How to Find the Right Social KPIs

Right Social KPIs

Is social media worth investing time and money for a business? Does this online marketing avenue help to generate revenue? CEOs and business owners often ask such questions to their social media managers.

Does not matter how popular and value centric social networking sites are, counting on their perceived values no more works today. Only measurable and commercial benefits that lead to cash flows are worth considering.

Being a marketer, you cannot let these questions unanswered. The best way to go ahead is to follow these two steps:

First, find the right social media KPIs that turn into profit and are easily measurable

Second, associate the KPIs and metrics with revenue generation system and then calculate the ROI

There are several social analytics tools like quintly, Hootsuite that present you with wonderful KPIs and metrics. The best part is that you get these data handy without rummaging through a number of social tools or maintaining a long log sheet on a daily basis. For example, quintly not only provides you with smart reporting and centralized analytics but also help you in establishing competitive benchmarks. The readily available analytical data (both your and competitors) from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and blog can make your fact-finding job easier.

Facebook Analytics Dashboard


Fig: Facebook Analytics Dashboard showing Change in Fan count and Details

Facebook Insights

Fig:  Facebook Insights from Hootsuite Analytics

The graphical representation of KPIs, metrics and their changes over time generated by these tools give you a performance synopsis and drives you to the action points.

In this article, we will learn social media metrics or KPIs that are most important to your business. Monitoring these metrics ensures you are reaching the right audience and the perceived value is measurable or quantifiable.

The KPIs could be the number of fans and followers your FB, Twitter, LinkedIn and other accounts have, the number of Likes, shares, mentions, retweets, comments or referral traffic your posts earn, or the audience of preferred demographics and locations. You can get these data by accessing Facebook insights, Twitter analytics dashboard or LinkedIn analytics and compare the growth by day, week or month. 3rd party analytical tools, however, consider multiple dimensions of KPIs and represent analytical data in the most intuitive way, thus making your job easier.

Now let us make this exercise a bit organized, detailed and action-oriented so that you know the significance of social analytics tools and make the most of the KPIs generated by them. We will combine these essential metrics based on your action points.

KPI – Potential Audience Reach

Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, or any other social media, it is important to know how acceptable your posts are and to how many people. Here is the list of metrics you can measure to define audience reach.

  • # of Friends, Fans, Followers, and Connections
  • # of Likes, Shares, Comments, Mentions, Retweets, Views
  • Audience growth rate per channel (New member/ Total Members)
  • Influence Score
  • Keyword frequency
  • Post reach per day
  • Unique Visitors, Page views
  • Traffic from social networking sites
  • Ratio of social media visits and visitors (in comparison to direct, organic and referral visits)
  • Average time spent, Average page visits by social traffic
  • Percentage of social visits
  • Brand mentions in others’ posts or conversations
  • Average page position of brand’s ad appearance
  • Cost per thousand impressions (CPM) for paid advertising
  • # of inactive, irrelevant and fake profiles

KPI – Activity by Social Team

These numbers show the overall output of your social media team. The activity includes creating social media feeds, posting and scheduling them on a regular basis, optimizing content, responding to comments and questions and more. Though social media activities reflect internal metrics they are really important to measure with time. You got to try new things with your social media strategies and experiment for better outcomes. Once you know which internal KPIs have contributed to maximizing audience reach and engagement you can replicate the process for higher yields.

Following are the ‘Activity’ metrics you should count on:

  • # of contents or shareable materials produced for a period (For example, Blog posts, PPT slides, Infographics, Videos, White Papers, Case Studies, E-books etc.)
  • # of social media updates for a period (For example, Facebook posts, Tweets, LinkedIn updates, YouTube Video posts, Pinterest Pin updates, Instagram posts, Google+ post updates)
  • Average Response Time and Response Frequency
  • Post type combination (For example, text, image, link, videos, poll etc.)
  • Post topic mix (For example, articles, blog posts, PDF resources, presentation, news, promotional offers)
  • Social media content development cost
  • The amount of money being spent by the whole team for a period

KPI – Engagement Metrics

These data exemplify how the social audience are interacting with your brand, and brand messages being posted over time. The metrics tell you what contents are getting shared or re-shared in social communities, by whom and at what frequency. Here is the list of those engagement metrics.

  • Rate of Retweets, Shares, Repins and Regrams in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram
  • Rate of Likes, Favorites, +1s, Thumbs-ups in Facebook, Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon
  • Rate of Comments per post
  • # of conversations or replies per post
  • # of Engagement actions per fan or follower for a social network
  • # of lead generating actions made by followers and fans (For example, inquiry form fill outs, resource downloaded, email subscription, webinar or event sign ups etc.)
  • Virality or maximum social reach per content
  • # of clicks per social media post and click-through rate

KPI – Conversion Metrics

Conversion is the bottom line of any social media initiative. A conversion can be measured in several ways – a purchase, a subscription, a download, a registration, an installation, a potential click, a long visit duration, a low bounce rate, or a phone call etc. Once you have the conversion metrics handy you are in a better position to set the dimension and dynamics of the overall social media effort. Google analytics does a great job here. You can assign monetary values to any of these conversions recorded through Google Analytics and keep on tracking for performance measurement.

Here is the list of KPIs any business owner would love to see during monthly staff meetings.

  • Order value or Purchase value for sales happened through social media
  • # of conversions for a time period
  • Conversion rate i.e. the # of actual conversion out of total # of desired conversion actions
  • Average revenue per customer
  • Cost per lead acquisition
  • Conversions by new and returning visitors

KPI –Customer Retention Metrics in Social Media

Retention is the most crucial stage of a customers’ journey. This makes or breaks a brand. Happy customers create more happy customers and vice versa. If customers keep on responding to your social feeds and agree to continue relationships even in the post sales stage, you are sure to win a referral customer i.e. a new business. A few metrics would give you clear indication of how your brand positions itself to the potential audience.

  • Customer retention rate
  • # of positive or negative reviews or comments posted by customers
  • Lifetime value of a customer i.e. the amount of profit you can make from him or her in future
  • Customer satisfaction rate
  • # of Customer testimonials earned
  • # of brand evangelists added
  • # of social influencers earned


Analyzing all these social KPIs and metrics would definitely help you understand –

  • Where do your strategies and actions stand?
  • How are your actions translated into results?
  • What activities are yet to be explored or started?
  • What are not working as per expectations?
  • How to improve or control certain things?
  • What to improve and how that turns into measurable results?
  • What works and what doesn’t in your case?
  • How are human perceptions about social media getting changed?

Make sure whatever metrics you study, monitor, present or try to improve with time, the data should translate into measurable and commercial benefits. Anything else is not worth your effort or expected by your business owner. So, get ready and drive your social media actions based on analytics data.


Disclosure: In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that the site owner is benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website. This is not to say that is the case with all content, as all publications on the site are original and written to provide value and references to our audience.


  1. Deepak Gera February 18, 2016
  2. Abrar Shahriar Alam February 18, 2016