| Jun 12, 2023 | | 13 min read

20 social media metrics you need to track your client’s online growth


Creating a social media strategy is only one step in building a vibrant online presence for your clients. You also need to track the right social media metrics, so you can gauge the performance of your efforts, and more importantly, show the value of the powerful social media packages you’re selling.

Be successful with social media on behalf of your clients by downloading “The ultimate guide to effective social media for business” now.

There are many metrics to choose from, but we’re not going to overwhelm you with analytics. Read on for an essential guide on how to measure social media success. You’ll learn the meaning of key social media metrics and how to pick the best ones to inform your marketing strategy.

1. Reach

Reach is the number of unique users who see your social posts. This metric gives insight into how many accounts your post was shown to, but not the number of times users saw or engaged with the content.

Use this metric to measure brand visibility and how widely your content is distributed. You’ll want to increase reach over time to tap into a bigger audience and build brand recognition.

Reach typically includes users who:

  • Follow your account
  • See the post in search results
  • See the post because the platform’s algorithms thought they’d be interested
  • Are connected to people who follow your account or interacted with the content by liking, sharing, or commenting

2. Impressions

Impressions refer to the number of times a post is seen, including multiple views by a single user. This metric is often confused with reach, but think of it this way: a post might have a reach of two unique users, but if both viewed it twice, it has four impressions.

A post might display in a user’s feed multiple times because different people have shared it. Users may also purposely return to a post to rewatch a video, follow up on comments, or obtain useful information such as an article link or promo code.

Impressions can indicate interest in a post, helping you assess if you’re delivering impactful content to your audience and starting to build relationships.

3. Engagement rate

Engagement rate is the percentage of people interacting with a post through comments, shares, and likes. While this metric doesn’t reflect conversions, it tells you how users are responding to content and whether you’re building an interested audience that can potentially translate into customers down the road.

To calculate the engagement rate, divide the number of engagements by total reach and multiply by 100 to get a percentage. It’s important to note average engagement rate varies by channel, so it’s common if your engagement rate is lower on some platforms. In 2021, the average engagement rate on TikTok was 5.96%, followed by Instagram at 0.83%, Facebook at 0.13%, and Twitter at 0.05% [Statista, 2022].

4. Click-through rate

Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of users who click on a post or ad compared to the number of those who see it. This is one of the best social media metrics to track when assessing how well a campaign motivates an audience to learn more.

CTR tells you how many users click on a post to perform an activity such as reading a blog, browsing products, learning about an offer, or subscribing to a mailing list. Clicks are the first step to drawing people into your marketing funnel.

To calculate CTR, divide the total number of clicks by total impressions and multiply by 100. A low CTR may be a sign that you need to spark more interest from users by refining messages, targeting different keywords, getting creative with social content, or clarifying the call-to-action.

5. Conversion rate

Conversion rate measures the percentage of users that complete a desired action on your website after clicking through from a post or ad. This metric helps you determine the success of a campaign or the return on investment of your social marketing efforts.

Most ecommerce companies count sales as a conversion, but you can choose the action that best corresponds with the campaign goal. If you’re trying to generate leads for a client, you might count a white paper download or free trial as a conversion.

Calculate the conversion rate by dividing the number of successfully completed actions by the number of visitors to the landing page or website.

6. Follower growth rate

Follower growth rate tells you how quickly you’re attracting users who want to connect with your account and receive updates in their feed. Aim to increase follower growth rate to expand your audience for potential engagement and conversions, and to monitor if competitors are growing their audiences at a faster pace than your client.

Follower growth rate is expressed as a percentage increase or decrease during a specific time period. To track this metric monthly, find the difference between the number of followers at the start and end of the month. Divide the difference by the initial number of followers and multiple by 100 to get a percentage.

7. Share of voice (SOV)

SOV compares how often a brand is mentioned in online conversations versus a competitor. It gives you a sense of who customers are talking about the most in a niche and how your client’s company fits into the industry landscape.

While SOV is helpful for comparing online interest in brands, it also provides insight into what users think about other businesses so you can adapt your strategies accordingly. As your marketing efforts begin to take hold, audiences should become more aware of your client’s brand and interact more with your social accounts, creating a corresponding uptick in SOV.

To calculate the SOV, add the number of mentions of your client’s brand and a competitor’s brand to get a total number of mentions. Divide the mentions of your client’s brand by total mentions and multiply by 100 to determine your percentage share of the conversation.

8. Social media mentions

Social media mentions is the number of times a brand is referenced in a post or comment. Users may tag a brand’s account, use a branded hashtag, or mention the brand without a tag.

By monitoring mentions, you can quantify interest in a brand in terms of online conversations. To track this metric, set up monitoring tools to alert you to mentions of brand and product names, using different forms of the names and misspellings to more accurately capture mentions.

9. Brand sentiment

Brand sentiment describes how an audience feels about a brand overall. Unlike mentions, which focus on a number, this metric looks at whether the intent behind a discussion is positive, negative, or neutral.

Use brand sentiment to shape future marketing strategies. Make note of what audiences like about your client’s brand, what can be improved, and the ways they compare the brand to competitors.

You can also turn negative sentiment into positive sentiment. Be sure to respond swiftly to negative comments or requests for help to shape brand reputation on social platforms.

10. Hashtag performance

Hashtag performance is a metric similar to mentions that help gauge brand awareness and interest in a business or its products.

People add branded hashtags to posts when sharing opinions or experiences with other users and typically aren’t addressing brands directly. By monitoring use of branded hashtags, you can see how often customers are talking about a brand, and compare the number of hashtags to that of competitors.

You can also create campaign-specific hashtags when launching a new promotion, especially when inviting user-generated content. A campaign hashtag can help you assess how well a marketing strategy is engaging your audience.

11. Cost per click

Cost per click (CPC) is one of the most important social media metrics when running paid campaigns. It indicates how much you spend to generate one click so you can assess the cost-effectiveness of your ads.

Use CPC to determine if your ads are reaching the right audience and whether you’re spending effectively for the clicks generated. To determine cost per click, divide the total cost of an ad campaign by the total number of clicks generated.

When analyzing data, you’ll find that cost per click varies by industry, keyword, and platform. For example, in 2021, the average CPC in U.S. dollars was $5.26 on LinkedIn, $3.56 on Instagram, $3.21 on YouTube, $0.97 on Facebook, and $0.38 on Twitter (Statista, 2023).

12. Cost per impression

Cost per impression (CPI) is the amount you spend on an advertising campaign each time the ad appears on a user’s screen. Some people calculate this as cost per mille (CPM) or cost per one thousand impressions.

Both CPI and CPM are useful for determining if your sponsored post or ad is reaching a wide enough audience or getting enough visibility based on spending. While this metric doesn’t measure clicks, it is a helpful measurement if your goal is to boost brand awareness.

Calculate CPI by dividing the total cost of the ad campaign by the total number of impressions. Multiply CPI by 1,000 to determine CPM.

13. Social media referral traffic

Referral traffic tells you how many visitors land on a client’s website due to the high-quality social media management you’re providing. You can drive website traffic through carefully crafted content or ads that motivate people to click.

When you separate social media traffic by platform, you can get a sense of which channels are driving the most users to your website. Use this information to see which platforms are successfully engaging audiences and where you may need to adjust your strategies. You can also compare total social media traffic to traffic generated through search engine or email marketing. This helps you analyze the return you’re getting through different channels.

14. Time spent on site

When your social marketing efforts pay off and you’ve successfully enticed visitors to click through to your client’s website, you’ll want them to stick around. Use the time spent on site metric to determine how long audiences are browsing products and services or reading the company’s blog.

If the time spent on site is low, website content isn’t meeting the audience’s expectations. Look at ways to optimize the site to better engage visitors and improve the chances of converting. It’s also critical that brand voice and image carry through seamlessly from social media. If you’re drawing visitors through visually beautiful Instagram posts, for example, make sure the website delivers a similar experience.

15. Return on investment

Return on investment (ROI) is the amount of revenue generated by social marketing compared to the cost of these efforts. ROI determines how effectively you’re spending social media dollars and what you’re getting in return.

To calculate ROI for a specific online campaign, take the earnings attributed to the campaign and subtract the cost of the campaign to determine profit. Then, divide the profit by the cost of the campaign and multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

This metric has the same meaning whether you’re offering social media through a white-label service or directly through your agency. A high ROI can support the case for continued investment in social marketing, and a low ROI may mean you need to optimize campaigns to boost results.

16. Customer acquisition cost

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the amount of money spent on social media marketing to land one new customer. While it’s important to expand your client’s customer base to continue driving revenue, those customers should be acquired in the most cost-effective way.

Your CAC may be high when you’re just beginning to build a social media presence. Aim to reduce CAC over time to boost profitability.

Calculate CAC by dividing the total cost of a campaign by the number of new customers acquired by the campaign. You can also calculate CAC by channel or time period, such as monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

17. Customer lifetime value

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the total value of one customer because of repeat business. It’s useful to grow CLV because it means you’re building a loyal and satisfied customer base, making you less reliant on acquiring new customers.

To calculate this metric, you’ll need historical data, including the average amount of a purchase, the average number of purchases made, and the average number of years someone remains a customer.

18. Net promoter score

Net promoter score (NPS) gauges a customer’s likelihood of promoting a brand or product to others. NPS can be such a valuable metric, it’s used by two-thirds of Fortune 1000 companies (Harvard Business Review, 2021).

Happy, satisfied customers often advocate on behalf of businesses without being asked. This audience segment is critical, because 83% of Americans are more likely to purchase a product or service if recommended by friends or family (Convince & Convert, 2018).

NPS is calculated by asking customers how likely they are to recommend the business on a scale of 1 to 10. Those responding with a rating of 9 and above are considered promoters and most likely to be advocates, so you should aim to move as many customers into the promoters category as possible.

19. Customer satisfaction rate

Customer satisfaction rate reflects how well a brand is meeting customer needs. It’s crucial to track and improve satisfaction rate as customers increasingly share poor experiences and seek a resolution to problems on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google.

Customer satisfaction rate is determined by asking customers to rate their satisfaction after a transaction. Average the scores and multiply by 100 to get a satisfaction percentage. This metric tells you if you need to better address customer complaints, respond more quickly to issues, or improve customer communication.

20. Audience demographics

While you should have a good sense of who you’re targeting before creating your marketing strategies, tracking audience demographics tells you who’s actually following and interacting with your client’s social accounts.

As your content is shared more widely, you may find you’re gaining new audience segments you didn’t know about. Knowing the demographics of your online audience helps you to customize strategies that appeal to them.

Social platforms provide a range of audience insights such as age, gender, income, marital status, education, location, job title, interests, type of device used, and when users are most often on a platform. Regularly analyze this data to better appeal to your customers.

Frequently asked questions

Why are social media metrics important for businesses?

A successful social media strategy is made up of many moving parts. You have to identify the right audience segment, customize your content, select the best platforms, drive traffic, and encourage customers to take action — all in the most cost-effective way possible. With social media analytics metrics, you can assess campaign performance and how well you’re achieving your goals. You’ll learn which areas of your strategy need improvement, so you can optimize tactics to achieve the best results.

How can I track social media metrics for multiple platforms?

When managing multiple social accounts, a tool such as Social Marketing enables you to access data from a single dashboard. You can review and monitor post performance and gather audience analytics for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This enables you to track metrics that matter most to your bottom line, compare results across platforms, and streamline how you collect and present data to clients.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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