Know your objectives
Before you can identify the success of your social media campaign, you’ll need to know what you’re looking for. Different social media metrics correlate to different goals, usually like this:
- Generate awareness
If your social media campaign objective is to generate brand awareness, key metrics will be reach, profile visits and follows.
- Create engagement
In this case, you’ll want to focus on engagement rate, likes, comments, shares and conversations.
- Traffic acquisition
If you’re using social media to generate website traffic, you’ll want to identify how many visitors your activity has generated (clicks) and what those users did when they got to your site.
- Demonstrate what you do and why you do it well
A brand’s social media channels are frequently visited as part of the consideration process – we’ve seen how Facebook has developed reviews, search features and product showcases to do this, so your social media objective may be to create a representation of your brand that excites your audiences and demonstrates what you do and why you do it so well.
- Generate more enquiries or sales
Social media platforms are increasingly making it easier for your customers to make purchases – the likes of Instagram Shopping allow visitors to purchase items in your feed images directly.
- Qualitative KPIs
Qualitative data and context are important in social media marketing, too. You may believe that your social shop-front and perception of your brand is top notch, but that is entirely subjective. Qualitative data allows you to get a deeper understanding of the more subjective sides of your tracking (e.g. surveys) and help you to avoid making assumptions.
This is important because if your primary goal is increased engagement and you’re focusing on how many followers you’ve got, you’re probably wasting your time and effort and missing out on opportunities to communicate with potential customers or other businesses.
Reach vs impressions
Many social media platforms report on both reach and impressions, so what’s the difference?
Reach refers to unique views of a piece of content, whereas impressions are essentially how many times that content was served to users – they may have scrolled right past, and it could be the same person on multiple occasions.
How engagement rate is calculated
Engagement rate is an important social media metric that can be used to determine whether your followers are interested in what you’re saying, and therefore whether you’re targeting the right people with the right content.
Number of engagements are divided by reach, to identify how many people who saw your post took an action on it.
People are clicking through to my website and leaving
Whilst this isn’t a metric that any social media platform will give you, it’s something you should look at and you can do this using Google Analytics.
You may be satisfied that your traffic acquisition campaign has generated lots of clicks and increased website traffic – but remember that this traffic peak will be temporary, so what will you have to show for it next week? You’ll be able to demonstrate that your social activity has brought visitors into the site, but be sure to have a look at what they’re doing. A large number of visitors who leave quickly will skew your bounce rate, even if it is temporarily, and those visitors probably won’t come back. Have a look around at the pages they’re visiting and time spent on site, and if you find that your visitors aren’t sticking around, something probably needs to change for your next social campaign.
It may be the case that your messaging is off, doesn’t match what you have on your website or it’s difficult for users to find what they’re looking for. Consider a campaign landing page and keep it on-brand, and be aware of how different content placements affect click-through.
Can you really measure awareness?
Measuring brand awareness has always been difficult for marketers, but that’s why digital advertising has become so effective over print: not only is it where people are, it’s much more measurable.
That said, it still remains more difficult to measure brand awareness and it’s less clear cut than measuring traffic levels or engagement rates. When measuring brand awareness focus on reach and impressions, but be aware that an impression doesn’t really mean much – it means that somebody fitted your targeting criteria and was served your ad, it doesn’t mean they looked at it, took it in, took any action or even have any recall. Reach is the closest you can get to measuring awareness – but you may also want to check your direct traffic source on Google Analytics, to get an understanding of who has searched for your business by name.
When you begin your campaign you’ll be able to choose content types, and you can expect these to impact performance. Video, for example, is proven to be more effective and makes up a large proportion of where millennials spend their time online. Depending on your business and the campaign objective(s), you might decide that image, text or carousels are more appropriate for your message, but think about how this may affect results. Is your target market less likely to click through to your website or visit your profile from a video? Will they scroll through a carousel?
Understanding the data
Different social media platforms provide different data so it’s useful to know what you’re looking for, otherwise it can be difficult to get a fair overall picture of campaign performance. For example Twitter will allow you to report on impressions, profile visits, followers but you’ll need to work out engagement rate manually (engagements divided by reach), whilst Instagram gives a bit more insight into audience demographics, profile visits and how users found your account.
You’ll have access to different data depending on the platforms you choose, so think back to those objectives and what will give you the best idea of how they’ve been achieved.
Use a linear attribution model
Last-click attribution models are the most common when tracking social media success rate, and we often recommend against it. When tracked in this way, the conversion comes from the last place a visitor came from: for example, if somebody clicks through to your website from Facebook and makes a purchase on your website, the conversion is attributed to Facebook. The reality is that your visitor may have visited your website on multiple occasions, through different channels, each making up a proportion of your final conversion.
People visit, go away, research things, look around, come back. Multi-channel conversion paths are most common and often explain why many marketers don’t see an effective conversion rate from their social media channels.
For a real picture on conversions, you’ll want to use a linear attribution model which assigns a weighting to each stage of the journey and where visitors come from at each point – these weightings can be equal or different, depending on your buying process.