing, which channels are most effective, and where your efforts require change. We’d love to help you through the process of identifying which metrics will help your brand to ensure a steady stream of leads and paying customers. Contact us today to get started!

Cover photo by bruce mars from Pexels