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Which Critical Social Media Metrics Are You Ignoring?

Engagement. In the world of social marketing, there is no word you’ll hear more often. But as social marketing matures, you need to understand which metrics matter to your business — and the answer may not be simply measuring engagement.

Beyond Engagement

Here are the critical social media metrics you’re ignoring — and how they map to your larger business goals.

Awareness (Impressions + Reach + Engagement)

If your goal on social is to create awareness, engagement isn’t the best metric. Engagement implies interaction, but doesn’t zero in specifically on amplification, which is the biggest driver of awareness.

For example, engagement on Twitter includes every public interaction a user can have with a brand — Likes, Retweets, Replies, and Mentions — but the only actions that really matter to awareness are Retweets and Mentions, since they increase awareness of the brand with users who might not have noticed them before.


Impressions and Reach are a great way to measure your awareness efforts. Impressions are the total number of times a tweet from your account or mentioning your account appeared in user Twitter feeds.

Impressions Reach
The Simply Measured Twitter Engagement Megaphone shows how engagement contributes to Impressions and Reach.

Reach allows you to quantify not only the users you engaged with, but the followers of those users, who may have seen your @handle or Tweet. This is important. The focus of social marketing is to expand your audience and promote your message to a wider segment of the population.

Demand Generation (Site Traffic + Engagement)

If one of your objectives for social media is to generate demand, engagement is an important indicator — but how social users follow through and land on your site content is more important.

Your strategy won’t be to just generate engagement — you want to generate engagement with your target audience and personas. Anyone can go to market with a bunch of clickbait posts and rack up Likes and comments. A real social strategy needs to go beyond that.

Social Metrics MapAt the end of the day, demand-generation is true marketing. Your goal is to bring a user closer to your brand so that when they get to the next step (decision), you’re the natural choice. Think in terms of traffic. Are users being driven further down the funnel? Visitors (on-site or in-store) are the metric to track in the consideration phase.

Drive Conversion (Clicks + Conversions + Engagement)

In the decision phase, your objective is simple: to drive conversions. You want people to buy from you, or, if you’re a media publisher, interact with your content.

In the decision phase, link clicks are the best KPI for most brands. Whether you’re selling an app or shoes — or depend on site visits for ad revenue — you want people to get to your site and become customers.

Purchases are the ultimate business impact here, but there are phases to any sale. This could be downloading an app that has in-app purchases or ads, giving you their email address so you can follow up with sales collateral, or walking into your store and buying some Flaming Hot Cheetos with Lime.

Delight Customers (Sentiment + Response Time + Engagement)

Once someone has purchased your product, downloaded your app, or visited your restaurant, you want them to do it again. Your goal is to retain that customer, and get their repeat business.

The main social KPIs in this phase are positive mentions of your brand, customer care metrics like response time and response rate, or repeat traffic.

Positive sentiment and satisfaction with your product are measurable here. Increased CLTV and upgrades are also revenue metrics that can be looked at in tandem with marketing activities.

Inspire Evangelism (Earned Impressions + Earned Reach + Social UGC + Influencer Activity + Engagement)

In the advocacy phase, the objective is to inspire evangelism, or encourage your customers to become your best salespeople by promoting your brand in their circles.

Your strategy here is to enable and activate your customers to become influencers. If you’ve done your job delighting them, this part should be easy.

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Evangelism inspiration is measured very similarly to awareness, but focused more heavily on “earned” media: impressions, reach, and user-generated content that wasn’t spurred by your brand’s marketing activities at the top of the funnel.

The business impact that can be measured here should be focused on referrals (how many new customers are your current customers driving for you), NPS score (how do people feel about your brand), and positive word of mouth (what’s the sentiment around your brand on social media?).

Download our full Beyond Engagement guide to discover:

  • How the Social Media Metrics Map connects goals and objectives to the buyer’s journey
  • How to better align social media strategy with broader business objectives
  • The downstream effect of social results on the business and why it matters

…and more. Click below to download the guide!

Get everything you need to analyze the metrics that matter

Beyond Engagement


Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. 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.

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