Social Series: Metrics for SuccessNow that we’ve covered the who, what, where, why, and how of social marketing, we’ve arrived at our last stop in this series: how do you know that all of your time and effort was worth it? How will you know that your social marketing worked?

There are two ways to approach this question. Social marketing makes use of two kinds of content—curated (content someone else created, that you’re sharing with your followers) and original (content you created)—and the metrics you’ll assess for each type will be a little different.

Before we go any further, though, remember that any measure of success will depend on the goals you laid out at the beginning of your campaigns. Were you aiming to achieve a certain number of Followers or Likes? Or was your objective to drive signups or downloads via a social campaign? A clearly outlined purpose and baseline are basic necessities for assessing your campaigns.


Key Metrics: Curated Content

The important thing to remember when assessing the performance of your curated content is that much of the activity you’re analyzing is on the sharing platform itself—curation is largely a brand- and audience-building activity, so you’ll be looking at clicks, Likes, comments, replies, shares, and ReTweets, and spending time in each platform’s analytics.

Let’s look at clicks first, since this is likely the most well-known (and most misunderstood) metric. While it’s useful to know how many times your posts were clicked on, what’s more important is the context of the click. For example, compare link clicks on a given Tweet to the number of impressions that Tweet got—if the ratio of clicks to impressions is low, then maybe that’s not the type of content your followers want to see. Remember to look at clicks within the bigger picture of reach and engagement—organic reach is not guaranteed on any major platform anymore; your audience simply has too much content coming their way.

ReTweets, Shares, Likes, RePins and Favorites are important indicators of how your followers feel about your content—and also the quality of the followers themselves. Twitter gives you rich demographic data on the new followers you’ve acquired during a given time period; take a look to see how they match up with your target audience’s demographics.


Key Metrics: Original Content

Original content is usually deployed to drive traffic to an owned media property—your website or blog—and get visitors to do something when they get there. Conversions will be a very important metric to review here, in addition to some secondary metrics we’ll touch on as well.

Analyzing conversion data will require jumping into your own web analytics setup. In Google Analytics, you’ll be looking at the actual goals you set up for your various campaigns. Did you hit the number of conversions you were targeting? The average conversion rate is thought to be somewhere between 1-3%, but your ideal conversion rate will vary depending on your industry, your business, and many other factors. If you didn’t meet your goal, what can your funnel reports tell you about users’ journey from your social post to conversion on your site? Taking a close look at your conversion funnel can show you where users dropped out, help you diagnose user experience obstacles and site performance issues, and give you insight into user behavior.

Speaking of user behavior, there are other metrics that tell you how users interact with your website. They are:

  • Page Views: a page view is one instance of an internet user viewing one page on a website.
  • Unique Page Views: the number of unique users (determined by IP address and cookies) that view one page on a website.
  • Average Time on Page: how much time a user spends on one webpage.
  • Bounce Rate: the percentage of visitors that exit your website after viewing only one page.

What constitutes “improvement” for these metrics really depends on how your website is set up, and what you want visitors to do once you deliver them there. For example, it may look bad at first glance if bounce rate on a page is high, but think for a minute what that page’s purpose is. Bounce rates of up to 50% are considered normal for properly functioning, professional websites. Maybe visitors to those pages are finding exactly what they need on that one page, then exiting the site.

Keep an eye out for notable differences in behavior across referrers. Do visitors referred from Twitter behave differently from visits from Facebook?


Tying It All Together

We hope you enjoyed our series on social marketing. What did you learn? What do you want more of? Leave a comment to let us know!