The Social Health Index: A New Way to Measure Social Performance

In partnership with global technology leader Lenovo, Socialbakers has developed the Social Health Index as a key addition to our Social Marketing and Advertising Suite. It's the definitive new metric to help brands get the complete picture of their social performance in one easy-to-understand rating.

The Social Health Index: A New Way to Measure Social Performance

We have been working with our colleagues at Lenovo on how to transform social media measurement for more than a year. They needed a single measurement to help them accurately and easily understand their competitive performance on every social platform, something that could elevate social and drive decisions at the executive level.

We wanted to produce something that would be simple, but not at the expense of overall capability. So our Research & Development and Professional Services teams identified the most essential components to a healthy Social life. We call them P.A.R.S., and together, they constitute the Social Health Index:

  • Participation – in a social conversation
  • Acquisition – of new fans and followers
  • Retention – of those fans and followers
  • Sharability – of content you publish or curate

We believe it is extremely important to make sure that our Index represents the realities of competitive business practices. That means it is best to compare brands from within the same vertical or segment in order to get the most accurate contextual measurement possible. Most importantly, that means we based the overall Health Index score on the median value of each element of P.A.R.S., so that the results are not susceptible to one-off fluctuations and spikes.


Lenovo had several challenges when it came to measuring and reporting on social performance. As metrics expand and evolve, knowing what to measure on which platform is central – and must be done in context, with a view of the performance of both what their direct competition and other major global brands are doing.

Getting this single view of their performance, and being able to see how they were doing on each platform, in each cluster, was key.

We worked with Lenovo to examine their Social Health against seven global brands – some direct competitors, and others not.

The results are quite clear and easy to understand. Lenovo is strongest on Facebook with a score of 69, and scores a 57 for all platforms overall. That means Lenovo is in the 69th percentile of Facebook performers in their cluster, and is in the 57th percentile overall.

With the Social Health Index, Lenovo can identify peaks on different platforms, look at what drove a higher score that week, and adapt their strategy.

The early results have been positive. Lenovo now has a picture of their performance against other major global brands and within their specific markets, and has already starting using the data to adjust some platform-centric strategies.

The key to the success of the Social Health Index is its simplicity. Lenovo’s teams can look at the big picture and get a broad but comprehensive view of their overall social performance against really any market or geographic benchmark they choose. Then, they can drill by platform and get into real competitive analytics.

From there, they can go even further and compare their rating against specific competitors in specific markets.

Here’s an example from their Socialbakers Executive Dashboard of how they matched up with Asus.

The numbers in each column are overall Social Health scores for each platform.
The numbers in each column are overall Social Health scores for each platform.

“We needed a way to evaluate our social performance and report the results in a digestible way,” says Rod Strother, Director of the Digital and Social Center of Excellence at Lenovo. “With the Social Health Index, we get actionable insights that we can act on immediately, and that everyone – at every level of the organization – can understand and interpret.”

How it Works

For Socialbakers clients using our Executive Dashboard and Command Center, the Social Health Index presents platform-specific, and P.A.R.S. element-specific data against multiple competitors, complete with incredibly rich visuals.

The overall Social Health score is the median value of a brand’s platform-by-platform performance.
The overall Social Health score is the median value of a brand’s platform-by-platform performance.

The Social Health Index uses a system of deciles (or percentiles) based on median scores by platform. Using median values means that a successful campaign on YouTube cannot significantly change other parameters. The system has a built-in resistance to sharp fluctuations. You get a consistent, reliable measure of your performance every time.

What it Means

80% of Fortune 500 companies have a presence on multiple social platforms; the social ad spend in 2014 will be over $16 billion, an increase of 45% from 2013. Social is now a key aspect of most industries, and needs to be understood at the highest levels of every organization. The Social Health Index provides a direct comparison with the competitors you choose to focus on, puts your social performance in context, and provides a simple and focused metric to be tracked at the executive level.

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