12 Social Media Marketing Metrics You Need to Track in 2023
The most important social media marketing metrics that any business should be tracking today. Get a clear overview of your performance with these KPIs.
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Marketing on social media in 2023 is more than just tracking vanity metrics - likes, shares, and retweets.
You're probably a marketer who’s serious about improving social media performance. This means that you probably understand the value of tracking metrics that matter. Gathering social media data, boosting ROI, and understanding which social media strategies are working and which ones are absolutely failing requires you to track relevant data.
Social media is a jungle of metrics. Not only does each platform have its own set of metrics, but even if they happen to use the same terms, Facebook and Twitter may have different meanings for the same term, for example.
Because we’re all comparing “apples to oranges” so often, it’s no wonder that so few social media marketers know if their social media work generates an ROI for their businesses. And if you work in an agency and manage multiple accounts, it gets even worse.
You end up making random marketing decisions that are not based on data. You fail to optimize strategies and double down on types of content that's working. You have no idea why conversions and engagements are low for your business or your clients.
To make the entire process of tracking metrics easy for you, we’ve created a list of twelve critical social media metrics that you should be tracking in 2023 and beyond.
Let’s dive in.
1. Return on Investment (ROI)
Yes, it can be hard to quantify. Yes, most social media marketers can’t do it in a way that makes their managers happy. However, ROI is the holy grail of social media metrics. If you can get it, or even get a good approximation of it, the more power to you and the better business decisions you can make.
How to track your social media ROI?
Start by breaking down your ROI for each social media platform you’re on. This can be important information if you want the budget to expand your work on any of those platforms. Alternatively, if you get hit with a budget cut, you'll know which platforms to let go of based on their ROI and performance such as cost per-click (CPC).
Given that the average social media marketer is on five or more different social media platforms, this means you’ve already got six metrics to track – the overall ROI for your social media work, and the ROI for each platform you’re on, e.g. Facebook, Pinterest and others.
Hint: don’t forget to include each platform’s contribution to your customer service efforts (and customer satisfaction scores), or even to your recruitment efforts.
2. Referral traffic
Before you can calculate your ROI, you’ll probably want to know how many visitors social media is driving to your website - and which specific platforms are performing the best in this regard.
As Lesya Liu, founder and CEO of Boundless Agency, says, “Referral traffic continues to be an important metric that growth marketers and advertisers will continue to monitor.
It is probably the single most important metric in any business since it clearly shows how successful you are at your storytelling, audience targeting, and user experience.”
How to track referral traffic of your social media channels?
To track the amount of traffic from each social platform to your site, use a tool like Rebrandly URL shortener.
This tool allows you to shorten, brand and track every link that you create and share on different social platforms. It provides in-depth click analytics so you know exactly which links are performing and driving traffic back to your site and which ones are causing a higher bounce rate and a drop in the number of clicks.
Google Analytics can also help you identify which social media platforms are the biggest traffic drivers to your website. Once you know your average traffic benchmarks, you can find ways to improve them with new marketing initiatives.
3. Sales generated
Do the people who click through to your site actually buy something? Social media traffic tends to convert less compared to other channels. However, even if your conversion rates are low, this is not a reason not to track them at all.
Here are some more granular sales metrics you might want to keep an eye on as well:
- How many sales (aka the number of orders) do you get from social traffic?
- Which of your social media efforts and digital marketing campaigns are driving the most sales?
- What’s the average order value (AOV) from social media traffic?
- How long do these social media customers hang around, i.e. what is their lifetime value (LTV)? Are they more or less loyal than customers from other channels?
- What’s the total revenue these visitors generate? (This will be helpful for your ROI metrics too)
- What’s your attribution model for these sales? Last touch (as in, you attribute the sale to whichever source the customer came from most recently)? Multi-touch? First touch (whichever channel the customer found you through first gets credit for the sale)?
- Do your social media website visitors come back? You can track this in Google Analytics quite easily.
- Do the first-time visitors you get from social media help in other ways, like creating a good retargeting audience?
How to track sales generated?
Hubspot and Salesforce are great CRM platforms that help determine total revenue generated by marketing channels - social media included.
And if you’d like an all-in-one social media analytics tool, Whatagraph is an excellent option. It provides weekly, monthly, and annual sales summaries and breaks down which channel is driving the most sales.
4. Leads generated
It’s unusual to get a sale from a first-time social media visitor, but you can often convert these visitors into leads that will end up purchasing at a later point.
Once again, this metric can be split into many separate, contributing metrics:
- How long does it take these leads to convert? (Is it shorter or longer than other channels such as organic traffic from search engine results?)
- What’s the lead-to-sale rate? In other words, are these high-quality leads, or not?
- Do these leads turn into high-value customers or low-value customers in terms of the average order value and lifetime value?
- How do you count a “lead”? Is an email subscriber a lead… or do you want someone to download a white paper or sign up for a webinar to be considered a lead?
Those four metrics conclude the business side of important social media metrics. Depending on which ones you decide to track, you might already have more than twenty metrics (including referrals and click-through rates or CTR).
It’s also quite possible that you’ll want to break these metrics into a separate analytics report for certain people at your company (typically, the C-Suite and financial folks, and your marketing manager).
How to track the leads you generated?
You can track your leads in the same way you track your conversions and revenue. Either manually through Google Analytics, Hubspot, Salesforce, or with a reporting tool like Whatagraph that aggregates data from multiple channels in one place.
5. Brand mentions
If increasing brand awareness is one of your top goals for social media, this is a key metric. Mentions are defined as just what they sound like. In other words, it's the number of times someone mentions your brand name or any other keyword you want to track (like products, or major campaigns).
How to track brand mentions?
There are several brand monitoring tools that you can use to track your brand mentions. Some of the best ones include,
Tip: You may also want to track mentions of your competitors just to see how they're stacking up against you.
This measures how people feel about your brand or a social media campaign you’re running. So if someone tweets “Love these new shoes from Nine West!” or posts “I HATE Comcast”, you’ll have specific reports that record those opinions as positive or negative sentiment.
Sentiment is a smart thing to monitor because – so long as you get updates regularly – you’ll know if a PR problem is afoot. A sudden spike in negative sentiment is a sign of a social media / public relations crisis in the making. If you can respond fast and well, you just might be able to calm it down before it gets out of hand.
How do you track brand sentiment?
There are several tools available that help you track your overall brand sentiment in real-time. Some of the best ones include,
7. Audience Growth Rate
A big social media campaign or a viral post can cause a huge influx of new people browsing your profiles.
How to track audience growth rate?
Step 1 - Select a reporting period.
Step 2 - Calculate the number of new followers you got in this period.
Step 3 - Divide this number by the total number of social media followers and multiply by 100.
Related metrics you may want to track:
- Your competitors’ audience growth
- Audience growth, broken down by individual social platform
8. Post reach
How many people see your content on social media? That’s what your post reach measures.
As Andrew Shober, marketing strategy analyst at "Slice Communications", says, “All marketing efforts need to start with awareness. Customers can only engage with your business if they know you exist. To measure awareness, reach/number of impressions are the key metrics, especially for businesses that are just getting started. We need to be able to see how many sets of eyes we are getting on our content to understand if the beginning stages of marketing tactics are working.”
You probably know that reach has pummeled on Facebook for years now. Recent research from BuzzSumo suggests it has fallen even further.
If you see your Facebook reach falling, that might be a good sign to start investing in Facebook advertising to keep engagement rates up. Or perhaps look into diversifying your social media strategy.
Similarly to LinkedIn, most other social platforms have become pay-to-play - budget paid social media channels like Facebook ads accordingly.
How to track your average post reach?
Step 1 - Measure the reach of a single post.
Step 2 - Divide this number by the total number of your followers and multiply by 100.
9. Audience demographics
Who are the people who view and engage with your content? That’s what the demographic data shows. You’ll need this information to tailor your advertisements correctly and "click" with your target audience.
Demographic information is really helpful for creating marketing personas for potential audiences, too. And it can be interesting to see the difference in demographic profiles between website visitors and social media audiences.
How to track audience demographics?
The best way to find out who’s following you is by keeping an eye on your social media data and insights. Each platform offers analytics and insights into your profile.
Facebook Page Insights - According to Facebook, “Insights provide information about your Page's performance, such as demographic data about your audience and how people are responding to your posts.”
Once you have over 100 people following you, you can also view the demographic data of your audience.
Instagram Insights - Instagram Insights and analytics give you a detailed overview of accounts reached, follower trends, and your audience’s engagement with your content.
Twitter Analytics - Twitter presents a monthly report card that breaks down who’s responding to your content with a gallery of your best monthly posts.
YouTube Studio - “You can use analytics to better understand your video and channel performance with key metrics and reports in YouTube Studio.”
You can also use social reporting tools like Whatagraph to further understand your audience and get a breakdown of their demographic.
10. Social share of voice (aka “SOV”)
SOV = your company’s marketing and advertising / the total market’s marketing and advertising.
Is this a “vanity” metric? Maybe… but it’s also a metric that people care about - your company management and your clients. And if you’re on social media for brand awareness, this is a helpful way to measure that.
How to track your brand’s social share of voice?
Social share of voice can be measured through several different metrics including hashtags, brand mentions, engagement, and others, depending on the platform.
The easiest way to track your brand’s social share of voice is by using one of the many social listening and monitoring tools available online.
Keyhole is a great online tool to invest in if you want to accurately track your share of voice.
11. Top content.
These are your social media “greatest hits”.
But “greatest” depends on how you define it – does it mean the social media posts or shares with the greatest engagement? Or is it the social media posts that got the most leads or generated the most traffic?
Consider breaking this out by the week, month, and even by quarter. And consider breaking it out by different metrics, too. For example, top-performing posts in terms of reach vs. conversions.
How to track your top content on social media?
You can keep track of your best-performing posts on social media by going through your social media insight and analytics pages.
Whatagraph social media dashboard template allows you to track all of the top-performing social media posts in one place. No matter what social media platform or platforms you use, aggregate best post data in one place and easily showcase results to your clients.
12. Average engagement rate
Engagement metrics include likes, comments, and shares.
'Likes' is a classic, basic metric to measure for any piece of content. Tracking likes and the number of followers helps to figure out the average engagement rate, which can come in handy when presenting reports and dashboards to your team!
It may not mean too much at the end of the day, but it’s still worth tracking.
Comments are a bit more valuable than likes – they take more effort from your audience. They can also lend insights into what your audience really responds to, and how they respond to it.
So it’s always a good idea to track the number of people who comment on your posts and reward them in some way to increase this number!
And let’s talk about the sacred 'share'. Most people don’t actually share too much about brands (few brands can compete with baby pictures, for example), so while these may not directly result in ROI, they’re something most marketers would like to increase.
The amounts of shares also signify if your content marketing team is creating optimized content for social media or not.
How to measure the average engagement rate?
Step 1 - Add your post’s total number of likes, shares, and comments and divide by the total number of followers.
Step 2 - Multiply it by 100 to get the average engagement rate percentage.
Make sure to choose a post that received an average amount of engagement. Don’t go for posts that received a very low/very high amount of engagement.
Tip - Create hashtag campaigns on social media to track shares!
Social media metrics are not one-size-fits-all. So instead of trying to track all of them, think of them more as a toolbox. You’ve got access to that toolbox at any time, but that doesn’t mean you should be using every tool for every report.
Minimalism is hard to achieve with metrics, but it’s a discipline that could serve you well. Especially when you consider that most human brains really can’t hold more than seven things in their mind at once.
That actually might be one way to trim down some reports. And if you're ready to get to the next level of social media reporting, sign up for a free trial of Whatagraph. It's a super easy way to track your social media marketing metrics and it will impress your managers or your clients. Sign up today for free!
Published on Sep 08 2017
WRITTEN BYMile Zivkovic
Mile is the head of content at Whatagraph in charge of all content and communications for Whatagraph’s marketing data platform. A marketing heavy with almost a decade of SaaS industry experience, Mile has managed multiple content marketing teams without losing an ounce of his writing passion. The author behind some of the most-read pieces on our blog.
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