Understanding social media metrics

| October 23, 2018

When it comes to tailoring your firm’s social media campaign and improving your social media presence, there is no such thing as an irrelevant metric. Everything can come in as handy at one point.

On the other hand, claiming that all metrics are equally relevant would be outright ridiculous and completely dishonest. Shares are simply more valuable than likes and that is a fact. With that in mind, which social media metrics are the most important for a young business struggling to make a name for itself? Let’s find out!

Audience growth rate

The first thing worth keeping in mind is the audience growth rate. You see, once you first start talking about your brand on social networks, you’ll get a lot of initial growth. Why? Well, this is just a part of Facebook’s foot-in-the-door approach (and those of other social media), to keep you around.

After a while, you’ll see that the growth rate might have started diminishing a bit. This is completely normal, yet, it is something worth keeping a track of. Simply track the rate of your audience increase over the course of a day, week or month, divide it by your entire audience and multiply it by 100 to get a growth rate percentage.

Optimal engagement time

This may somewhat depend on the demographic in question but it is mostly tied to the social network that you’re currently using. Namely, different networks have different rules. For instance, if you aim to post on Facebook, you should do so on Wednesday at around 2 PM. Saturday, on the other hand, is the time of the week with the lowest average Facebook engagement.

As you can see, both time of the day and part of the week play a role here. Your field may also play a role here seeing as how healthcare, nonprofit and educational organizations all have different optimal engagement time.

“Virality” rate

Everyone wants their content to go viral, however, they often omit the fact that this, most commonly, doesn’t just happen on its own. This is what the virality rate is used for. This way, you can track the number of unique views, which you get by dividing the number of shares by the number of impressions. Naturally, by multiplying it by 100 you’re getting this rate in percentage.

The problem with this is that some posts tend to be locally viral, even if they don’t get massive global fame. This tends to be quite problematic in countries where the first language is international (English or Spanish). Therefore, when outsourcing your social media monitoring, try to go local.

The reach

One problem with determining the reach stems from the fact that you’re trying to reach people both within and outside of your audience. This is something that you can do quite easily on both Facebook and Twitter. All you have to do is go to the analytics tab and see the reach/impressions.

One should not mix the metric of the reach with the metric of potential reach. The latter is the number of people who could come to encounter your post at one point and not the number of those who actually saw it. This way, you’ll get an idea of what your maximum potential audience is, which will, again, give you an opportunity to make some adjustments/improvements in this field.

Conversion rate

Now, we come to the metric that most of you probably expected to see much earlier – the conversion rate. The reason why we didn’t put it at the forefront is due to the fact that this metric tends to be… well, elusive. Why? Simply because different organizations, companies and even individual marketers tend to interpret conversions differently. Are we talking about subscriptions, sales, clicks or just engagements, in general?

These are just some of the things that you’ll have to answer. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that it’s easier to achieve a high conversion rate when you have a low audience. Think about it: 1 conversion out of 2 visitors is a 50 percent conversion rate.

Bounce rate

Finally, you need to keep track of all those who left the page as soon as they entered it. Why? Because Google does. One of the reasons why this happens is because a person that comes in touch with you got there by accident. Various black-hat techniques can be a cause of that.

If the link that you’ve used in a piece of content leads to your e-store, there’s a greater chance that you’ll retain that person if the link was organic. For instance, linking your e-commerce gardening tools category in a post about backyard projects on a landscaping site is one thing. Doing so in a text about the IT security is something entirely different.


At the end of the day, identifying most relevant social media metrics is not that hard, however, you need to understand that the so-called vanity metrics aren’t to be underestimated either. Of course, you don’t know how these likes and comments transfer into sales, yet, they might be indicators that your content and your offer in general play well with your target audience.