Social Media Analytics: What and why you should be tracking

Social Media Analytics: 

What and why you should be tracking


Most of those working in the public relations industry know that ‘media relations’ generally refer to a company’s interactions with editors, reporters and journalists. The rapid evolution of social media has shifted the role of communicators and marketers in ways very few could predict. This development significantly altered the process of relationship building as well as content creation and distribution for years to come.

A recent study shows that 66 percent of Facebook’s 500 million users consume news on the platform. On Twitter, 63% of the 300 million users get news directly from the platform.

Traditional news sources remain effective as communication channels, but there’s something to be said about communicating directly with your target audience.


Businesses quickly caught on to these trends, and with reason.


With the increase of social media users came access to analytics. Knowing which ones matter most to your business, and how to measure them is a game changer.

This post will skim over the basics of analytics. We will then go beyond vanity metrics and delve into the data that will help you tie in your social media efforts with overarching business goals.


What are social media analytics & how do they work?


When talking about social media analytics, we’re referring to the practice of using a variety of data and metrics to analyze what’s taking place on social networks.

Social media platforms use crawlers to collect public information from the internet. After gathering the information, it’s categorized using a variety of filters, such as media types, country of origin, language, sentiment, content type and much more.

Once the information is collected and filtered, a variety of data visuals are used to help users process the information.


Simple metrics - such as those in the  image above  - are useful. However, digging deep into this data allows you to show your higher-ups how your efforts are boosting business.

Simple metrics - such as those in the image above - are useful. However, digging deep into this data allows you to show your higher-ups how your efforts are boosting business.


Six metrics that matter:


1. Link clicks & bounce rates

Let’s say you write a blog on your website and push it through your various social media platforms. When doing so, it’s easy to simply look at click-through rates*. That being said, they’re far more telling when paired with bounce rates*.

  • -Click-through rate: ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page

  • -Bounce rate: percentage of page visitors who leave the website after only viewing one page.

Compare the bounce rate of web visits that come from social media with those who visit directly, from Google, or a paid ad campaign.


2. Web referrals & share of traffic driven

Look beyond your website traffic driven from social media and analyze the share of traffic driven. Compare the website visits from social media with those coming from other marketing channels.

For example, if your website has 40,000 website visitors this month and social drives 20,000 of them, you can see how powerful platforms truly are. When reporting to executives, this allows you to show how your efforts tie into business goals.  


3. Mentions & social share of voice

Metrics such as mentions show you how many people are talking to and about your business. Compare these numbers with those of your competitors by tracking your organization’s social share of voice. Your social share of voice is the percentage of mentions your brand receives within the industry, compared to those of your competitors.

Doing this will give you two insights:

  1. Which competitors are on social media and how you line up against them;

  2. Ability to calculate the total of your brand’s mentions, as well as those of your competitors.

Add them up for a total number and calculate the percentages. Take time to learn from your competitors’ successes. What are they doing that you aren’t? Are their approaches effective?


4. Comments & conversation rate

Calculate your conversation rate from comments on your brand’s posts. The conversation rate shows the ratio of comments per post to the number of overall followers you have.

Pull the number of comments received during a specific period and divide that number by your total number of followers for a percentage.


5. Shares & amplification rate

Dig deeper than the number of times your content is shared, and calculate your amplification rate. This will provide you with the ratio of shares per post to the number of followers you have.

Take the number of times your content was shared during a specific period and divide that number by the amount of followers you have.


6. Likes & applause rate

We all like to pat ourselves on the back after a post receives an impressive amount of likes. Your applause rate gives you the ratio of likes per post to your number of overall followers you have.

Add up the total number of likes your post receives during a specific period and divide that number by your overall number of followers.

Think of analytics are a road map, not a shortcut

Measuring this data won’t take you from 100 to 1000 followers. However, analyzing it and finding what works best with your audience might. Pick those that resonate with your brand’s efforts and start tracking them now. Consistency is essential to effective social media measurement. Over time, you’ll better understand what’s effective for your brand, and what isn’t.