Which Social Engagement Metrics REALLY Matter

As one of the premier social analytics companies in the world, we spend a lot of our time awake (and sometimes asleep) thinking about metrics.

Which Social Engagement Metrics REALLY Matter

It goes hand-in-hand with our belief that getting better (optimization) is all about having actionable metrics. Monitor them correctly and they’ll take you to the top; however, ignore them at your own peril. At Socialbakers we also say: Social is not about 1 metric, its about ALL of them. And of course, that statement is not a solution – its part of the problem. Which metrics do you really focus on? A lot of companies have been focusing on Engagement as a key metric and looking at it from several different points of view.

These engagement metrics fall into two different categories: public metrics and private metrics (aka Facebook insights). Public metrics are made of everything that you can measure from any social profile. Private metrics are only for the pages you directly manage. However, there is no way to compare your private metrics with your competitor or your industry – however, you CAN compare public metrics.

What this means, basically, is that while private metrics are useful for knowing how your content is doing, they still leave you blind. Without a point of reference (public metrics) and competitive analysis, you have nothing to compare and you have no real way of accurately assessing your own growth or performance. On top of that, public metrics are translatable across ALL newsfeed based platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and others so you can compare your success on each channel.

So, let’s take a look at what metrics fall under which category:

Public Metrics (Comparable)

1. Engagement Rate – This one the main metrics that drives a brand’s success. Engagement is tied to the relative size of a page–it can show you how engaging your content (or your competitor’s) on all social media platforms.

2. Interactions – This shows you how many people are liking, commenting, and sharing your content. Whereas engagement rate is proportional to the size of a page or profile, interactions is an absolute number. Many companies measure via, for example, “Interactions per day”.

3. Shares or Shareability – This gives you an idea of how viral a brand’s content is. Are people showing their friends and coworkers a brand’s content? Also, people sharing a piece of content boosts its reach enormously, which helps brands reach wider audiences, especially when it comes to non-Fans.

For Facebook, there is also People Talking About This (PTAT), the problem of the metric is its only a 7 day activity metric but it also includes growth of fans. Many people have been using PTAT / Fans as the right measure of Engagement, but that thinking has quite a few issues. The combination of the above 3 covers all of this and its much better and more accurate.

Basically, monitoring these metrics is essential for being successful on social. When you compare and contrast them with competitors and your industry, then and only then can you see how your brand currently stands, and how you can improve in the future. Only Socialbakers Analytics allows you to compare not only to your competitors, but also to broad industry and local benchmarks. We are the only company in the world that will tell you how all industries and companies also locally are doing.

Private Metrics (Non-Comparable)

All that said, private metrics are also necessary, but for their own reasons. They give you a deeper idea of your demographic, your audience, and your personal performance; however, again–they can’t really show you how you can improve. And also, at least at the moment, they are limited to Facebook Insights data.

1. Reach (Organic vs. Paid) – This shows you many unique people have seen your post, and gives you an idea of the size of your audience. This is divided into two types: Organic, which is how many people saw it through Newsfeed or on a page, and Paid, which is how many people saw it through paid advertising (there was a third category, Viral Reach, which is now a part of Organic Reach).

2. Non-public Interactions / Clicks – Among examples of non-public metrics are, for example, clicks, connects to your Google Analytics (you can do this with Socialbakers Analytics as well), etc.

3. Frequency – is the amount of times someone was reached, allowing you to also be able to look at Unique Reach. This is a Facebook-specific metric, but we think that it is quite important to mention.

4. Many other, platform-specific metrics – You can measure several other things for specific platforms for example with Facebook Insights.

Socialbakers Analytics, in this case, allows companies to integrate the private metrics into their dashboards, so they save time from going back and forth.

Recommendation: Build your content scorecard

Each company should create its own content scorecard, publishing a list of content that worked across all platforms and sending it to the entire (social) marketing team. This will work to build better content for the future. You can build 2 specific scorecards: 1 competitive, for public engagement metrics, and 1 internal, for private metrics such as Reach.


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