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25 Social Media KPIs You Should Be Tracking and When

Setting smart social media KPIs will help your team focus on the metrics that really matter and track performance over time.

Hannah Macready August 16, 2023
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Ever wonder if your business’s social media strategy is actually helping you achieve your goals? Social media KPIs allow you to measure and prove the success of your campaigns in a reliable way.

Think of KPIs as predetermined targets to track how you’re doing. By tracking metrics like engagement, follower growth, and conversions, you get proof that your social media strategy connects with your target audience, builds brand awareness, and drives ROI for the business.

Not to mention, you’ll have an easy way to prove to your boss that your efforts are paying off.

Let’s explore the most important social media marketing KPIs, when to track each one, and what they tell you about your social media campaigns.

Bonus: Get a free social media report template to easily track and measure performance against your KPIs.

What are social media KPIs?

KPI stands for key performance indicators.

Businesses use KPIs to determine performance over time, see if they’re meeting their goals, and analyze whether they need to make strategic changes.

Social media KPIs are the metrics used to determine if a business’s social media marketing strategy is effective. Basically, they’re tracked data related to a company’s presence on individual platforms like Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), or Instagram, or across all social platforms collectively.

Chances are, your social team sets SMART social media goals. Your social media KPIs should also be SMART:

  • Specific: Be as clear as possible. For example, do you hope to increase the brand’s Facebook follower count by 500 in the next month? Do you want to increase your click-through rates by 20% by the end of the year?
  • Measurable: Will you be able to track and quantify your progress? For example, during a monthly check-in, you should be able to determine how close you are to meeting the goal.
  • Attainable: Keep it real. Set KPIs that are within an achievable scope.
  • Relevant: Make sure each social media KPI connects to the business’s larger goals.
  • Timely: What’s the timeframe for achieving this goal and determining whether success has been met? One month, six months, one year?

SMART KPIs will make it easier for you and your team to commit to your goals and consistently work towards them over time. Plus, they make reporting successes back to your boss easier. It’s easy to see the wins and the progress!

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How to set social media KPIs

Setting your social media KPIs should start with an overall goal. Ask yourself: what’s your end game?

For example, is the goal of your social campaigns to increase brand awareness? Drive website traffic? Or to get more conversions and sales?

Once you decide on a main goal, it’s time to break that down into individual KPIs. For example, if your end game is to drive website traffic, then one of your KPIs might be the number of clicks each post drives from social media to your site.

Remember: No company’s business goals are set in stone—that means the social media KPIs you set should also be able to change over time as the overarching business goals change.

To set and monitor effective social media marketing KPIs, follow these tips.

1. State the KPI’s objective

Make it clear how tracking the KPI will help the company reach a specific business goal. Think beyond numbers and data. How do the metrics you’re tracking support the business and play into the larger, carefully designed strategy?

2. Name your KPI

Now that you know how your KPI is supposed to support your business goals, decide on a metric that will help you measure if you’re on track.

For example, if your business is focused on growth and you want to build brand awareness on social media, you might want to make Facebook impressions one of your KPIs.

When you settle on a metric, make your KPI specific (or SMART) by adding a value and a timeline to it.

3. Share the KPI

Now that you’ve decided on an important KPI, don’t keep it to yourself. Communicate these KPIs with your team, your boss, and any other stakeholders who should stay up to date with your strategy. This will help you set expectations and make sure everyone is aligned on what you’re measuring and why.

4. Analyze your current performance

If measuring social media KPIs is new to your team, make sure you collect benchmark data. That way, you can compare changes over time and know growth when you see it—and prove to your boss that your strategy is working!

And, speaking of benchmarks…

5. Understand industry benchmarks

To set realistic goals, you need to understand what success looks like for social accounts similar to yours.

With Hootsuite’s social media benchmarking, you can find out how others in your industry are doing on social and compare your results with just a few clicks.

To get industry benchmarks, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Hootsuite dashboard and head to Analytics.
  2. In the menu on the left side of the screen, find Benchmarking and click Industry.
  3. Pick an industry that best describes your business.
industry categories in hootsuite analytics benchmarking tool

That’s it! Now you can see how your results compare to average performance stats within your industry. You can set up custom timeframes, switch between social networks—Instagram, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, and TikTok—and look up benchmarks for the following social media metrics:

  • Profile impressions
  • Profile reach
  • Followers
  • Audience growth rate
  • Engagement rate
  • Video plays
  • Posting frequency
  • Clicks
  • Shares

… and more.

graph showing engagement over time in hootsuite analytics

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You can also get even more granular and compare your performance to specific competitors rather than your industry as a whole. Track up to 20 competitors per network and get a clear view of your strengths and weaknesses—plus actionable insights on the top posts, hashtags, and content formats in your niche.

Follow these 4 simple steps to track competitors with Hootsuite:

  1. Sign in to your Hootsuite account and pick Analytics from the left side of the dashboard.
  2. Then, click on Competitive analysis in the Benchmarking section.
  3. At the top of the page, use the dropdown list of your social profiles to select the one you want to compare to competitors.
  4. Then, pick the competitors you want to measure your performance against. To do that, go into the second dropdown list and check the boxes next to the competitors you want to view. To add competitors, click Manage competitors at the bottom of the dropdown box.
competitive analysis dropdown menu in hootsuite analytics

Then, type the name of a competitor into the search bar and select the correct profile from the dropdown list. Depending on your Hootsuite plan, you can add between 2 and 20 social media accounts per network (Facebook, Instagram, and X, f.k.a Twitter) to your watchlist.

list of hootsuite competitors shown in hootsuite analytics

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And that’s it! Now you can browse several competitive reports, and see how you stack up against specific players in your industry.

6. Define your cadence

Are you tracking your KPIs weekly? Monthly? Bimonthly? Decide on a pattern that will help you clearly see growth patterns and developments, and react quickly when things aren’t working great.

7. Review the KPI

Schedule time — perhaps once or twice a year — for a bigger review of your KPIs. Are they still relevant? Are they still helping you meet company goals? Should changes be made?

Remember: why and how you set social media KPIs could change as the business changes.

Important social media KPIs

Narrowing down your social media KPIs can be tough. There are KPIs for reach, engagement, and conversions. Not to mention, KPIs for each platform: Facebook, Instagram, X (f.k.a. Twitter), YouTube, TikTok and so on.

To make sure you’re tracking the right metrics, start with the basics. Here’s a quick overview of some social media KPI examples you need to know when measuring social media success.

Reach KPIs

Reach KPIs measure how many users come across your social media channels. These users might only interact with the channel passively—reach and engagement are two different things.

Think of reach as a quantity measurement—reach data demonstrates your existing and potential audience, growth over time, and brand awareness.

Impressions

This is the number of times your post was visible in someone’s feed or timeline. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person who viewed the post noticed it or read it.

Follower count

The number of followers your social channel has at a set time.

Audience growth rate

You want to make sure you’re gaining followers, not losing them. Audience growth rate demonstrates how your follower count is changing over time.

Here’s a simple formula for tracking it:

audience growth rate calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Reach

This is how many people have seen a post since it went live. Reach changes depending on when your audience is online and how good your content is. It gives you an idea of what your audience finds valuable and interesting.

Here’s how to calculate it:

post reach percentage calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Potential reach

This measures the number of people who could see a post during a reporting period. Put another way, if one of your followers shared your post with their network, between 2% and 5% of their followers would factor into the post’s potential reach.

Here’s how to calculate potential reach:

potential reach calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Social share of voice

This metric tracks how many people mentioned your brand, compared to the number of people mentioning your competitors. Simply, it shows how relevant your brand is within your industry. You can use a social listening tool like Hootsuite to measure your own and your competitors’ mentions during a specific timeframe.

Here’s how to calculate social share of voice:

social share of voice (SSoV) calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Website traffic

Web traffic is another great KPI for social media managers to track. It shows how many people visit your website from your social media platforms.

Here’s how to calculate website traffic using Google Analytics:

  1. Sign into Google Analytics and click Reports in the left-hand menu.
  2. Then, select Aquisition from the dropdown list.
  3. Choose Traffic Acquisition or User Acquisition and look at Organic Social. This will tell you how much of your website traffic is coming in through your social channels.
  4. Finally, switch to a different date range (monthly, quarterly) to compare performance against previous periods.
graphs and data from google analytics showing how social media drives traffic to website

Hootsuite Business and Enterprise plan users can use Hootsuite Advanced Analytics to connect Google or Adobe Analytics with social data and more easily track website traffic from social posts.

Social media engagement KPIs

KPIs for social media engagement measure the quality of the interactions with your social followers. They show you whether your audience is connecting with what you have to say and is willing to interact with your brand.

Here are a few you should keep an eye on.

Likes

The number of times followers interact with a social post by clicking the Like button within a given social media platform.

twitter post with arrow showing where likes can be found

Comments

The number of times your followers comment on your posts.

Remember: comments can have a positive or negative sentiment, so a high number of comments isn’t always a good thing!

instagram post from the national portrait gallery showing 122 comments

Clicks

Clicks measure how many times a user has clicked the link you’re using in your post. It helps track not only reach but how people are engaging with content beyond the social platform.

Those using the Ow.ly URL shortener can track clicks directly in Hootsuite Impact, without setting up additional tracking.

Using Hootsuite Analytics, you can also track page clicks, post link clicks, and website clocks on platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and X (Twitter).

click metrics shown in hootsuite analytics

Shares

Share count indicates how many times your post has been shared from one platform to another. This is a great measure of how engaging and viral your content is.

Shares may be called different things on different platforms. For example, Pinterest calls them Saves, while Meta platforms use Share, but also have a Save icon for content you want to look at later.

It’s important to note that shares might not be a direct measurement of success, since the number of shares doesn’t necessarily tell you if people like or don’t like what they see. However, it still provides a good indication of whether people are passionate enough to spread the word.

Use Hootsuite’s social media analytics tools to track shares over time, and see if your posts are becoming more or less popular.

various share metrics shown in hootsuite analytics, for platforms like tiktok, twitter, and youtube

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Mentions

Mentions indicate when your brand is tagged on a social platform. This might happen in a post, in the comment section, in a Story, or even in a profile bio. It means someone is actively showing their support for your brand and can be a great way to build relationships with social followers.

twitter post with Granta Books mentioned in copy

Applause rate

Applause rate tracks only positive interactions or approval interactions. This includes likes, saves, retweets, favoriting a post, etc.

Here’s how to calculate applause rate:

applause rate calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Average engagement rate

This metric divides all the engagement a post receives — including likes, comments, saves and favorites — by the total number of followers on your social channel. It shows how engaging, on average, your piece of content was.

Here’s how to calculate it:

average engagement rate calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Bad at brain math? Use this handy engagement rate calculator.

Your engagement rate:

Amplification rate

This is the rate of your followers who are sharing your content with their own followers. This metric could include everything from shares and retweets (re-Xs?), to repins and posts. Basically, a high amplification rate shows that your followers want to be associated with your brand.

Here’s how to calculate it:

amplification rate calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Conversion KPIs

Conversion metrics reflect how effective your social media strategy is and whether it’s leading to actionable outcomes.

Keep an eye on these as you move forward.

Conversion rate

This is the number of users who perform the actions outlined in your social media CTA (visit your website or landing page, subscribe to a mailing list, make a purchase, etc.) compared to the total number of clicks on that given post.

A high conversion rate shows that your social media post delivered something valuable to your audience that made them act!

Here’s how to calculate it:

conversion rate calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Click-through rate (CTR)

CTR is the percentage of people who viewed your post and clicked on the CTA (call to action) it included. This provides insight into whether your content captures your audience’s attention and inspires them to act.

Here’s how to calculate it:

click through rate calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Bounce rate

Not everyone who clicks on your social media links will follow through, reading the full article you shared or completing a purchase. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who clicked on a link in your social post, but then quickly left that page without taking any action. You want this to be low—it signals your content isn’t all that engaging, or the user experience you provided was less than perfect.

Cost per click (CPC)

CPC is the amount you pay social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram per individual click on your sponsored social media post. Track this to see if the amount you’re spending is a worthwhile investment.

Here’s how to calculate it:

cost per click calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)

This is the amount you pay every time 1,000 people scroll past your sponsored social media post.

Here’s how to calculate it:

cost per thousand impressions calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Revenue

Revenue shows how much money you’ve made through your social media platform. This could be from direct sales, or website clicks that convert into purchases.

You can find this number in Google Analytics or by looking at your shop analytics, depending on whether your network offers e-commerce transactions directly on the platform.

Customer satisfaction KPIs

Customer satisfaction KPIs are tracked to see how social media users think and feel about your brand. The sentiment of their interactions with your brand online is direct feedback for your business.

Try tracking these ones.

Customer testimonials

Reviews typed up by your customers and posted to social channels like Google My Business or Facebook reviews clearly demonstrate how customers feel about an experience or product. Star ratings also provides a good snapshot of how customers feel about your business.

rain or shine ice cream google my business reviews

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

This metric shows how happy your followers are with your brand’s products or services.

You could collect this data through an X (f.k.a. Twitter) poll or Facebook survey, for example, asking one simple question: How would you describe your overall satisfaction with this product?

Depending on how you set up your poll, respondents would rate their satisfaction either numerically (e.g. on a scale from 1 to 10) or through descriptors like poor, average, or excellent.

Customer satisfaction score (CSat) calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Net promoter score (NPS)

Your net promoter score measures your followers’ brand loyalty. Using a poll or survey on your brand’s social channels, ask one question: How likely would you be to recommend this product to a friend?

Give respondents the chance to answer using a numerical scale or through descriptors like unlikely, likely, or very likely.

Net promoter score (NPS) calculation shown in branded hootsuite graphic

Customer lifetime value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value refers to the total amount of money that a customer will spend on your product or service over their entire lifetime as a customer. The higher the CLV, the more likely it is that customers will return and make further purchases.

Here’s how to calculate CLV:

CLV = Average purchase value x Average purchase frequency x Average customer lifespan

How to track social media KPIs

Now that you know what to measure, let’s look at how to track social media KPIs.

Native solutions

Tracking social media marketing KPIs natively—meaning, using the built-in analytics features of individual social media platforms—is one option. They’re free, easy to use, and can be a good option for social media managers who are only tracking KPIs for one or two social accounts.

Social media managers can track KPIs using Instagram Insights, Facebook Insights, X (Twitter) Analytics, LinkedIn Analytics, YouTube Analytics, etc. All major social media platforms offer basic solutions for tracking social media performance.

graph showing facebook analytics in meta business suite tool

Keep in mind, however, that native solutions are limited to tracking metrics for one platform. This makes it difficult to compare and analyze data over multiple networks at once. All-in-one tools like Hootsuite Analytics will give you a more complete picture of your progress.

Custom reports

Custom reports involve compiling social media KPIs into a single easy-to-read document for your team and your supervisors.

To create one, manually input the data you collected across your brand’s different social channels into one document. Make it visual and digestible. Be sure to include graphs, charts, and examples to demonstrate how your work is meeting the brand’s business goals and affecting the bottom line.

Interested in creating custom reports? You can download our template here.

Hootsuite

If your brand’s social media strategy involves managing multiple accounts on numerous platforms, using a social media management platform to track your KPIs will make your job easier.

Tools like Hootsuite make collecting, crunching, and sharing data both efficient and effective. Hootsuite tracks performance analytics for all of your social channels and organizes the data into comprehensive analytics reports for you.

social media performance data shown in hootsuite analytics report

Hootsuite’s analytics reports are fully customizable collections of data that showcase the data you need. You can create reports for individual social accounts or for all the social platforms your brand uses.

hootsuite insights graphs and pie charts

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The interface is interactive—it doesn’t require any manual data input, you can simply drag and drop all of the elements to arrange a unique report that will work for your needs.

What is the most important social media KPI in 2023?

It’s difficult to pinpoint just one KPI as the most important, since different businesses and social media strategies have different objectives. That said, engagement KPIs are probably the most important metric in 2023 for understanding how your content is performing and being received by followers.

Engagement includes likes, comments, shares, retweets, repins, collaborative posts, and mentions, and is an indication of how well your content resonates with followers. It’s also an important factor in social media algorithms, so tracking engagement can help you tweak your content strategy to maximize reach.

Tracking website clicks, non-revenue conversions, and customer lifetime value all have a place in understanding the success of your social media campaigns as well.

The key to being a KPI social media specialist will be to find the combination of KPIs that best serves your business’s objectives. From there, regularly monitor each KPI to ensure that your social media strategy stays on track.

Use Hootsuite to do all your social media reporting from a single dashboard. Choose what to track, get compelling visuals, and easily share reports with stakeholders. Try it free today.

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By Hannah Macready

Hannah Macready is a freelance writer with 12 years of experience in social media and digital marketing. Her work has appeared in publications such as Fast Company and The Globe & Mail, and has been used in global social media campaigns for brands like Grosvenor Americas and Intuit Mailchimp. In her spare time, Hannah likes exploring the outdoors with her two dogs, Soup and Salad.

Read more by Hannah Macready

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