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  • August 19th, 2021

Understanding Social Media Metrics

Social media is the new frontier for businesses to display their passion for changing the world and for consumers to connect in ways they never have before. It has grown from a relatively unknown medium into a full-blown industry with its own set of marketing metrics used in assessing the performance of campaigns of all sizes. But very few know how to use them correctly for maximum ROI. Here are the basics of social media metrics.

Two types of social media metrics

Vanity metrics

Vanity metrics, also known as a “vanity stat,” is basically a metric that doesn’t tell you much if anything about your business. They are a form of social media tracking companies use that provides them with an illusion of success as vanity metrics offer little insight into performance.

Vanity metrics look impressive but don’t really mean much once you delve into the details. For example, a high follower count would be a vanity metric for a brand new Twitter account with little engagement.

And even if the account did get more engagement, it won’t necessarily translate into revenue or business opportunities. Therefore, metrics like likes and followers are considered vain.

Meaningful metrics

Meaningful social media metrics have been the elusive holy grail of social media measurement since the dawn of social media marketing.

Many try to make sense of vanity, hollow, manipulated, or uninsightful pieces of data. But meaningful metrics are the only ones that can tell you how successful your social media presence is.

That includes knowing who is sharing your content, what time of the day your posts receive the most engagement, what kind of content works well with your audience by tracking which images get the most likes and shares, and which hashtags bring the most traffic to your website, among more.

The biggest differentiator between meaningful metrics and vanity metrics is that the former can’t be manipulated. They are measured only after certain activities take place on your social media.

Social media marketing metrics that matter

Awareness metrics

Social media awareness metrics show you the potential reach that your marketing activity might have. They contribute to performance metrics – like engagement and purchase intent – in a meaningful way. These metrics alone can give you a good sense of where your target audience is consuming content and what kind of content your followers prefer to see.

Let’s start with impressions. Every business wants to increase brand awareness. If people don’t know you exist, they will choose your competition. That’s why the fact that your target audience is aware of your brand is a big first step towards converting people into paying customers.

Reach is yet another awareness metric that deserves your attention. While impressions are the number of times people see your post, reach refers to the number of unique accounts that saw your post in their newsfeed.

Awareness metrics such as impressions and reach are the most basic social media metrics that every business needs to track. These metrics are crucial in determining the effectiveness of your social media strategy, and they tell you how much ROI you can generate from it.

Engagement metrics

Countless businesses think of social media as an instant gratifier. They put a great post out there and get a bunch of likes, shares, and comments. But do these types of engagement actually make any difference to your bottom line?

Social media engagement metrics are a majority of all the other social media metrics out there. But they are mostly deceiving and vague, making them relatively useless by themselves. As a result, people can be easily persuaded and misled by vanity metric social media engagement data.

You can’t run a business without knowing how to improve your engagement rate. But if you are still using these as a KPI, then you simply won’t survive on social media.

That being said, some social media engagement metrics, such as subscribers and monthly mentions can be better predictors of future brand growth. They can lead to better brand awareness, which can ultimately help improve your bottom line.

Conversion metrics

It is hard to find a business that doesn’t want more traffic. Traffic can mean new customers, subscribers, and increased sales. But that’s not the end of it. Conversion metrics allow businesses to better understand how effective their marketing efforts are in converting visitors.

Let’s say you have a performance marketing budget for your Facebook campaign. If you aren’t tracking your conversion metrics, then you are not making the most out of your budget. That’s why conversion metrics should be part of your campaign structure so that you know which ad campaigns are working.

Metrics like click-through rate (CTR) tell you how many times your ad is clicked, which helps you understand if your ad copy is working. For instance, if you have low conversions but a high CTR, the problem may not be your ad, rather the contents of the landing page that may need to be fixed.

Cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-impression (CPM) are some other conversion metrics that deserve your attention. These help you understand how much investment your ads are demanding against the ROI they are delivering.

Some of the more overlooked conversion metrics may include referrals and bounce rates. They can tell you if word of marketing is working for your brand and how people are responding to your social media campaigns, respectively.

Conversion metrics let you know how well the efforts you put into getting traffic are helping to convert that traffic. So, before you track your KPIs, figure out what they are exactly to get the best results.


Social media marketing should be fueled by hard metrics. As a business, you need a strategy that can combine all metrics to generate measurable results. And we can help! Seota Digital Marketing is a national award-winning digital agency. With our expertise, we can help you build brand value and improve name recognition among your target audience. Speak to our digital experts to learn more.


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