Data Overload: How to Make It Through the Social Media Metrics Maze

There are so many stats that come out of social media analytics that most people don’t really know which ones to look at. To make matters more confusing, not all analytics need to be analyzed. There’s definitely the possibility for information overload. Here’s what you need to worry about, and what you can safely ignore.


Updates on social media sites are the primary way to understand how much content is being shared, by whom, and how often. Knowing when your updates are being sent out, when your target market updates their statuses, and knowing how your updates are being perceived is the first social media metric you want to pay attention to. It’s not the most important, but it sets the stage for understanding other metrics.


social media analytics

social media analytics

On a lot of social sites, comments are what drive the interactions between people and brands. So, naturally, you want to know how your brand is doing in this respect, how many people are commenting on your status updates, what others are saying about you, and how many comments are being generated in updates.


Reshares are the primary way people “engage” on Twitter and a few other sites. When people retweet your tweets, share your Facebook posts and repin your photos on Pinterest, you want to know about it. It’s a sort of popularity gauge. When people don’t pay any attention to you, they won’t be sharing your stuff. Your content simply isn’t good enough or engaging enough. It’s time to change tactics.


How many times have people favorited your videos on YouTube? This is an important measure of just how memorable or significant your videos are. If they’re high-quality, people will favorite them and watch them over and over.


According to lead manager Blitz, conversions are probably the most important metric you want to track. After all, without sales, you don’t have a business. But, many businesses get squeamish when you say the word “sales” in the context of social media. The fact of the matter is, however, that sales are what ultimately drive business, and they need to be measured.

Fortunately, Google Analytics can take care of part of that job, and some paid resources can finish the job by helping you track both online and call-in (phone) orders.

Reach and Engagement

At the end of the day, what you want is engagement. With sites like Facebook, it’s the age-old battle between “eyeballs” and “interaction.” In the old days of the Internet, webmasters were concerned about “hits” to the site. Today, we all know that this metric is not really all that important.

On Facebook, “reach” is like “hits.” You want engagement - you want people to actually do something. On Facebook, it would be comments, likes, and shares. Those are actions that are measurable.

On Twitter it’s retweets and replies. Those are “conversions” or “engagement.” On sites like Pinterest, it’s going to be comments and repins. You get the idea? Now, go out there and measure what matters.

Mitchell Redmon is a big social media marketing fan. A longtime businessman, he enjoys sharing whatever he finds to help new business owners. Look for his interesting and helpful posts on many of today's websites and blogs.

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