Marketing and/or digital marketing goes hand-in-hand with business ownership today. Every good business owner works to develop an understanding of how their business performs across a vast array of digital channels – whether it’s the website experience, search engine behavior of their target customer, how people engage with the brand’s content on social media, or even just brand recognition and awareness across these platforms. This is especially true when discussing the channels that the internet revolves around: Social Media Platforms.
This article, Eight Social Media Engagement Metrics Explained, discusses engagement metrics that are important to understand for growing businesses. The first three metrics apply more to the content creator and are metrics that social media users are commonly very familiar with. The remaining five metrics are more relevant to the business, advertising, and promotion side of social media and apply more to business owners.
Social Media Engagement Metrics Explained: Creators
Social media users tend to be well-versed in what happens on a social media platform – you post content to a page and people can like and comment on it, or put that content in front of their friends by sharing it to their own page. These actions tend to take up the day-to-day activity of what it means to scroll through a social media platform. However, there are also engagement metrics that are important for business owners to consider as well, as they directly deal with the performance of your content and how your audience is responding to the content that you have to offer them.
1 – Likes
A like is the most basic social media metric there is. If someone sees your content and they like what they see, they simply click the “like” button, which lets you and other people know that they found that content enjoyable. Likes tend to work differently depending on the environment they are found in. For example, YouTube videos have both likes and dislikes, Twitter calls likes “favoriting,” and Instagram just has a simple “heart” to indicate that you enjoyed the content. Perhaps the most complex example of likes, however, is Facebook. The social media giant has made their “liking” system vastly different than other platforms with their “react” feature. When you post on Facebook, people can respond to your content with one of six different reactions: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry.
2 – Comments
Comments are another social media metric that social media users very commonly interact with. Sometimes, content impacts people differently. When people see something that really resonates with them or is really controversial, they’re more likely to leave a response on that content. Encouraging commenting can be a great way to drive engagement amongst your audience and keep a discussion going, but there is still work that needs to be done to really guide and facilitate that conversation, as social media comments are notoriously unregulated, unmoderated, and unfiltered.
3 – Shares
When you really focus your efforts on delivering high-quality content to your audience, you’ll begin to notice the number of shares increasing. Shares are arguably one of the most important metrics, as everyone who shares your content puts it on display for their entire network of friends and followers. While likes and comments drive engagement and keep a discussion going about the content, shares are how content becomes viral and how content gets out in front of the greatest number of people possible. Creators very commonly encourage their followers to “share with their friends” as it helps their page grow naturally.
Social Media Engagement Metrics Explained: Advertisers
The next section of social media engagement metrics to explain is more focused on advertisers and business owners. These metrics not only allow you to begin accumulating data on your content and campaigns, but they also help you to think like a marketer and understand how your social media content strategy is performing, so that you can optimize the content for conversions.
4 – Impressions
Impressions are an engagement metric that apply much more to the advertising side of social media and digital business. Advertisers create an audience, and then create an ad to be displayed to that audience (put simply). Any time that ad is displayed on the network that is serving the advertisement, an impression is recorded. Impressions are different than clicks and other social media metrics, because nothing else has to occur for an impression to be recorded. Your ad doesn’t technically even need to be seen – as long as the ad network displays it on a page and serves your ad, an impression is recorded.
5 – Reach
Reach is a metric for advertisers that ties in very heavily with impressions. While impressions are recorded any time an ad is displayed, reach is only recorded when the ad is actually seen. Therefore, if my ad was served 1,000 times but only 50 people saw it, I would have 1,000 impressions with a reach of 50.
6 – Clicks
Clicks are an engagement metric that isn’t commonly provided to content creators anymore. This engagement metric is typically only provided to advertisers these days, and it’s used to optimize ad performance. Clicks are a metric that is recorded whenever someone clicks on your ad or clicks a link within your ad. The click metric can be used to optimize an ad for clicks and drive engagement to an ad campaign.
7 – Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The Click-Through Rate is a crucial engagement metric for advertisers and business owners alike. The CTR is typically displayed as a percentage, and it gives insight into how your content or ad is performing. CTR is very commonly used as an at-a-glance metric to understand how your audience is responding to an ad or piece of content. CTR can be calculated by dividing the number of clicks your ad or content received by the total number of times your ad was served (Clicks / Impressions).
8 – Engagement Rate
Engagement rate is a social media and digital advertising metric that basically gives you the most broad understanding of how well or poorly a piece of content is being received by your audience. Engagement rate considers any sort of engagement – likes, comments, and shares, as well as link, video, or image clicks. This number is then divided by the total REACH of that post. So engagement rate essentially considers how many people actually saw your content and had some sort of a response to it.
For example, if I ran an ad that was served 2,000 times, seen 1,000 times, had 150 likes, 30 comments, 12 shares, and a total of 75 people clicked the link in the ad, my engagement metrics would look like this:
Impressions – 2,000
Reach – 1,000
Engagements (Likes, comments, shares, & clicks) – 267
267 (Engagements) / 1,000 (Reach) = 0.267 * 100 = 26.7%
Engagement Rate = 26.7%
While these social media engagement metrics are important for any content creator, business owner, or advertiser to understand, there is no one standard for target numbers in these areas. A good CTR could be 2% – 4%, but depending on the industry and the strategy taken for the ad, you could see a 60% CTR. The actual results and the data that you end up accumulating for your ad campaign(s) actually depends entirely on the strategy that’s used to market your product or service.
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