Brands that have a successful social media strategy use key performance indicators (KPIs) to track their performance and achieve their objectives. KPIs provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of social marketing efforts and enable data-driven decisions about LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and/or YouTube campaigns.
According to a 2022 survey by Social Media Examiner, 85% of marketers indicated that social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses, and 75% report increased web traffic. How do marketers get such good results? By measuring and optimizing their social media efforts. In 2020, 90% of B2B marketers said that measuring their social media marketing results is important, with 73% saying they use social media analytics tools. The top three social media metrics B2B marketers track are engagement, leads generated and website traffic.
What’s the difference between social media metrics and KPIs?
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, metrics and KPIs aren’t the same thing. Metrics are the individual data points or measurements of social media activities such as clicks, likes, comments and shares, while KPIs are comprised of several different metrics that are used to assess the effectiveness of a B2B social media strategy in achieving business objectives, such as lead generation, conversion and revenue growth.
The important thing to remember about the difference between metrics and KPIs is that tracking metrics alone may provide data on performance, but without the context of specific goals, they may not be meaningful or actionable for optimizing marketing strategies.
Before we delve into the different KPIs B2B digital marketers use to measure social media success, let’s address a few common (and commonly misunderstood) social media metrics:
Reach vs. impressions
Reach refers to the total number of unique people who have seen a specific piece of content, such as a post or an ad, on social media. It represents the potential audience size of a particular piece of content, and it is often used as a metric to measure the effectiveness and success of social media campaigns.
Reach is different from impressions, which represent the total number of times a piece of content was displayed, regardless of whether it was seen by a unique person or the same person multiple times.
By measuring reach, brands and advertisers can better understand the actual size of their audience and how many people their content is reaching. This information can help them make informed decisions about their social media strategies and adjust their campaigns as needed to reach a wider or more targeted audience.
LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram track paid and organic impressions and reach. Twitter tracks paid and organic impressions and organic reach.
YouTube tracks organic impressions and reach in the YouTube studio dashboard. YouTube paid impressions and reach are tracked in Google Ads. Video impressions is the number of times a video thumbnail was shown to a viewer. Video reach refers to the total number of unique viewers who watched a video.
Likes vs. engagement
Likes are one of the most basic forms of engagement on social media, and they indicate that a user enjoyed a particular piece of content. However, likes alone are not a reliable metric for brands to track because they do not necessarily reflect a user’s level of engagement with a brand, or their willingness to take further action.
For example, a user may like a brand’s post simply because they found it interesting or entertaining, but they may not necessarily be interested in buying the brand’s product or service. On the other hand, a user who comments on a post or shares it with their followers is more likely to be actively engaged with the brand and may be more likely to become a customer or advocate for the brand.
Engagement metrics such as comments, shares, and clicks are generally more meaningful for brands to track because they provide a better indication of how interested and engaged users are with the brand’s content. By tracking these metrics, brands can better understand their audience’s preferences and adjust their social media strategies to better meet their needs and preferences. Additionally, engagement metrics are more closely tied to business objectives, such as driving traffic to a website or increasing sales, which makes them more relevant for brands looking to achieve specific marketing goals.
Likes and engagement rates can be tracked on paid and organic social posts on all channels.
Tracking follower growth rate can help brands understand how quickly their social media following is growing and identify trends over time. However, brands should also track engagement metrics to understand how interested and engaged their audience is with their content.
Additionally, brands should consider the quality of their social media following. It’s important to attract followers who are genuinely interested in the brand’s products or services and are likely to engage with their content. Simply accumulating many followers who are not engaged or interested in a brand’s content may not provide much value.
Here’s how each channel labels the follower growth metric:
- LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram: Followers
- Facebook: Page likes
- YouTube: Subscribers
Choose Relevant KPIs based on your business and marketing goals
Different marketing or business goals require different social media KPIs to be tracked. By tracking these social media KPIs, brands can gain insight into the effectiveness of their social media strategies and make data-driven decisions to optimize their social media campaigns and achieve their marketing or business goals. Here are some examples of social media KPIs that might be important for a brand to track based on different marketing or business goals:
In addition to impressions, reach and engagement, brands can use the following metrics to improve their social media strategy, increase their reach, and improve their overall brand awareness:
- Follower Growth: Follower growth is the rate at which a brand’s social media followers increase over time. This metric provides insight into the growth of a brand’s social media audience and its potential reach.
- Brand Mentions: Brand mentions refer to the number of times a brand’s name is mentioned on social media. This metric helps to measure the level of conversation surrounding the brand on social media.
- Social Share of Voice: Social share of voice (SOV) refers to the percentage of social media conversations about a brand compared to its competitors. This metric helps to measure a brand’s share of the overall conversation and its competitive standing.
Conversions (lead generation, customer acquisition and sales)
Measuring conversions is important for businesses that want to track the return on investment (ROI) of their social media marketing efforts. This information can be used to optimize social media campaigns, improve conversion rates and increase overall ROI. Here are some social media KPIs that a brand can track to measure conversions:
- Click-through rate (CTR): This is the percentage of people who clicked on a post or ad out of the total number of people who saw it. This metric helps to measure the effectiveness of a brand’s content in driving traffic to its website or landing pages.
- Conversion rate: This is the percentage of people who took a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form, out of the total number of people who clicked on a brand’s social media post or ad. This metric helps to measure the effectiveness of a brand’s social media campaigns in driving conversions.
- Video view rate: This measures the percentage of views on a video ad compared to the number of times the ad was shown (impressions). A high video view rate indicates that the ad is resonating with the target audience and keeping their attention.
- CPC/CPV (cost per click/cost per view): These measure the cost of each click or view on an ad. CPC refers to text or image ads, while CPV refers to video ads. These metrics monitor advertising costs and can be used to optimize campaigns to achieve the highest return on investment (ROI) for advertising spend.
- Cost per conversion: This is the amount of money a brand spends on social media advertising to generate one conversion. This metric helps to measure the efficiency of a brand’s social media advertising campaigns in generating conversions.
- Return on ad spend (ROAS): This is the amount of revenue a brand generates from its social media advertising compared to the amount spent on advertising and helps to measure profitability of a campaign.
- Revenue generated: This is the total amount of money a brand earns from its social media marketing efforts and helps measure the overall ROI of social marketing efforts.
- Average order value (AOV): This measures the average amount of money customers spend on each order made through social media channels.
Customer retention is an important marketing and business goal because it helps to build brand loyalty, reduce customer acquisition costs and increase revenue over time. By tracking the following KPIs, as well as engagement and follower growth rate, brands can measure the success of their customer retention efforts on social media and identify areas for improvement:
- Customer lifetime value (CLV): This measures the total amount of revenue a customer is expected to generate for the brand over their lifetime. A high CLV indicates that the brand has a loyal customer base that is likely to continue purchasing from them.
- Repeat purchase rate: This tracks how many customers make multiple purchases from the brand over time. A high repeat purchase rate indicates that the brand has a strong customer retention strategy in place.
- Net promoter score (NPS): This measures how likely customers are to recommend the brand to others. A high NPS indicates that the brand has a loyal customer base that is likely to remain engaged and continue promoting the brand to others.
Social media has become a critical channel for customer service, as it provides an opportunity for brands to engage with customers in real-time, address their concerns and provide a positive customer experience. This in turn increases brand loyalty, customer retention and competitive advantage. By tracking the following KPIs, brands can measure and improve success of their social media customer service efforts:
- Response time: This measures the time it takes for a brand to respond to customer inquiries or complaints on social media. A quick response time can improve customer satisfaction and help to prevent negative feedback from spreading. Response time can be measured by the time it takes to acknowledge or resolve a customer’s issue.
- Resolution rate: This is the percentage of customer inquiries or complaints that are resolved on social media. A high resolution rate indicates that the brand is effectively addressing customer concerns and providing a positive customer experience.
- Sentiment analysis: The sentiment of customer interactions on social media can help brands gauge customer satisfaction. Sentiment analysis involves using software to analyze customer comments and determine whether they are positive, negative or neutral.
- Customer feedback: This helps brands to identify areas where they can improve their customer service. This can include customer complaints, suggestions and praise.
Tracking the following KPIs in conjunction with other KPIs, such as conversions and ROI, can provide a comprehensive view of the effectiveness of an influencer marketing campaign:
- Influencer engagement rate: This measures the level of engagement that the influencer’s content generates among their audience. A high engagement rate indicates that the influencer’s audience is highly interested in the content they are promoting, which can lead to higher conversions and stronger brand affinity.
- Influencer reach: This measures the number of people who see the influencer’s content. The reach of an influencer is an important factor to consider when selecting an influencer to work with, as a larger reach can result in greater brand exposure and increased engagement.
- Brand affinity: This is a measure of how well the influencer’s content aligns with the brand’s values and messaging. Brand affinity can be used to measure how well the influencer’s audience relates to the brand and to achieve brand alignment goals.
- Cost per engagement (CPE): This measures the cost associated with each engagement generated by the influencer’s content. By dividing the total cost of the campaign by the total number of engagements, a brand can determine how much it costs to generate each engagement.
Analyzing and optimizing overall social media strategy
In addition to CTR, SOV and CPC (described above), there are several other metrics that can help a brand measure and improve the effectiveness of its organic and paid social content:
- Video view count: This refers to the number of times a video has been viewed by users on a social media platform. It’s typically used to measure the overall reach of a video and to determine the popularity of the content.
- Video watch time or duration: This measures how long users watch a video before they stop or exit the video. It helps brands to determine how engaging their video content is, and how long users are willing to engage with it. It also helps brands determine what types of content their audience prefers.
- Video completion rate: This is the percentage of users who watch a video to the end. It indicates how successful the brand has been in capturing the audience’s attention and keeping them engaged throughout the entire video. A high completion rate suggests that the video content is highly engaging and effective, while a low completion rate indicates that the content may need to be reworked or optimized.
- Top performing content: This indicates which types of content resonate most with a brand’s target audience. It helps a brand to create more of what its audience wants to see.
- Referral traffic: This refers to the traffic that a website, app, landing page or even another social channel receives from a social channel or campaign. It helps a brand to understand which channels drive the most traffic and conversions and which campaigns to optimize.
- Audience demographics: This provides insights into the target audience, which helps a brand tailor content.
Tools to track social media KPIs
Marketing analytics tools – such as Hootsuite Insights, Sprout Social, Brandwatch and HubSpot, to name a few – can maximize a brand’s ability to measure and analyze social media KPIs by providing a more comprehensive view of social media performance. By aggregating data from multiple social media platforms, analytics tools allow brands to analyze their performance across several channels in a single view, which saves time and provides a more holistic understanding of social media performance.
Additionally, analytics tools deliver more detailed information. For example, while Facebook provides basic information on engagement rate and reach, analytics tools can provide more granular information such as the type of engagement (e.g. likes, comments, shares), the time of day the engagement occurred and the demographics of the engaged audience. And marketing analytics tools also provide more advanced metrics that are not available on social media platforms, such as sentiment analysis and brand mentions.
Add tracking codes to your website
To get the full view of social media KPIs, a brand must add social media tracking to its website (apps, landing pages, etc.). Each channel has its own tracking mechanism, so it’s important to follow the specific instructions provided by each platform to ensure accurate tracking.
For Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, a brand would add the following tracking codes to its website:
- Facebook Pixel – for Facebook and Instagram tracking
- LinkedIn Tag
- Twitter Ads Tag
Tracking for YouTube is a bit different. To track YouTube ads and website conversions requires Google Ads Conversion Tracking. This will allow a brand to track website visitors and measure the impact of YouTube ads. To do so, a business must create a conversion action in Google Ads, and then add the tracking code to its website using Google Tag Manager or manually in the header of its website.
Marketing automation tools use their own tracking pixels to provide more detailed insights into the performance of social media and other digital marketing efforts.
Monitor KPIs and adjust accordingly
Monitoring social media KPIs is a continuous process for B2B marketers. Doing so enables marketers to adjust social media campaigns based on performance. Monitoring KPIs also ensures that a brand’s social media efforts are effective in achieving business goals. Effective KPI tracking enables a brand to identify areas for improvement and adjust its strategy accordingly, leading to better ROI and overall success in their social media marketing efforts. For example:
- If engagement rate is decreasing, a brand may need to adjust its content strategy to create more engaging content that resonates with their audience.
- If conversion rate is low, a brand may need to optimize its landing pages or calls-to-action to improve the user experience and encourage more conversions.
- If cost per click (CPC) is increasing, a brand may need to adjust their targeting or bidding strategy to make their ads more cost-effective and efficient.
KPIs drive B2B social marketing success
It takes diligence, expertise and the right tools to measure and analyze KPIs and the impact social marketing efforts on marketing and business goals. With effective analysis, a business can make data driven decisions about existing and future campaigns. And the results are well worth the time spent. If you’re ready to get started today, partner with a B2B digital marketing agency that has the right tools and know-how to get the job done. Learn how Elevation Marketing can help.