Social Metrics Worth Measuring


You will share almost every type of content from your website via Facebook, so it is important to track as many metrics as possible about your interaction with this channel.

Number of fans in Facebook

While it might not be something that you want to track on a daily basis, knowing how many people are fans of your page on Facebook is very useful, as it gives you an indication of the total audience you have access to every time you post some new content.

On average, a Facebook user has around 180 friends, which means that for each person who comments on your post, or follows you, you acquire this much reach.

Tracking how many people follow you, and then monitoring traffic from Facebook will give you an idea of how large your reach is, and what kind of overall click through rate you get from different types of content.

Number of comments on posts

Under most privacy settings, when another user makes a comment about one of your posts, that will be mentioned in their news feed. The more people comment, the more exposure you get.  It is relatively easy to get a feel for the amount of exposure you are getting by viewing the number of friends that each of your commenters has.  Remember that not everyone logs into Facebook on a daily basis, but this will still give you an idea of the exposure you’re getting.

Look also at who is commenting – is there a hard core of people who are regularly interested in your posts, and if so, what can you do to influence them to comment more often, or become brand ambassadors for you.

Over time, build up a chart of what types of content get the most positive/negative comments, and push your output in the best direction for your audience, as the things that they are most engaged with are the ones that will encourage greater participation.

Number of Likes

As above, the number of likes a post gets has an impact on how widely it is seen in people’s news feeds.  Over time, build up a picture of what type of content gets the most likes, as this is the content that your audience is most interested in.  Produce more.

Number of referrals from Facebook

The number of referrals you get from Facebook will give you a good feel for how effective Facebook is as a channel for promoting your content.
Correlate information about the frequency of posts, number of likes/comments, number of fans/friends, and the number of visits you get to your website.
If Facebook is a relatively poor referrer, despite having a lot of followers, you should reconsider the type of content you are promoting from it.


Twitter is a channel that is generally best for sharing fresh content on an instant basis, and as such, will typically only deliver short term boosts in traffic.

Number of Followers on Twitter

Knowing how many people follow you at any one time is the best immediate indicator of your reach.  The number of followers should not be the be all and end all of your Twitter campaign; it is the way in which they interact with you and your content that is most important.

Number of Retweets on twitter

The behaviour on Twitter is to forward content via a re-tweet if appreciated.  Track the number of retweets that each piece of content you post gets.  A reasonably accurate way of doing this is to use or another URL shortening service, as these track the different times when the content is shared.

Over time, you can build up a picture of how the number of retweets you get correlates with different types of content.

Number of referrals from Twitter

The chances are that every piece of content you post on Twitter will get some traffic.  Investigate how many visitors you get from each piece of material you post, and correlate this with retweets, and follower numbers.  You would not expect a direct relationship between the different aspects, but it is important to consider how the different numbers interplay.

Number of Follow Fridays on Twitter

Follow Friday is a tradition on Twitter in which users promote other users who have been particularly useful to them over the past week.  It is worth tracking this number over time to see if the number of recommendations that you get increases in line with the number of followers you have.

Number of mentions on Twitter

Remember the point about not just using Twitter to promote your content? This is really important to measure.  If you are considered to be helpful and approachable, then you will get a fair number of mentions and indirect messages.  As you develop more followers, you will get more and more mentions as users interact with you.  The network effect that you have within Twitter means that as more people communicate with you, the more likely you are to be mentioned in their stream, and the more other users you are exposed to via their data.


Number of video views on YouTube

Monitoring the number of views that you get on any YouTube video is important for two reasons.  Firstly, it provides you with direct feedback about the popularity of your content, secondly, YouTube takes video popularity into account within its content ranking algorithm, so a more popular video within a particular interest group will rank more highly in the search results, and therefore be seen by more people.

Popular videos will also be transferred into the main Google Search results, and this can be a significant source of traffic.

  • You should compare the number of video views that you get with:
  • The number of views your other videos have received
  • The number of subscribers that you have
  • The number of views that similar videos have

Number of referrals from Youtube

You should always include a link to the most relevant page on your website within the description of every single video you upload onto Youtube.  This link has comparatively little benefit from an SEO perspective, so it is useful to add a tracking parameter to it – something like:

If you do provide each link with a unique parameter for tracking, then you should also place a rel=canonical tag in the page header of any pages that you link to to ensure that the search engines only monitor that content on a single page.

Make this link unique for each video, and you can measure their success as traffic drivers individually, as well as seeing the wider picture in analytics for your overall traffic from this source.

Number of Comments on Videos in Youtube

Video comments provide you with feedback and an opportunity for discussion about any content that you have uploaded.  It is important to read these, and bear in mind that they are part of the content of a page on the website, and  as such help to add weight to a particular page in terms of what the page subject is – good for SEO.

Number of subscribers on Youtube

As with the number of friends or followers that you acquire on other social networks, Youtube subscriber count is a handy indicator of the size of your network.  It is important to note that due to the way in which people predominantly find information on Youtube as a referral from Google search on a particular phrase, the number of channel subscribers that you have will likely be significantly smaller than the number of views you have.

Growing your subscriber base is useful from a networking and marketing perspective, as these users will be notified about any new content that you place.

You should also look at how many followers or subscribers similar businesses to yours have.  Bear in mind that they may have been online longer than you, but use them as a benchmark, and measure relative growth over time in order to assess the growth of your own network

Your Blog

Number of people taking your blog feed

You should make it as simple as possible to subscribe to the RSS Feed that your blog produces.  Many people use RSS readers including Outlook to track feeds from a range of blogs in order to keep up with information about what is being posted.  Feed subscriber numbers are a lot lower than they were in the past thanks to people using Twitter as a de facto feed manager; however it is still useful to know.

Many people plug the RSS feed from one blog into their own, and this can provide valuable back links that are helpful for search engine rankings.

Number of visitors to your blog

This is the number of people whose first arrival at your website was to a blog page, rather than a page within the main website.

Source of visitors to your blog

You need to look in detail about which websites refer the most visitors.  Look for patterns that you can make use of.  For example if how to posts consistently attract a large number of visitors from Twitter, but fewer than the normal volume you get from Facebook, you can see make the conclusion that your Twitter followers prefer this kind of content.

Google will typically pick up blog content very quickly, and add it to its index straight away.  Look at the kinds of keywords that refer traffic to your website, and investigate which result in conversions.  Use this information to develop a future content strategy for your blog.

Look at how the distribution of traffic varies over time.  In most cases, you would initially expect the highest levels to come from social media channels, but over time this might change, and you might well see increasing interest from search.

Average number of pages viewed by a visitor to your blog

More is better.  Unlike a conversion focused website, where the goal is normally to push the visitor to convert as quickly as possible, your blog is all about communication, and selling the brand experience.  Having engaged readers who visit numerous posts on each visit is a very good sign.

Look at the factors that have an impact on user engagement – are visitors from certain channels more pre-disposed to look at multiple pages than others.

Bounce Rates

Essentially this is the inverse statistic of the one above.  The Bounce rate is the number of people who left the blog without navigating away from the first page they arrived at.

Look at the different factors that impacted on this, and never be too harsh on yourself.  In some cases – particularly with long tail search referrals, you will find that visitors were able to find what they are looking for on the page of the website that they initially arrived at, and had no need to investigate further.

If you do see a bounce rate that is high – above 75% say, look at whether there are any factors that you can change.  If there do not appear to be any specific reasons, it may be worth specifically asking people what they think.  Perhaps the design that you thought was great is actually hideously ugly and puts people off; perhaps the navigation is not clear enough.

Number of people commenting on your blog post

In many ways, this is the ultimate metric of engagement for your blog.  Compare the rates at which people comment to the number of people who are reading.  There will always be a difference – some posts are more contentious than others, but it is always worth finding a way to boost interaction.

Look at what kind of themes within the content attract more comments – look at ways of precipitating discussion – try signing off the post with a question, or adding a poll.

Number of people linking to your blog

You can usually find information about the number of people who have actually written content derived from your blog by checking the link information in your blog dashboard – assuming that you’re software includes information about track backs.

Other than that, consider using Yahoo Site Explorer.  By doing a search for all links to your blog folder or sub domain, you can get an indication of the kind of content that attracts other people to link to you.

Percentage of blog visitors who went onto the website

If there is a single ultimate goal of your social media project, it should be tied into the overall commercial goal that your website has.  Unless you plan to offer order fulfilment via your blog (and there is no reason why you shouldn’t), the goal of your blog should be to push traffic through to the commercial part of your website.

If only a very percentage of visitors actually move beyond the blog, you should always look at why this is the case.  Investigate whether you are making the user journey clear enough; try running tests on the site to try different layouts or alternative messages about visiting the sales pages.  Monitor the rate over time, look at how different content impacts on user journey, and increase the amount of successful content that you add to the blog – although balance this against the content that leads to other success metrics being achieved.

Percentage of return visitors to the blog

Over time, you want to build a community for your brand, and engage more with potential and existing customers to improve the quality of service and product that you offer in line with customer needs and expectations.
If visitors start to return to your website more frequently and the percentage of return visitors increases over time, then this aspect of the campaign is clearly successful.  If not, look at factors such as where traffic is coming from – a high share of visitors from social networking websites should result in a high number of returning visitors, as these guys are already partially bought into what you offer.

In addition to the percentage, you should also look in detail at the raw numbers.  If returning visitors are increasing in terms of actual numbers, but falling as a percentage this is a success, if the opposite is the case, then you are doing well at selling to your existing customers, but failing slightly at acquiring new ones.

Most Importantly…

Conversion Rate of Socially Acquired Customers

Investigate whether your socially acquired visitors are more predisposed to convert into customers than others.  Conventional wisdom would suggest that they should be – after all, they have already engaged in a relationship with you that raw referral customers have not.  If the rate is not significantly above the norm, you should ask questions why:

  • What is the journey from blog to sale?
  • Does the sales website match the social brand?
  • Is the message getting lost?