Social Media Metrics Guide for Beginners

Whether you’re running your own social media or reading reports from an agency, there are going to be lots of numbers that might have you asking: “What are the key social media metrics?” The answer to this varies based on your objectives. Check out our quick guide to see which social media metrics are most important, what they mean for you, and when you should care about them.

General Social Media Metrics

green circle with white eyeAwareness Metrics

Awareness means more people see (and remember) your posts and brand. While analyzing top of the funnel strategy, the awareness social media metrics of impressions and reach are incredibly valuable, though often confused.

Impressions are how many times the content appeared on a screen. This can mean it sat on a sidebar while someone read an article, and then later appeared as they scrolled through their feed, and then appeared again when they visited your brand’s profile.

Reach is the unique number of people who saw the content.

So we would say that our example content reached 1 user, and generated 3 impressions.

Engagement Metrics

Engagement social media metrics are the most important at any stage of the funnel. These report any way that someone may have interacted with your post. The main engagement social media metrics are engagements and engagement rate. These include specific kinds of engagements, like reactions and clicks.

Types of Engagement

Likes/Reactions are often reported in one number, but assessing reactions can help you determine user feelings. A post with many “Love” reactions may mean you are on the right path, while a post with many “Angry” reactions may suggest you change strategy.

Shares are when users have chosen to share your post with their friends and followers. On Twitter, shares are called Retweets. Shares and Retweets allow users to add commentary above your post, and it is important to see what is being added.

Comments are indications that users feel passionate about engaging with or supporting your brand. While it is ideal to have lots of comments, they aren’t always positive. It’s important to read comments and determine the sentiment users have.

Clicks are a more involved social media metric. Often Clicks is an overall number, combining several different types of clicks:

  • Photo Views: Someone clicked to enlarge the photo.
  • Link Clicks: The number of times the link in your post was clicked on.
  • Other Clicks: Clicks not on the content of the post, but on other details such as a “See more” link or the page itself.

Measuring Engagement

Post Engagements is a combined number of Likes/Reactions, Shares, Comments, and Clicks.

Engagement Rate is most often a percentage of the number of engagements per number of impressions. A post with 100 impressions and 10 engagements, would have an engagement rate of 10% (which is great!).

The numbers used to calculate the engagement rate can vary. Sometimes the number of engagements is compared to the number of people reached or the number of followers an account has.

Paid Metrics

When running social media advertisements, there are metrics that are used to assess how well your ads are performing and how much you are spending. These are often abbreviated into three-letter acronyms, like CPM and CTR. For all of these numbers, a lower cost is ideal. A high cost may indicate that you need a new strategy.

Cost Per Click (CPC): This metric matters if your goal is to have users click on your advertisement. It tells you how much it costs for each click you receive.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of times people saw your ad and performed a click. A high CTR indicates a successful ad.

Cost per 1,000 Impressions (CPM): Most valuable for awareness-based ads, this metric defines how much money you have spent to generate each 1,000 impressions.

Landing Page Views: This metric identifies the number of times your landing page was loaded by users. This is more reliable than measuring clicks, as someone may click your link but not wait for the page to load.

Finding Your Metrics

Not sure where to find these numbers? Facebook Business Accounts have access to an Insights Page, where many of these metrics are shared with graphs and even deeper insights. On Instagram, users with a Business Account can also access their data by clicking “View Insights” on posts, or visiting the Insights tab in their personal menu. Twitter has its own insights page, called the Activity Dashboard. LinkedIn offers Page Analytics to Page admins.

Tracking and recording numbers across platforms can be confusing and tedious work. At Online Optimism, we use industry-leading tools like Sprout Social to monitor data and report up-to-the-minute social media metrics for our campaigns.

Understanding Your Social Media

There are many more metrics that our favorite social media platforms deliver. But lucky for you, these are the simple and key metrics to recognizing your success! Mastering these numbers will have anyone ready to understand their data. Need help optimizing your accounts to reach your goals? Our social media team is here to help.