How do you measure the success of your campaign?

Having a clever idea for a targeted social media campaign is great. However, if you don’t have an idea how the campaign performed, how will you know if it worked?

A graph/scale/chart representing measurement of a campaign

For example, you might publish regular posts on different platforms with different types of content. Unless you’re tracking each element, you won’t know which was most well received, or which translated most effectively into sales or leads. This is especially important when you’re investing money in paid campaigns, so that you don’t waste money in future.

Metrics

Metrics – the measures you use to track your campaign’s success – can help you understand where your campaigns are working. The question is: in an online world in which almost anything can be measured, which metrics should you track or prioritise?

No two social media campaigns are alike. They will have different content and clients, and different audiences and objectives. As you saw last week, part of your objective-setting should consider the desired outcome of the campaign and, crucially, how you will be able to tell that has happened.

Last week, you explored paid and organic reach, and saw how you might need to use a combination of approaches to find your target audience effectively. Anyone can pay to reach a lot of eyes on the internet. What counts more than how many people viewed a piece of content is what they did next.

Metrics are the recordable proof of a campaign, and take many different approaches, including the following four forms:

1. Presence

How is your brand or campaign being established on social media platforms? Is your audience finding you? Metrics for this might include:

  • Followers and fans
  • Mentions (direct ‘talking to’ and indirect ‘talking about’)
  • Reach

2. Engagement

How are people interacting with your campaign messages and brand on social media platforms? Metrics for this might include:

  • Likes or favourites
  • Retweets and social shares
  • Comments or replies
  • Referral traffic

3. Reach and influence

How many people are seeing your campaign messages? Are they the right people? Metrics for this might include:

  • Share of voice (% among defined industry/group)
  • Net promoter score
  • Sentiment
  • Influencers
  • Post reach and potential reach
  • Video views

4. Action

Is your campaign activity having an impact, or influencing the audience to do something? Metrics for this might include:

  • Conversion rate (this is how many people sign up to a service, or buy a product after having viewed the campaign. An example could be a campaign where learners click through to sign up or purchase a product)
  • Revenue (if using for sales)
  • Issues resolved (if using for customer service)
  • Customer lifetime value (this is a prediction of the net value from a customer over the lifetime of their engagement with a product. This is typically part of a business strategy, and takes into account how much it would cost to acquire a new customer, whether they are profitable, and how much it is anticipated they’d spend).

Looking at any of the campaign insights above in isolation can be misleading. For example, tracking the number of likes or favourites on a piece of content will simply make one aspect of the campaign’s engagement more visible. As such, this won’t reveal whether the target audience also acted or reacted in other ways which are potentially more valuable. This could include commenting, sharing or signing up for further information with a valid email address. You need to look at metrics together to get a holistic view of effectiveness and performance.

Close-up of a person interacting with a social media site using their phone

These light touch engagement actions are still important, and clicking a heart or a thumbs up to ‘like’ a piece of content is easy for the audience to do. Social media algorithms often perceive this type of content as more relevant, and prioritise it within the platform. This means it will be seen by more people. It’s important to encourage light audience interactions as well as more ‘meaningful’ ones: both are essential elements in a rounded campaign.

Practical steps

How do you practically go about measuring and tracking performance? There are three main things to think about:

1. Platform specific tracking

Most social media platforms have their own basic measurement and analytics tools, which you can use to see simple information about views and engagement. For some platforms, you may need to have a business account in order to access analytics in greater depth. However, even a simple level of data is a good start to monitoring performance.

2. Tracking campaigns across platforms

If you’re using platform-specific analytics, you’ll need to combine those metrics with insights gathered from other platforms. You could create your own measurement tracker or dashboard – this could be a simple spreadsheet with common headings. You can find examples of social media metrics templates online. In addition, paid-for social media management services like Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Socialbakers will track different campaign metrics across channels, and present analytics in easy-to-understand graphic reports. You’ll find links to some of these services in the See Also section below.

3. Track as you go

Measurement shouldn’t be something you do once at the end of a campaign. Ideally, you will be familiar with how the campaign is going as it progresses, and be able to tweak if necessary. If you see that a particular channel or call to action is performing well, you can shift resources to repeat or capitalise on that activity. A dashboard containing regular reporting of performance will help with this – even more so if it is automated.

Over to you:

Think about the objectives you came up with for your chosen case study last week.
Which metrics do you think are most important to track as part of a social media campaign? Why do you think this?

Explain your position and share and discuss your ideas with other learners in the Comments section.

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This article is from the free online course:

Create a Social Media Marketing Campaign

University of Leeds