There are countless ways to measure social media engagement. I have seen brands try to do it in so many different ways. Lately, many people have been discounting engagement as “noncritical” - but it's a mistake. They’re wrong, and here’s why.
As we’ve said for years here at Socialbakers, social media is not about one metric; it’s about monitoring and understanding all of them. The turn some are making away from engagement, deriding it as something unimportant, is really too bad. Engagement is more important than ever before. It’s the metric that all other metrics are based on: they rely on it, correlate with it, and drive it.
When we analyze Engagement and Reach, we find that there are natural correlations between the two. That means that before you get to the bottom of the funnel – to any action, click, app install, or other such action – you have to open the top of the funnel.
We have analyzed Engagement countless times. When we look at it minute by minute, it becomes clear that both Reach and Engagement drive one another. This means that publicly-measurable Engagement is still key.
The 3 ways to measure social marketing engagement are:
- Absolute number of interactions (and similar measurements, like Engaged users) – This is public, and very easy to use for competitive comparisons.
- Engagement by Fan Size – This is not as reliable when observed over a longer period of time, because the size of the community that sees promoted posts is flexible.
- Engagement in terms of Reach – a very popular metric, that I would be careful not to overuse (even the seemingly more actionable engagement / organic reach). It is commonly used incorrectly in order to indicate success. Still, using it as part of a larger social marketing analysis strategy can be good.
To measure Engagement, you can count:
- Public engagement metrics: Likes, Comments, Shares, Retweets, Replies, Favorites – All of which are very easy to use in competitive benchmarking.
- Both public and private metrics: Clicks, etc. – even though these are private metrics, they often correlate in clear ways with public metrics. So, you can still use these to do a lot of competitive benchmarking.
Of course, many other factors play into this: Frequency, using paid media to place content, and other factors. Ad metrics can be a tricky thing.
Measuring Social Media Doesn't Have to be Hard
We’ve found countless ways of factoring in public, private, and paid metrics into different dashboards. We try out new visualizations every day and create different side metrics that help prove specific points – all because measuring social success can be very confusing to marketers.
What we do at Socialbakers is try to remove that confusion with Socialbakers Analytics and our social dashboards. In recent months, we integrated many ad metrics and Facebook Insights metrics, then correlated that data with website performance using Google Analytics in order to take a more real-time look at what was going on.
My recommendation to marketers:
- Measure social engagement in all the above ways.
- Don't be afraid to think outside the box when planning how you will measure social marketing success in the future.
- Approach data innovatively – there is always more you can learn from social metrics.
Social engagement is everything – and these metrics are where it takes shape.
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