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If you’re trying to market your brand or business through social media, it’s important to understand how well you’re doing. Social media metrics can help you make the most of your marketing efforts. Before learning which metrics you should measure in 2021, you’ll need to know what social media metrics are and why they’re important.

What Are Social Media Metrics?

Also known as key performance indicators (KPIs), social media metrics measure the success of your social media marketing campaign. In using analytical tools to track metrics, you can see the performance of your social media marketing strategy through an array of charts and graphs. Not only can you track performance in real-time, but you can compare it from one point in time to another.

Why Are Social Media Metrics Important?

Social media metrics help you determine which of your marketing strategies are working and which strategies you need to change or let go of altogether. These measurements also help you:

  • Expand your reach
  • Attract more followers
  • Make better audience connections
  • Boost sales
  • Improve your return on investment (ROI)
  • Understand which social media platforms work best for you

To help ensure the success of your social media marketing campaign, here are the most important social media metrics to measure in 2021.

Audience Growth Rate

As the name implies, audience growth rate is the rate at which your follower numbers are growing on a particular social media platform. The idea is to determine if you’re performing above average, but audience growth rate differs for varying groups of followers, according to Statista. For instance, in 2019 the average audience growth rate from January to June for people with 0 to 1000 Instagram followers was 9.4 percent. In contrast, the average audience growth rate for people with 100,000 to 1 million Instagram followers was 16 percent.

To measure your audience growth rate, tally the number of new followers you get over a set period. Then, divide this number by the total number of followers you started with and multiply by 100 to arrive at a percentage.

For example, say you gained 650 new followers over a period of six months and you started with 4,000. Your audience growth rate for the month would be: 650/4,000 x 100 = 16.25 percent.

Bounce Rate

When someone clicks on your social media content to arrive at your landing page, do they take action or do they bounce? A bounce occurs when someone arrives at a page on your website but leaves soon after. By calculating your bounce rate, you’ll know if people are staying on your page to take action or if they’re leaving.

Obviously, you want people to take action on your website, so the lower your bounce rate the better. For comparison, the average bounce rate across major industries is about 47 percent, according to Content Square. To find your bounce rate, use the following formula from Google Analytics:

  • Br = Sb / St x 100 to arrive at a percentage
  • Br – Bounce rate
  • Sb – Bounced sessions
  • St – Total sessions

Click-Through Rate

Before people make a decision to stay on one of your website pages or bounce, they actually have to arrive there. A click-through rate is the frequency at which people click on a call to action (CTA) you place in your social media post that gets them to one of your website pages. According to Strike Social, the average click-through rate on social media is about 2 percent. To measure your click-through rate, divide the total number of clicks on your CTA by the number of impressions (or views) that you get on a post. Multiply by 100 to arrive at a percentage.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate aligns with click-through-rate and bounce rate and lets you know how effective your marketing efforts are. It refers to the frequency at which people click on a CTA in your post and then take an action. Types of actions include downloading content, registering for a class or webinar, buying a product or subscribing to weekly emails. According to Viral Nation, you’ll know that your social media campaign has been successful if your conversion rate falls somewhere between 2 and 5 percent. To measure your conversion rate, use this formula:

Conversions / total number of visitors x 100 to arrive at a percentage

If 5,000 visitors on Facebook clicked on your CTA and 225 of them subscribed to your newsletter, your conversion rate would be 4.5 percent.

Engagement Rate

Engagement refers to how many times and with what frequency your audience members interact with you on social media. Various interactions include likes, comments and shares. Every social media platform offers some type of analytical tool to measure engagement.

High engagement rates often suggest that your social media followers are real people who are actively involved with your accounts. High engagement may also indicate that your audience likes your content and finds it valuable. To calculate engagement rate, try one of these two formulas:

When you want to know the percentage of people that interact with your content after viewing it, use the engagement rate by reach (ERR) formula:

  • Total interactions per post / the number of people that viewed the post x 100 to arrive at a percentage
  • For example, if a post reached 400 people and you had 95 interactions on the post, the engagement rate would be: 95 / 400 x 100 = 23.75 percent

When you want to know the rate that your followers interact with a particular post after viewing it, use the engagement rate by follower (ERF) formula:

  • Total interactions per post / total number of followers at the time of the posting x 100 to arrive at a percentage
  • For example, if a post had 250 interactions and you had 11,000 followers at the time, your engagement rate would be: 250/11,000 x 100 = 2.27 percent

To get an average engagement rate for either formula, you would simply add the engagement rates for a number of posts and divide the total by the total number of posts.

Social Media Metrics to Look for in the Future

Because social media changes by the day, the metrics you depend on now might not be as essential in the future. For instance, some social media companies are considering eliminating “like” counts to support the well-being of users and promote more personal interactions.

Also, with the popularity of video exploding, look for relevant analytics. These might include measurements that indicate what types of video resonate with your audience and metrics that measure how memorable videos are.

The Bottom Line

If you want to know whether your social media marketing efforts have been successful, you need to track metrics. You can find tracking tools built into each of your social media platforms. But for extra convenience, look for a reliable service that tracks essential metrics across all your social networks. If you’re marketing across many platforms, the time you save might be worth the money you spend.