Defining metrics to measure your Social Media efforts: the case of ECWT

Last week, I shared how I defined Social Media goals for ECWT, my client. In this post, I will describe the indicators I selected to measure the success of ECWT’s Social Media efforts.

Defining metrics to measure your Social Media efforts: the case of ECWTJust like in any marketing or business plan, establishing “Key Performance Indicators” (KPIs) are essential to see if your Social Media strategy is going into the right direction or if you need to implement some changes.

Such indicators have to be attainable and timebound, which means you have to be realistic with the targets you want to achieve on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. For each of ECWT’s Social Media goals [1], I have established a different set of indicators and metrics:

1. KPIs for measuring increased traffic to ECWT’s website

  • Because my client wants to know if the implementation of Social Media has a measurable effect on the website’s traffic, I decided to include an indicator that compares ECWT’s website traffic with the traffic the year before, when no Social Media activity was yet taking place. The (Google Analytics) metrics I decided to compare are:
    • Visits
    • Unique Visitors
    • % of First Time Visitors
  • To find out if the overall traffic is increasing over time, I decided to compare the above metrics also monthly and quarterly.
  • Best Social Media Metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value

    Referral traffic coming from Social Media in Google Analytics. Image credit: Avinash Kaushik

  • I also want to know how much the traffic coming from Social Media is increasing over time, so I will create a segment in Google Analytics [2] to compare that type of traffic through the same metrics mentioned above.
  • Finally, I also want to know if the proportion of referral traffic coming from Social Media is growing in the overall traffic, so I will also follow up this proportion over time (again through the same metrics).

2. KPIs for measuring increased exposure, impressions and impact of ECWT’s Social Media channels

Different indicators are being used to measure the success of Social Media efforts. They can be grouped with the following labels [3]:

  • Measuring exposure (or fanbase):
    How many people are exposed to our Social Media communications?
    The metrics to measure are called a little different, depending on the chosen Social Media channel:

    • Fans (Facebook page), Followers (Twitter, LinkedIn company page, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr), People you have in Circles (Google+) and Subscribers (YouTube channel).
  • Measuring impressions (or reach):
    How many people saw our Social Media communications?
    Impressions can only be measured on Facebook and YouTube, and somehow (aproximately) also on Twitter:

    • Reach: the number of people who saw any of the posts on a Facebook Page in a given time frame (daily, weekly or monthly) [4]
    • Facebook Page Views statistics

      Facebook Page Views statistics

    • Unique Page Views: total views a Facebook Page receives in a given time frame, calculating only one page impression per user per session [5]
    • Views: the number of times a video has been played on YouTube (cumulative over time)
    • Clicks: the number of clicks a Tweet receives on Twitter
  • Measuring impact (or engagement):
    What did people do after seeing our Social Media communications?
    Above indicators are good for measuring the potential of our Social Media efforts, but that’s where it stops. The real success of Social Media is measured by another set of metrics that measure the engagement of the people following, liking, circling, subscribing or viewing us. The following rates have gained a lot of support among Social Media analysts [6]:
    Best Social Media Metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value

    Engagement rates from Google+. Image credit: Avinash Kaushik

    • Conversation rate:
      Does our content sparks conversation?
      Number of Comments (on Facebook, Google+, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram & Tumblr) and Replies & Mentions (on Twitter) per time frame
    • Applause rate:
      Is our content being appreciated?
      Number of Likes (on Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram & Tumblr), +1 (on Google+) and Favorites (on Twitter) per time frame
    • Amplification rate:
      Is our content being spread/viralized?
      Number of Shares (on Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google+), Retweets (on Twitter), Repins (on Pinterest) and Reblogs (on Tumblr) per time frame

3. KPIs for measuring increased exposure, impressions and impact of a dedicated blog

The same methodology can be used to measure the success of a blog:

  • Measuring exposure (or fanbase):
    Different KPIs can measure the exposure of a blog thanks to a series of features that can be installed:

    • The number of subscribers to the RSS feed (through a third-party service such as FeedBurner)
    • The number of subscribers to an RSS-to-email feed (through a third-party Email Service Provider)
    • The number of followers (through a third-party service such as NetworkedBlogs)
    • The numbers of subscribers to a dedicated newsletter (through a third-party Email Service Provider)
  • Best Social Media Metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value

    Advanced Segment for Social Media Referrals in Google Analytics. Image credit: Avinash Kaushik

  • Measuring impressions (or reach):
    The impressions of a blog, can be measured by measuring the overall traffic on Google Analytics according to the following KPIs:

    • Number of Visits during a timeframe
    • Number of Unique Visitors during a timeframe
    • % First Time Visitors during a timeframe
  • Measuring impact (or engagement):
    Similar indicators as on Social Media channels can be used to measure the engagement on a Blog:

    Best Social Media Metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value

    True Social Metrics is a tool for measuring these rates automatically. Image credit: Avinash Kaushik

    • Conversation rate:
      Number of Comments per post and/or per time frame
    • Applause rate:
      Number of Likes (via Facebook), +1 (via Google+) per post and/or per time frame
    • Amplification rate:
      Number of Share Clicks (via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) per post and/or time frame


[1] Read more in Setting Social Media goals for your Nonprofit: the case of ECWT
[2] To learn how to set up such a segment in Google Analytics, check out How to Track Social Media Traffic With Google Analytics
[3] This methodology is based on Chapter 3 of the brand new book Content Marketing for Nonprofits, by Kivi Leroux Miller, p 63
[4] What’s the difference between Impressions and Reach? by Facebook
[5] What Are Facebook Page Impressions? by John Mitchell, Demand Media
[6] Best Social Media Metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value by Avinash Kaushik

Leave a Reply