May 22, 2019

The Social Media Metrics That Matter Most

James Reichert

With all of the social media metrics out there, how do you know which ones to look at when measuring success? Given today’s pay-to-play reality, all of your social content should have paid support—so looking at the cost per desired outcome is one of the best ways to measure success. Here’s how it breaks down by content type.


You will most likely look to optimize images and albums for post engagements or brand awareness (Facebook-only metric) across social. Therefore, you should look at the cost per engagement and cost per brand lift to set benchmarks and measure success. However, let’s say you are looking to generate conversations and your post had a great CPE but only two comments. Would you categorize that as a success? Probably not. We’d recommend digging a little deeper than the cost per engagement metric and manually calculating what the cost for comments was by taking the total amount spent divided by total comments.


Videos should be optimized for video views, and you should pay close attention to the cost per video view metric. However, simply reporting on 3- or 10-second video views for a video longer than 10 seconds is only telling half the story. A mixture of secondary video metrics should help you dig deeper and identify whether or not your videos are garnering attention and viewership:

  1. View Rate will let you look at how well your video captured attention.
  2. Video Average Watch Time will look at how much time a user spends watching your video. This one is a little tricky considering it also includes replays, so the average time might be longer than the length of the video in some cases.
  3. Video Completion Rate will look at how many 3-second video viewers watched your full video.

Link Posts

Besides looking at more traditional referral driving metrics like click-through and bounce rates, there are a number of various metrics based on the goal of your link post. Let’s break this one down into a few categories:

  • Traffic: Whether it be link posts or carousels, you should optimize for link clicks or page views and report on cost per click or cost per page view. You should also consider digging deeper to look at your site metrics and measure bounce rates, sessions/visits, and exit pages.
  • Conversions: With proper pixels in place, you should be able to track conversions. If you have e-commerce in place, optimizing toward purchases will allow you to effectively report on cost per purchase and return on ad spend metrics. There is no better way to report on social media ROI than reporting on the monetary return from your advertising efforts.
  • Misc: Instant Experience (f.k.a. Canvas) ads are optimized for link clicks, and you should measure cost per click. However, dwell time within your Instant Experience ad unit should also be considered when measuring overall impact.

While none of these metrics should be used in isolation, analyzing social media performance metrics and statistics is key for any business. No matter what your social media goals are, you should look at a mixture of metrics to tell the full story about the performance of your content marketing—and ultimately, your bottom line.

What metrics do you look at when reporting? Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed on the latest platform and ads updates.

Tags: Content Marketing, Data & Analytics, Facebook, Paid Media, Tools

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