Social media metrics: What should I be monitoring?

Technology | Fri 13 Mar | Author – Business & Finance
social media

Social media is becoming an ever more integral part of many businesses’ online marketing strategies, writes James McAllister.

Marketers are turning to social for help achieving many different goals, such as:

  • Generating new sources of traffic
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Generating more sales
  • Increasing brand interaction

There are a countless different social media sites available to help you achieve these goals. However, the scale of choice available can make monitoring metrics a nightmare, and many marketers quickly become unstuck when asked to provide evidence of social media’s impact on a business as a whole.

So, to help you dispel any myths and demonstrate that social media is a legitimate addition to your business’s marketing strategy, we have put together a brief guide of metrics that you can monitor, to help prove that your social media strategy is an asset that the business cannot afford to overlook.

Audience growth rate

The ability to share content on social media sites is what drives your brand to new audiences. So, businesses who truly understand the value of great content have the potential to harness their social presence for serious growth. But, how can you tell if what you’re posting is spreading knowledge of your brand? Many marketers turn to follower numbers to help illustrate this. However, a more accurate metric is your Audience growth rate (AGR).

Not only can your AGR indicate that your total audience number is growing, but it also helps to indicate your momentum and predict future growth with more accuracy. Many social platforms, such as Facebook, now offer the ability to view your AGR as a percentage over time. This can then be used to get a much clearer view of your social strategy’s performance over time.

Average engagement rate

In business, there is no point in following through with a social strategy if no one is listening, which is why it’s important to prove that they are. Followers and likes are a good way to prove people are paying attention, but when you begin to delve into this data, it becomes apparent that in order to learn from this activity, you first need to understand who, exactly, is interacting with your posts.

A more useful metric to monitor in this regard is your average engagement rate (AER). Not only does your AER offer an insight into how your brand, and your content, is being perceived online, but it can also help you differentiate between your vocal and silent followers. With this information, it is then possible to optimise the times that you post in order to target these followers specifically, and increase the levels of engagement.

Assisted conversion value

The key to successful social marketing is to connect with your audience and transcend the business/customer relationship that other forms of marketing assume. As any content marketer will tell you, it’s important to be subtle and not directly push your product or service to online audiences. Yet, outside of marketing circles, the validity of indirect marketing as a technique is often questioned.

In order to prove that your indirect marketing is helping to retarget and repurpose leads that could otherwise have been lost to competitors, it is important that you closely monitor your website’s Assisted conversion values (ACV).

The chances are that ACV is already being monitored to illustrate the most common journeys that customers take before purchasing from your business. After a period of social marketing, this metric can also be useful to illustrate the role that social is playing in this journey of leads becoming customers.

Visitor frequency rate

Your ability to keep visitors returning to your website is another factor that will determine the success of your social media campaigns. This is why it is important to show that your increased social activity is partly responsible for increased traffic to your website.

By monitoring your website’s Visitor frequency rate (VFR), you’re able to distinguish between new and returning visitors. When these figures are then compared with your referral traffic figures from Google Analytics, you are able to see just how much impact your social media efforts are having on repeatedly driving customers back to your website.

I should end with a declaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive list of metrics to follow when you’re running a social media campaign, mainly because the metrics that you will need to monitor will differ depending on what it is that you are looking to achieve with your social media activity.

The key to identifying the right metrics for you is to view all of the metrics available in relation to the goals you have set out to achieve. Remember, there is a lot of data out there that may trip you up by offering misleading information, so make sure you question its validity in terms of the information that they offer and how they fit in with what you want to achieve.

James McAllister can be found writing on the subject of energy and small business advice at To stay up to date with James’ tips and advice, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Google+.