Measuring Social Media Performance

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to assess the progress of your social media marketing efforts over the past year. How did you fare? What did you hope to improve coming into 2019—but perhaps missed the mark on? Where would you like to set your sights for 2020?

Those questions may seem overwhelming at first, but luckily, a social media performance analysis can help you dig deeper into the effectiveness of social media for your brand.

Why Social Media Analysis is Useful for Marketers

Social media analysis refers to the process of determining how you compare to industry averages in an effort to answer, “How are we doing?” “What can we do to improve?” By identifying benchmarks, we are able to set milestones to aim for, to define what success means for our brands. What’s more, you will be able to develop an understanding of where you fall within the industry—including against direct competitors. When you share the same target audience, it is important to build understanding of the content your audience is being served.

Social performance measurement helps you:

  • Develop an impactful content strategy
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Understand competitors’ strategies
  • Allocate (and reallocate) budget for ad spend, content creation, photography or videography, etc.
  • Stay aware of industry trends

Without metrics against which to compare, it is difficult to understand your progress not only based on past performance, but also in comparison to others in your respective niche. At DMA Solutions, we monitor our client accounts constantly, and we share in-depth reports monthly. We prefer this frequency over a quarterly or yearly report, because it equips us with data to inform our content decisions and either continue with a strategy that is working or to pivot on one that could perform better—without losing time or viewership.

Before diving into the data, decide which platforms to analyze. Which social media outlets are you currently using? What platforms are your competitors/industry using that you aren’t? Take a peek at where your target audience is most active—likely Instagram, Facebook and perhaps Twitter—and if you aren’t already, be sure you consider the value Pinterest and YouTube might provide for your brand.

The metrics you decide to analyze will be dependent on your business goals. Do you hope for more followers? Then community growth is important. Do you want more people commenting on your posts? Measure engagement.

Here are the main KPIs that we recommend analyzing for social media:

  • Community Growth Rate
  • Engagement Rate
    • Applause Rate
    • Amplification Rate
  • Post Frequency
  • Hashtag Performance
  • Post Reach
  • Conversion Rate
  • Social Media Ad Performance


Community Growth Rate

Community size is that big flashy number that marketers are hyper-focused on, especially after creating a social media account. Remember, while it’s important to grow your follower count in order to get in front of your audience consistently, unless you are really maintaining your accounts (and engaging with your audience), then it’s just a (hopefully large) number. By tracking community growth, you can see how your audience changes over time—bonus: this trend is just as easy to track for your competitors.

How to calculate:

Community Growth Rate (%) = (Net New Followers/Total Audience) x 100


Engagement Rate

Engagement is the metric that marketers most often rely on as a true measure of success. It refers to active interactions (i.e. participation) with your content: ratings, likes, shares, clicks, and comments. Even hashtag usage falls under engagement.

Pro-Tip: The biggest driver of engagement is post quality. Think about it: you likely only follow accounts that share content you enjoy and/or find useful. What added value does your account provide for your followers?

Average engagement rates per post (across all industries):

How to calculate:

Engagement Rate (%) = (Total Engagement/Total Followers) x 100

  • Total Engagement refers to the number of interactions (the measurement of which is dependent on the platform: typically, likes, shares, and comments are always included).
  • Total Followers refers to the total number of individuals who are following the account.

Pro tip: Analyze campaign-focused metrics after a promotion. Compare your results to your average engagement as well as to previous promotions in order to determine improvement.


Applause Rate

This metric is similar to engagement rate, but “applause rate” only tracks “likes.” Think of this as how many people are applauding (i.e. “liking”) your posts.

How to calculate:

Applause Rate (%) = (Total Likes/Total Followers) x 100


Amplification Rate

Amplification rate is similar to engagement rate, but it only tracks “shares,” or how those engaging with your content are helping it reach a larger (amplified) audience.

How to calculate:

Amplification Rate (%) = (Total Shares/Total Followers) x 100


Post Frequency

Post frequency, of course, refers to how often you are sharing content. Note your frequency in relation to engagement: do you post often with low engagement, or do you see the opposite effect? Knowing this metric will help you determine how often you should share with your audience. Furthermore, consider the following:

  • How often does your biggest competitor post?
  • How often are they getting in front of their (and your!) audience?

You will need to engage in some trial-and-error testing with your post frequency rate to determine the sweet spot for your brand. In addition to testing the waters for ideal post frequency for each account, consider trying out different content types: recipes, general product pictures, field photos, educational and nutritional information, etc.—and be sure to note which tends to perform best!

Average post frequency (all industries):

  • Facebook: 0.97 posts per day (RivalIQ)
  • Instagram: 0.70 posts per day (RivalIQ)
  • Twitter: 0.86 posts per day (RivalIQ)

Once you determine what post frequency works best, commit to posting consistently in order to generate positive results.  


Hashtag Performance

This measure isn’t as relevant for Facebook or YouTube, but definitely take hashtag performance into account for Twitter and Instagram! Tracking trending hashtags can help you positively leverage those trends, and being strategic with hashtag usage can yield great results—the right ones *do* help with reach and visibility.

Recommended hashtag quantity per post:

Instagram: 9 hashtag per post (TrackMaven)

Facebook: 1 hashtag per post (TrackMaven)

Twitter: 1 hashtag per post (TrackMaven)

Pro-Tip: When using a hashtag on Instagram, you can return to your post, click on “View Insights” at the bottom of the image, and see how many views came from the hashtag you used.  


Post Reach

Post reach tells you how many people have see a post, AKA how many eyeballs have (figuratively) interacted with your post (note: this number denotes passive interaction, not engagement). Reach is the easiest metric to adjust for, as results can be impacted by everything from timing to content. Want to improve this metric? Try switching up the time of day posts go live, or change from static images to video content.

How to calculate:

Post Reach (%) = (Measure Post Reach/Total Followers) x 100


Social Media Conversion Rate

Social media conversion rate refers to the number of visitors who click on an in-post—or in-bio—link and *take action on a page. A high conversion rate is a signifier that you’re creating compelling content for your audience.

*you’ll need a trackable URL (or a LinkedIn Tag, for that platform) to determine actions taken on your page.

How to calculate:

Conversion Rate (%) = (Social Media Conversions/Total Conversions) x 100


Social Media Ad Performance

(all data from AdStage)

In addition to tracking organic content, it is important to understand the impact of your ad spend.

The basic social ad spend measurements:

CPC ($) = Ad spend/clicks

            The amount you pay per individual click on sponsored posts

CPM ($) = (Sponsored ad spend/impressions) x 1000

            The amount your pay every time 1,000 people see your sponsored post

CTR (%) = (CTA clicks of a post/impressions) x 100

            How often people click on an in-link post

Now that you’re armed with calculations up to your nose, what’s a produce marketer to do? Turn data into action, of course! Recap your analysis with actionable insights. For example: Video content gets the best engagement rate. Consider promoting videos on platforms you’re currently using, like Instagram and Facebook and incorporate other platforms like YouTube.

Actionable insights = ANALYSIS + ACTION ITEM

This approach will provide a valuable road map to steer your efforts moving forward. After all, data is nothing without a plan for implementation!

Not sure where to start? Contact us, and check out these useful resources on social media marketing and strategy: 


Hungry for more? Leave us a comment below or reach out to us on Twitter @TheCoreBlog!