Social Media Key Performance Indicators

Read this article to know which KPI's you can measure your social media performance metrics. Know about the tools and methodologies that can help you calculate these matrics and regularly track your social media performance.

Do you remember a time before social media? A time before tweets, shares, and likes? In these times, companies interacted with the public by throwing lavish launch parties or exhibitions everywhere they thought they could sell their service or product. Now, thanks to technology and the birth of social media, it's become much easier to interact with people. Social media platforms are now some of the first touchpoints between companies and their customers.

Now just imagine you're a social media intern for a company and are managing all its social media accounts like I once did for Data Science Dojo's data science bootcamp. For an intern, that seems like a daunting task. Throw in that you also keep track of all social campaigns and you have a whole other challenge to tackle. It can be difficult for someone with little to no corporate social media experience to know where to focus your efforts, adjust/tweak ad spend, and develop a social media strategy involving multiple platforms. In the end, your boss is only going to ask you one question: How are we doing? 

That's what I'm going to help you answer today. At the end of this article, you'll know 3 of the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) so that you can tell your boss exactly how healthy your social media campaigns are. 

What are KPIs? describes key performance indicators as "critical (key) indicators of progress toward an intended result". In everyday terms, KPIs are the most important measurables, or metrics, that indicate whether our efforts are working towards achieving our goals. These indicators help us build a culture of analytical decision making to make our campaigns more likely to succeed.

There are a few qualities all good KPIs own and also mentioned on
  • Measure what is intended to be measured to help inform better decision making
  • Offer a comparison that gauges the degree of performance change over time
  • Can track efficiency, effectiveness, quality, timeliness, governance, compliance, behaviors, economics, project performance, personnel performance or resource utilization
  • Are balanced between leading and lagging indicators

Social Media KPIs

One of the problems with all social media channels is it's easy to get lost in the "fluff", or metrics that look good but don't mean anything. Likes and impressions are the fluffiest metrics. It's great that someone likes what you're posting, but it doesn't mean they're going to interact further with your brand. Impressions are just eyes on your post. You want people to see your post, but you need them to also interact with it. What's the point in having 5,000,000 impressions if no one interacts with it?
This leads me to three key performance indicators that you can use with any social media platform:
  • Engagement Rate
  • Click-through Rate (CTR)
  • Conversion Rate

Engagement Rate

The engagement rate is my favorite KPI to focus on. It takes into account all engagements (clicks, likes, shares, etc.…) with your post and divides them by your total number of followers. Engagement rate makes comparing social posts easy and gives you a quick update on how healthy your social media campaigns are running. With engagement playing a crucial role in how many people see your post (especially on Facebook and Twitter) it's an important metric to follow religiously.

The one downside to this KPI is it doesn't put a weight on the different types of engagements. For example, shares and comments are preferred and show more user engagement than likes. You can calculate a weighted engagement score, but the weights for each engagement will depend on the importance of that engagement.

Click-through Rate

A post that has 100 clicks is better than a post with 50, right? Well, maybe but we don't know how many people were able to see each post. This is where CTR comes into play. Click-through rate is an indicator of how well your call-to-action (CTA) performed. The higher the rate, the better the CTA reverberated with the audience. With a little math (clicks divided by post impressions) we can calculate the CTR and make each post comparable to the other.

Let's say the post that received 100 clicks had 10,000 impressions (1% CTR) and the post with 50 clicks received only a thousand impressions (5% CTR). In this example, the post with 50 clicks performed better than the post with 100, although we would want to find out why the 50 click post had a much lower number of impressions.

CTR shouldn't be looked at alone. It should be coupled with the engagement rate of each individual post. If the content has a high CTR and a low engagement rate, the audience liked the CTA, but the content itself they found to be low quality. A low CTR and high engagement rate says the CTA was poor, but the content was good.

Conversion Rate

Social media is mostly about sharing content and creating conversations, but that doesn't mean every post shouldn't have a goal in mind. When most people think of conversions, they think of customer acquisition. Many of your social followers are probably already your customers or they are only interested in the free content you are sharing. Conversions don't have to be about purchasing a product or service. They can be to increase brand awareness, website traffic, form submissions, or anything else that accomplishes a goal.
Why is it important to track the conversion rate? Because conversions are the end goal. It would be hard to see if a campaign is on track to succeed if you don't know the number of actions going towards accomplishing said goal.


No matter what marketing campaign you are running, it's important to measure key performance indicators that help you measure how likely you are to succeed. Three important social media KPIs are engagement rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate. Every social post should have a goal in mind. The engagement rate and CTR will measure the level of success the post had towards accomplishing the goal, and the conversion rate measures the rate at which the goal was accomplished.

About Author

Nathan Piccini holds a bachelor's degree in Business focusing on Accounting and Marketing from Montana State University – Bozeman and has a background in integrated marketing communications.


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