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Tracking social media metrics

Social media metrics can be confusing. What should you be tracking? We'll take you through the basic metrics that every brand should track.

From ‘follower counts’ to ‘post-engagement percentages’, the world of social media metrics can be confusing. What should you be tracking?

We’ll take you through the most basic metrics that every brand should be paying attention to, based on its goals. By covering the core measurements, you’ll be able to stay on top of your KPIs, goal-setting, and campaign-tracking.

Here are the top five social media metrics you should be tracking.

1. Awareness (impressions and reach)

If you’re using impressions and reach metrics as benchmarks for your brand, you need to understand the difference.

  • Impressions refer to how many times a post shows up in someone’s timeline.
  • Reach is the potential number of viewers a post could have (usually your follower count plus accounts that shared the post’s follower counts).

2. Engagement (likes, comments, shares, clicks)

The engagement rate is a metric that’s often used to track how actively involved your audience is with your content and your brand campaigns’ effectiveness. Engaged consumers use interactions such as likes, comments, and social sharing to engage with brands.

You’ll look at engagement metrics such as:

  • Likes, comments, shares – Individual engagement metrics such as a share or a retweet add up. In a Twitter report, you’ll see the total number of engagements per post or profile.
  • Post engagement rate – The number of engagements divided by impressions or reach. A high ratio means the people who see the post find it interesting.
  • Account mentions – Organic mentions (@mentions) that aren’t part of a reply or using tags in an Instagram story indicate good brand awareness.

If you have multiple goals of increasing awareness and educating your audience, you’ll probably want to look for a combination of both impressions and engagement. If a post has a high impressions count but a low engagement rate, your post probably wasn’t impressive enough for customers to take action. If a post has a high reach count and engagement rate, the content was probably re-shared multiple times.

3. Return on investment (referrals and conversion)

Return on investment (ROI) is most applicable for companies with websites or e-commerce platforms. Social referral traffic and conversions are tied to sales and marketing goals and, ultimately, to primary business goals.

  • Referrals are how a user lands on your website. When using a web analytics tool, you’ll see them broken down into sources. ‘Social’ is usually the source/medium you’ll be monitoring, which is then broken down by network.
  • Conversion happens when customers purchase something from your site. If it’s a social conversion, customers visited via a social media channel and then bought something in the same visit.

To track referrals and conversions, you’ll need a marketing strategy that incorporates Urchin Tracking Modules (UTM). ‘Urchin Module tagging is an analytics tool used by marketers to track the impact of their online marketing efforts, better understand their audience’s behavior, and measure performance’. [1] For example, use UTM tags to discover the channels that convert the most sales to your website.

Urchin was originally a web analytics software designed to track the behaviour of website visitors. Google took the company over in 2005, and this led to the creation of Google Analytics – one of the most popular web data analytics tools today.

4. Share of voice

To understand how well you’re doing on social media, you should consider a share of voice metric. How does the conversation about your brand compare with conversations about competitors?

  • Identify the percentage of the overall industry conversation focused on your brand.
  • Learn from your competitors’ success. Because so many of these social media conversations are public, you can measure your competitors’ success just as easily as you can measure your own.

5. Customer care (response rate and time)

Finally, what about your customers’ experience with your brand? And what about your own performance? You need to have oversight of the marketing team to make sure they’re doing their job well and that customers are being heard in a reasonable timeframe.

  • This is where metrics such as response rate and time matter.
  • They track how fast your team responds to important messages and how many receive responses.

Consistency and preparation are essential for useful social media measurement. Using the same formulas and tools, calculate the numbers every week or month, tracking your numbers over time and paying attention to how they change. If you see anything unexpected, investigate it.

By measuring, and paying attention to these five social media metrics, you’ll be in a better position to understand the effectiveness of your social media activity.


  1. Peti, F. What is an Urchin Tracking Module and why should you start using it now? Medium. 5 September 2017. Available from:
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