Metrics, metrics, everywhere, but what really counts?


When the subject of social media marketing comes up, there’s always an “ROI guy” in the room. You know, the person who pounds the table and says wise things like, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Others join in with opinions about metrics, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), CPCs (Cost Per Clicks) and CTRs (Click Through Rates). Now you’re down a rabbit hole—everyone agrees that you want to spend your social media budget wisely, but no one can agree how.

Welcome to the world of social media metrics. Of course you want to measure how well a particular campaign is working, but how many metrics are enough, and which results are most reliable? This topic is going to take WAY more than one blog, but here are 4 general guidelines to keep in mind (and throw back at the ROI guy when the subject comes up again — and it will!)

Beware of “vanity metrics”

There are metrics that make you feel good, e.g. likes, shares and retweets, but don’t mean bottom line sales. Focus on the data that matters—leave the rest to your BFFs. The same applies to “social shares”. People often share content that they haven’t actually read because they want to appear to be interested. What you really want are comments and actions that demonstrate genuine engagement.

It’s not rocket science

With hundreds of metrics available (general and platform specific), budget time wisely. This is particularly the case when you are under 1 million in revenue. Instead of constantly measuring every click and bounce in sight, in most instances, you are best to just “do” (e.g. build relationships, nurture leads, close sales, etc.) If you are spending more time “measuring” ROI then actually engaging - you got it wrong!

It takes discipline and adjustments

Social media metrics aren’t solely about validating your marketing strategy. Businesses large and small need to set time aside to review their marketing efforts and tweak as needed. The basic questions include: what are getting us leads and sales, what isn’t working, what can we adjust? what should we amp up?

It’s easier to say “ROI” than to actually do it

Return on investment metrics are not easy to get. Larger companies have dedicated teams and budgets to hire in ROI experts with the latest tools and practices. Plus, social media’s true value isn’t necessarily about direct attribution. For the smaller organization, focus on a few general metrics and don’t be discouraged if you can’t get too specific.

  • Customer acquisition cost (marketing budget compared to sales)

  • Qualified leads and unqualified leads (know when you are wasting time!)

  • Click through rates (available for all social media platforms)

  • Conversion rates. According to Sprout Social, 74% of shoppers make buying decisions based on social media. Looking for a good metric? Track leads and sales!

Bottom line

Our Managing Director, Michelene Maguire, is often heard saying; “there is no better KPI then revenue growth! Because the truth is that it’s the stuff that you can’t measure that really matters. A great campaign or a great display ad means nothing if measured really well and not meeting your objective!”

At Maguire Marketing Group, we believe in data driven results, and yes, we talk “ROI”. But we also know that for any company, these are difficult to measure or repeat. Measure the c%#p out of everything you can and know; know when to stop if you don’t see any traction. And don’t be afraid to trust your gut, especially when something is going very badly, or very well!