Social Media Metrics: Why They Are Critical But Often Overlooked

Written by Robin WildingMarch 30, 2011

Over 80% of companies are not measuring their social media marketing in terms of ROI. That’s four out of five companies that put a concerted effort into social marketing, cross their fingers, and hope it’s working. If that is you—don’t worry there is hope for you yet.

A study on social media tactics found that 53% of executives are unsure about their return on sites like Twitter, LinkedIn or Blogging platforms. They also found that 15% of those surveyed believed there was no ROI using Twitter, Facebook, and the like—‘Like’…get it?

The truth is that social media metrics are critical to social marketing and offer valuable insights into the effectiveness of your strategy by teaching you the most effective uses of your social marketing time. You can also learn which metrics and strategies are most important to your company’s social strategy and expected return.

Which Metrics Are Important To You?

SmartBrief’s social media poll found that of the 20% of marketers actually using analytical tools to measure their success…

  • 32% value most the virality of their message—counting how the content is spread and how widely their content is disseminated.
  • 35% value most the sentiment of their message—how positive/negative/indifferent their content is perceived.
  • 20% value highest the financial returns.
  • 11% value the volume of recognition received—the quantity of tweets, blog posts, references, comments, etc regarding the brand.
  • 2% value most other available metrics.

Once you know your success within each metric, and have prioritized them, you will be able to better refocus your social media marketing.

Real Life Example

Dell is one of the companies that is famous for their use of social media metrics. After implementing a solid social media metrics strategy they learned that their most successful marketing venue was on Twitter. After refocusing their efforts on Twitter the company made it to 1.5 million followers—those followers generated $6.5 million in annual revenue. Their strategy was so successful they opened up social accounts in various countries, and increased revenues with every social media channel.

Experimentation to Impact

Social media metrics have graduated from simple experimentation to a full-on tool to improve sales, strategies, implementations and revenue. The powerful analytical tools now available to social media marketers have given them the toolset to track revenue increases, to monitor social conversion rates, and to find the participation rates and reach of their strategies.

Social metrics should not be seen as a way for marketers to pat themselves on the back for a job well done—they should be seen as a valuable tool for improvement, growth and introspection. Without knowing the direction your campaigns are going it is impossible to be continually successful, which is why metrics are absolutely critical to the game.


The tools available have come along way from simple Google Analytics. There are tools available that measure hundreds of different variables—the only problem is their results can be difficult to interpret. Social media metrics analysis is closer to an art than a science, which is why many businesses are beginning to outsource the job to companies that have experience interpreting metrics.  Most analytical tools are based on a Google Analytics-style tool, but each tool can measure different stats. Those stats are then up to interpretation.

There are a few great tools that I have found that can help you out with your social media metrics: Raven Tools, Cisco SocialMiner and Adobe SocialAnalytics.

Raven Tools
Raven Tools integrates Google Analytics but goes far beyond what simple Google Analytics can offer. Raven Tools offers:

  • A handy dashboard.
  • Keyword analysis.
  • Inbound link management.
  • Monitoring of your competition.
  • Analysis of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  • Customized report ability.

This toolset was easy to use and helped me go far beyond what could be accomplished with Analytics alone. The reports make analyzing the data a little simpler—just a little.

Cisco SocialMiner
Cisco SocialMiner is another analytical tool that works across multiple platforms to aggregate information. The tools in Adobe’s toolbox include:

  • Advanced search capabilities configurable across multiple campaigns.
  • Social contact filtering designed to focus campaign-based searches.
  • Allows for routing of social conversations to customer care reps or shared work queues.
  • Detailed monitoring with results that can enhance reporting, teamwork, and customer care.

Adobe SocialAnalytics
This cross-channel analytics tools integrates easily into most social media monitoring strategies and provides analytics and an optimization suite. With this tool social media marketers have the ability to:

  • Get real-time feedback on customer conversations that can be used to move customers to action.
  • Provide monetization by profiling influencers and then interpreting that data to further engage customers and make each customer more profitable.
  • Leverage just one tool to monitor all social media influenced decision-making—across all social outlets.


Social media metrics is a critical element to your success. With the super-powerful tools out there you would be amiss to deny yourself the opportunity to improve your social marketing campaigns with actionable results.

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