The New Social Metrics You Need to Know

The New Social Metrics You Need to Know Lucy Hitz Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

Your social content is the source of more conversation about your brand, traffic to your website, and purchasing consideration of your products than you now realize — and more than you might be measuring today.

Owned, Earned, Paid, and Dark Social: Definitions, and Where to Begin

We live in the age of dark social. We all do it: we see a Tweet, which reminds us we wanted to go to an event, and we send it to a friend via a private message, and that friend visits the website through the Tweet and purchases a ticket. Boom, social conversion. But that’s not the only new metric you should start incorporating in your social analytics arsenal.

Dark Social Shares

How much of your content is being shared via text, Facebook Messenger, Slack…all the channels you don’t currently have access to tracking in your analytics?


Your Dark Social Shares are the amount of shares your brand’s content receives that originate from social URL’s. 

This metric is important to your brand because it shows you what you’re currently missing: most of the social sharing taking place around your brand. You only see part of the picture right now. This metric shows you the origin point of all that “other” social stuff in your giant direct traffic bucket, which allows you greater insight into your customers and what actually gets them to click through.

This metric is important to you, the social and/or digital marketer, because it exposes social for what it is: a key player in your marketing ecosystem.

Dark Social Traffic

How many visits to your web site every day, week, and month are being generated from social links shared privately with friends, family, and colleagues via peer-to-peer channels?


Your Dark Social Traffic is the amount of website traffic that originates from a shared link, but does not pass a referrer and thus appears as “direct traffic” in web analytics. (Referrer = the page URL containing the link to the site that we clicked, i.e., www. 

This metric is important to your brand because it more clearly delineates the customer’s path to purchase, and allows you to optimize this process. 

This metric is important to you, the social and/or digital marketer, because it starts illustrating the business impact your social team really has.

Social Conversions

Can you measure every single conversion that social creates in your organization? Do your analysts have direct access to the social API that can integrate with your current, non-social data analysis systems and make this link possible? Are you able to match social actions with goal completions on your website?

Social Conversions are the goal completions — which can range from entry points to your site, form fills, sign-ups, content downloads, to purchases — that your brand receives from social sources.

For instance, you click here:

And you arrive here:

BlogWhen you scroll down through the page, you see this:

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 3.35.54 PM

You click “Download,” which brings you here, where you fill out the form:

FormYou’ve now generated a lead from your organization, and you should be able to attribute the origin of that lead (and, hopefully, sale) back to social.

For most brands, this is a multi-step process between click-through to the ultimate social conversion: purchase. Can you trace this thread all the way through?

This metric is important to your brand because it shows you all the different ways that people interact with you before becoming customers, and it allows you to eventually predict buyer behavior more accurately.

This metric is important to you, the social and/or digital marketer, because it allows you to start speaking the language your boss and your boss’s boss understand: dollars and cents.

The New Metrics

The new metrics for social marketers are what you need for a complete picture of your social program, from end-to-end: from that Facebook post to this dollar sign. From that Dark Social conversation to this email sign-up. And these metrics ultimately all boil down to straight-up revenue. Learn how to see real ROI in your social org by downloading the guide below.

Get everything you need to analyze the metrics that matter

The Social Marketer’s Guide to Social Media ROI


Lucy Hitz

I’m the Content Marketing Manager here at Simply Measured. I manage our blog, produce longform content, head our co-marketing initiatives, and host the Simply Social podcast, among a few other things. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.