List of social media marketing metrics

Social media marketing strategy arguably has two concerns: one is about producing the nitty-gritty metrics that are used to justify investment in terms of time and resources and to steer future involvement and activity.

The other concern is about lifting your ahead high enough above day-to-day activity to get a clear enough view of social media marketing from a wider organisational viewpoint.

An organisational approach to social media marketing measurement looks at the macro-figures that really matter: sales, profit margin, customer satisfaction and loyalty. Concentrating solely on the social media detail is not the full story.

On the other hand, just standing back and looking at the bigger picture is not going to be enough for your colleagues and boss: they are going to want to see hard evidence that social media marketing is going to bring tangible business benefits.

When we talk about social media, we’re really talking about attracting and developing interaction. The goal of any social media marketing strategy is to provide the right tools and content so that communities can interact with your brand and act as your brand ambassadors.

Here’s a ‘long list’ of indices that can give you measurements of interaction and participation:

  • Your brand mentioned
  • People storing and sharing content
  • More frequent website and blog visits
  • More blog comments
  • Referring your brand’s content to their friends
  • People in communities using interactive content more frequently
  • Incremental enquiries, or quotations, or sales
  • Improved cost of sales

Customers and prospects interacting with your brand content are far more likely to score high on other measures. So how can you boost community interaction? The tools and onsite functionality you need are going to depend on your business, your strategy and your goals. What you’re ultimately looking for is a wide range of tools to help people interact.

This list of metrics should help you work out what can be measured and also what kind of tools/functionality you may want to introduce. In doing so, you’ll able to determine the relative success and adoption of new features. You may also unearth trends and spot opportunities or issues. In any event, monitoring how the sum of community interaction changes over time can really help you position your organisation as a community-centric organisation.

You can apply different weightings to different interactions (for example, a ‘love this’ rating is worth less than a ‘follow item’). Social media managers can then identify the buzz and act accordingly (better promotion, interviews, videos).

Tracking and making sense of interaction is a fundamental part of social media marketing. You can score different interactions and devise an algorithm to create some kind of overall interaction index. It might help you condense interaction measurement noise into a single metric.

Before we jump into the list there are a few caveats:

  • Not all of these will be relevant to all sites (for instance, ‘posts’ won’t be any good for sites without blogs and a comment facility)
  • ‘Print page’ as an interaction measure is barely worth looking at…or is it? In any case, some of these things are more important than others
  • There is some crossover: for example ‘bookmarks’ and ‘wishlists’ may be the same thing on your site
  • Some metrics will have sub-metrics
  • Avoid confusion: if a widget just doesn’t do what it should do then it doesn’t matter whether 10,000 people installed it last week: they’ll still hate it
  • Human power is needed to really understand the detail behind the numbers and to act on that knowledge: interpretation is key to turning metrics into indices that you can act on
  • It’s about quality not quantity: this list is not exhaustive
Here’s the list of possible social interaction indices:
  1. Alerts (register and response rates by channel, CTR, post-click activity)
  2. Bookmarks (onsite, offsite)
  5. Email subscriptions
  6. Fans or friends (become a fan of something/someone)
  7. Favourites (add an item to favourites)
  8. Feedback (via the site)
  9. Followers (follow something/someone)
  10. Forward-to-a-friend; share
  11. Groups (create/join/total number in group/group activity)
  12. Install widget or app (on a blog page, Facebook, iPhone)
  13. Invite/refer (a friend)
  14. Key page activity (post-activity)
  15. Love/like this (a simpler form of rating something)
  16. Messaging (onsite)
  17. Personalisation (pages, display, theme)
  18. Posts
  19. Profile development (update avatar, bio, links, email, customisation)
  20. Print page
  21. Ratings
  22. Registered users (new/total/active/dormant/churn)
  23. Report spam/abuse
  24. Reviews
  25. Settings
  26. Social media sharing/participation (activity on key social media sites)
  27. Tagging (user-generated metadata)
  28. Testimonials
  29. Time spent on key pages
  30. Time spent on site (by source/by entry page)
  31. Total contributors (and % active contributors)
  32. Uploads (add an item – articles, links, images, videos)
  33. Views (videos, ads, rich images)
  34. Widgets and apps (number of new widgets users/embedded widgets/apps)
  35. Wishlists (save an item to wishlist)