Conversations with a colleague: What metrics to use?

From time to time friends and colleagues will reach out with questions about Marketing, social media or analytics in general. What should I track? What should I look at? Where do I start?

All great questions. It can be overwhelming at first but after a while regardless of the social media platform or advertising channel the basic formula is the same.

Put message out there and see if anyone is responding.

Sure the Key Performance Indicators may be called different things but’s it’s still the same behavior that you the Marketer want. Did I get someone to take the action I wanted? Its not a difficult answer either, it’s a simple Yes or No. If the answer is Yes, then which message was it? The most important question I ask is How do you know it’s working? How do you define success?

When it comes to Twitter the number of tweets posted is useless. What does it matter if I did 1 or 1,000? There is software that can auto tweet the same messages all day long. Re-Tweets and Comments are better at identifying what messages are having the bigger impact. I always go back to “Engagement” metrics. Things I have no control over. It’s more important to know if WHAT I say is being heard, liked, commented, shared, referenced, or attributed.

For social media – the more behavioral based metrics the better. 

  • # of tweets posted to our account per quarter (last 4 quarters) – Bad because this is easily manipulated.
  • Top 3 tweets – Meh, but time frame influences this a lot.
  • Most re-tweets – Good
  • Most commented on posts – Good, this shows engagement
  • “Mentions” is a good one. Are others talking about you? Even better are followers bringing you into the conversation?

These metrics are even better for all social media platforms:

  • “Topics” that are driving engagement, what’s getting attention?
  • More importantly what’s NOT getting attention? Stop doing that.
  • “Time” – when is the best time to post? should you re-post?
  • “Engagement Rate” – use to compare, evens out numbers. 

Getting attention can be easy. Getting the RIGHT attention is the difficult part. Just knowing what’s driving the most traffic to a landing page is not enough. You also need to know if the traffic is valuable traffic. Are the visitors converting into customers? 1 Million clicks can be great but if none of them become a customer was that a successful campaign?