Don’t obsess over engagement: Social media metrics to track

social media metrics to track

Everybody has their ideas about which social KPIs are the most important. Some people focus on engagement; some people concentrate on shares or click-through rates. All of these social media metrics are valid measurements, depending on what your goals are for social media. 

The truth is that focusing on one KPI is an imbalanced approach that probably will not get you where you want to be. As you build and execute your social strategy, taking a holistic approach is your best bet for overall success. Figure out which KPIs are essential to get you where you want to be. 

Use these social media metrics to get a big-picture look at your overall social success. 

Facebook metrics 

Click-through rate

CTR (click-through-rate) is the percentage of people that click on a link concerning reach. If the post has a reach of 1,000 and 100 people click, that gives you a 10% CTR.

Click-through rate is a great way to measure how compelling an article may have been to your audience. If a high percentage of people clicked on the post, then you’ve probably struck a chord.

Here are some ways to increase your CTR:

  • Compelling headline. There’s a difference between compelling and clickbait – always make sure that your story delivers on the promise of the headline.
  • Deliver content that your audience would be interested in.
  • Your social copy matters! Spend time crafting unique and inviting copy that your audience will interact with.
  • Images matter! Use high-quality images that help you tell your story.


Engagement has been the gold-standard of social media metrics for a while. Shares, comments, and reactions all fall under the engagement umbrella and are relatively easy to measure. The thinking is that if your audience is engaged, then they must be valuable. On some level, this is true, but there are other things to consider when discussing which KPIs matter for you. Some questions you should be asking: 

  • Are you reaching the right people? 
  • How is this engagement helping you fulfill your goals?
  • Why are they engaging with your content?

If you are reaching the right people with content that is representative of your company’s mission and brand, engagement is a great way to quantify your success. 

Impressions by post

This one can be a bit murky, because “reach” and “impressions” are not the same. Reach refers to the number of people who have had your post in their feed while Impressions refer to the number of times your post has eyes on it. So, if 100 people each saw your post 3x, you’re going to see a “reach” of 100 and 300 “impressions.”

Impressions are a great metric to help you keep track of the success of your content. For example, if the Impressions are below average, there may be something that just isn’t working. Take the time to make some changes!

On the flip side, if your impressions are too high against your reach, you may be inundating your audience and leaving new readers on the table. Take a step back and reevaluate. Is your content diverse enough? Do you need to rethink and broaden your target audience? Make sure that you are painting with a wide enough brush to capture the largest possible audience. 

On-site Metrics

Time on site

Once people leave social media for your site, are you giving them a reason to stay there? If you’re a media publisher, this is especially important. You want them to stay on your site and go as deep as possible. If you’re struggling in this area, take some time and figure out how you can keep them on your site once they’ve clicked through. 

Questions to ask: 

  • Is my interface user friendly?
  • Am I inviting people to click through to other stories/actions?
  • What value am I adding that I cannot provide on social platforms?

Actions on Site

Actions on-site involves tracking purchases, scrolling, page views, sign-ups, and other critical off-platform actions that show your conversions’ success. If you’re trying to get sign-ups or sell things, this is an important KPI to watch. Your goal should be pushing people to take action on your website. 

If you’re looking for some ideas to keep people on your site, here are some tried and true methods: 

  • Polls
  • Surveys
  • Videos
  • Mechanisms to push people to more content: 
    • “Next article”
    • Related content

It’s worth mentioning that this is a critical component of measuring time on site accurately. If users aren’t taking action, time on site is almost impossible to track. Make them scroll, click, or participate to be sure that you’re getting accurate numbers. 

Brand awareness

This is a unique one in that it’s a bit harder to quantify. Brand awareness is essentially product recognition by consumers. To get a full picture of how your brand is doing, you’ll want to look at the following things:

  • Follower count: Probably the easiest to quantify. How many people have chosen to follow you on social media and receive your content? Follower count can give you a good idea of your overall presence.
  • Backlinks: How many websites are linking back to your content? Backlinks can be a way of gauging your impact as a resource/content provider. 
  • Direct traffic: Are people are coming directly to your website? Direct traffic can indicate a strong affinity for your content/product/authority on a topic.
  • Earned media: Are you receiving coverage from other outlets? Maybe you’re getting highlights in newscasts, blog posts, newsletters, or other online media outlets. Track that! It’s great to know what other outlets are saying about your work.
  • Search traffic: This can give you some great insight into your audience. What is the intent, question, or reason users are visiting your site? Are you getting search hits for the right things?

You’ll want to study your competitors and look at things like market share, social engagement/follower numbers, and anything else that helps you paint a complete picture of your success. Seems daunting? Don’t worry! There are plenty of robust tools that can help you understand your industry and help you figure out where you rank.

Some places to start: 

  • socialbakers: Provides audience analysis, influencer marketing support, community management, and cross channel analytics and benchmarks to help you get a good feel for your cross-platform integration and success
  • Social Blade: Social Blade enables you to track stats across multiple social media platforms, including YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, Facebook, and Instagram. Look for trends, compare numbers, and look at influencers to get the whole picture.
  • BuzzSumo: Use their content insights to generate ideas, create high-performing content, monitor your performance, and identify influencers.
  • CompeteShark: They allow you to monitor and track your competitors marketing efforts in real-time. All of their web activity can be tracked and put into a neat little chart. 

So, which social media metrics matter?

The answer is very likely “all of them.” Spend some time figuring out which social media metrics are the success drivers for your objectives. Your goals should be to collect a set of KPIs that will help you tell the story of your success. If you’re struggling, True Anthem can help you choose KPIs and set up reports right in your dashboard. Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter for social media news and tips.

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