Five social media metrics businesses should follow

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Social media is a mine of data ready for you to tap into. Discover five meaty social media metrics that matter to businesses. 

Social media has settled comfortably into the business sphere. With a greater understanding of which metrics matter to businesses, we've moved away from 'vanity metrics' to in-depth analytics that can influence your business decisions. 

Vanity metrics are likes, shares, impressions, and followers, for example. They are the easy-to-measure wins that tell you little about real engagement or the success of your campaigns.  

To run an effective social media campaign, you need to identify the data relevant to your business and its goals. Measure and analyze that data and use the information to take appropriate actions. What you want are metrics linked to a precise target or objective.  

The following are five social media metrics to get stuck into.


Audience growth rate 

Rather than tracking new followers, your audience growth rate shows the rate at which you gained those followers expressed in percentage change over time.  

By measuring audience growth, you can evaluate your marketing efforts and see which campaigns are most effective by tracking peaks. You can also measure your competitors' audience growth rates and benchmark these against your own.  

Doing the math 

  1. Take your net new followers on a platform over a defined period (i.e., by month)  

  2. Divide net new followers by your total number of followers  

  3. Multiply by 100  


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 and shows if your social media campaigns resonate with your audience. Use this information to tailor your messaging to drive engagement. 

Doing the math 

  1. Add the total number of engagements – reactions, comments, shares – received by your posts  

  2. Divide the total number of engagements by your total number of followers on that platform  

  3. Multiply by 100  


Click-through Rate 

Your click-through rate is how often people click on the call-to-action (CTA) link in your posts. While a like or a share indicates a shallow level of engagement, clicking on a link or leaving a comment shows a deeper interest and a willingness to find out more.  

Tracking your click-through rate provides insight into whether your posts (and products or services) resonate with your target audience, and whether your content is engaging – or not.  

Doing the math 

  1. Divide the number of clicks per post by the total impressions  

  2. Multiply by 100  


Social media referrals 

This metric measures the number of visitors coming to your website from your social media accounts – i.e., when a visitor lands on your site by clicking a link in your bio or a post. Understanding which social platforms are driving the most traffic to your website can help you to focus your social strategy and highlight areas for improvement. 

Doing the math 

  1. Google Analytics tracks social media referrals (acquisition > social).  

  2. Google Analytics shows the percentage of referrals that come from social media and breaks it down by channel. Not only can you see paid and organic traffic, but you can also track return visitor numbers, which indicates the depth of engagement on your social networks.  


Assisted social conversions 

These are conversions driven by your social media activity. You can find this data through Google Analytics. It works as follows: 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 assisted social conversion.  

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

Doing the math 

  1. Google Analytics tracks assisted social conversions.  

  2. 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.