The Most Important Social Media Marketing Metrics To Track For Your Brand
Updated: Nov 8, 2022
Let’s face it, each social media channel is running the horse race in giving a large bunch of metrics (more so jargons) that make it seem even more confusing to answer the big question - how is my brand actually doing on social media?
While social media budgets across brands grow (while other mediums like print, TV decrease), it is very easy to sepnd the money without having any robust measurement system. The more the metrics you can analyze, the better it is but think about it. At some point - you need to look at key performance indicators that actually help move the needle. You will need to prioritze and make these metrics your north star.
Before getting into the list, I like to look at it in two ways.
A) Impact Metrics: The metrics that helps you understand if your brand is out there enough
B) Engagement Metrics: The metrics that helps you understand if your brand is out there the right way
So here is a list of the most important social media metrics to track for your brand.
A) Impact Metrics
Increasingly, social media has become an impact platform for the audience to know of your brand and be reminded of it. And so, it is very important to ensure your impact metrics follow a steady and upwards trend within an effective cost bracket so your brand doesn’t get lost in the world of social media.
Reach at a desired frequency
Before delving into this metric, lets first understand what they are.
Post Reach= The number of unique people (undiplicated) whose feed your post has reached.
Page Reach= The number of unique people (undiplicated) whose feed your page (posts from your page) have reached
Frequency = Number of times (in a set duration) your post/page has reached the audience
When measuring your brand communication on Facebook and Instagram, one of the most common mistakes marketers make is run the reach race. That is - Reach as many number of people as possible with the budget you have in hand. But in today’s world where the audience is merrily scrolling through at least half a century of content a day, will one post from the brand do anything?
This is where measuring the frequency comes into play. It is absolutely important when planning campaigns and managing content for brands - you ensure you have your eyes out on the frequency. Reaching the most number of people once may be great from a cost effectiveness point of view, but it has no real impact. You rather ensure you reach a % lower while reaching them at a higher frequency of at least 2 or 3 (and some industries much more) to even make your communication count. This way you are ensured the brand message has left some imprint on the audience.
2. Thruplays over views
Just as a high reach number with no riders has been looked at as a blind number to chase, so are views. A lot of marketers will proudly showcase how they have hit millions and millions of views in a month. But, does it mean anything really?
One fact that most marketers tend to forget is that views actually just counts the number of times the video has been watched for the first 3 seconds. Now imagine all the brand videos out there and try and think of the first 3 seconds - does it even mean anything?
Now add in the reality of error. While we are scrolling on social media, it takes us about 3-4 seconds to stop scrolling and choose to continue watching something. Sometimes, since most of the audience consumes social media passively, they look up at life for 3-4 seconds and look back down at their screen and continue scrolling. Imagine - all these distracted and unbothered audiences also account for the views you are actually tooting about in your campaign numbers. Is it even making sense?
This is why it is key to look at thruplay numbers instead of the views.
Thruplay = A ThruPlay is counted when a user watches a video to completion or at least 15 seconds of it (whichever comes first)
So now, imagine any video communication and imagine the first 15s of say a 30s videos. Or the complete 10s of a 10s video - does this make more sense in knowing that the audience has seen at least this much? Absolutely!
And gunning for a higher number of thruplays only means your communication has given the audience a fare chance of considering your brand and made your money worth the push.
3. Share of Voice
While the other metrics are all native metrics you will find on the adsmanager of the respective platforms, Share of Voice is a metric that is extremely crucial but requires a third party tool. There are some free third party tools but the paid tools are much more reliable.
The share of voice of social media helps you understand how many mentions your brand is generating across the web in comparison to the brands you consider your competition. While it may not always be possible to outshout your competitors who may have more financial backing or budgets, the monthly/weekly tracking of share of voice helps you understand what about your brand is getting some chatter, even if it is within smaller circles of the audiences. This will help you focus on products or shows (for example) that is getting more organically picked up by the audience.
Another flavour that the Share Of Voice can give you is the sentiment of the mentions your brand is receiving. An example of this is a hotel chain that was once caught in a negative PR backfire where a celebrity called them out for their prices. While in that week they won the SOV (Share of Voice) game, they definitely would have liked it the other way.
4. CTR (Click-Through Rate)
For brands and businesses that are heavily running social media ads that focus on lead generation, selling products online the CTR is a very key metric to look at.
CTR = The number of times someone clicks on your ad, to the number of impressions received
A high CTR qualifies a great communication as the audience has clicked on your ads when it has seen your ad on its feed. Though, it is important to remember that the clicks can be looked at in different ways basis what the ads intends to do - like links to landing page, click to call etc.
B) Engagement Metrics
One of the realities of social media these days that no one wants to accept is - it has unabashedly become an ad platform. The more money you put into it, the more it can guzzle it down. So, as a responsible marketer it is your duty to ensure the engagement metrics are strong to equate that the brand communication you are using is the best form it could have been and has tried the hardest to convince the audience.
Engagement rate and video completion rate
Let’s face it, most people choose to engage with the friends and family on social media. At the most, the interest based pages they follow like fashion magazines, meme pages or the celebrities. Why will someone engage with a brand trying to reach them? Well, because they loved what they saw. And this is possible only when the content is extremely relevant and engaging. Liked what you saw? Maybe you will comment asking for the price. Maybe you will share it with a friend to see. Or simply like it because you loved what you saw. So, one of the best ways to keep a tab on content quality is the engagement rates they are able to generate.
Now, when the content is a video, even if the audience doesnt actively “engage” with it, if they chose to stay for the whole vide is means for something. Video Completion rates are always a great way to analyse the quality of your video. This is also a great metric to test if it is the best creative communication to push more money on to reach more people.
2. CPR, CPM and CPV
What are these?
CPR = Cost per reach
CPM = Cost per 1000 impressions
CPV = Cost per 3s view
Traditionally none of these metrics are considered engagement metrics. But here is the polarizing point of view on this.
A very important aspect of promoting content on social media is to keep an eye on the three cost effectiveness metrics - CPV, CPM and CPR. This will help you as a marketer, understand that you are working your content heard to reach people while staying within an effective cost range.
Think of it like this. If you have a great flyer with something interesting on it. The more people you offer it to, the easier they will take it. The more irrelevant and boring your flyer is, the harder you have to work to have even a few people take it. And in this case, Meta will charge you more for having to work so hard to have even the few people reached take it. These metrics help in being indicators to let you know that something needs to be done - maybe change your communication because it isn’t working, maybe look at your audience set because they are finding it irrelevant or simply revise how your communication is getting delievered (like switching to a shorter video, trying a video instead of a static etc).
With this list of the key metrics covered, you can always choose to delve deeper into other metrics to understand how your content has performed like video views at 75% or 50% or even evaluate impact with impressions or mentions.
But it is very critical to remember - set your key metrics basis the brand’s objectives and make it your north star.