Social media KPI’s/metrics defined – how to select the right KPI

Published by Tharun kongara on

The performance of any social media marketing is measured through KPI’s. KPI’s or Key Performance Indicators are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a key objective is achieved. Every business needs to have specific social media KPI’s that are predefined or defined specifically to achieve their social media marketing goals!

Note: The most common Myth is, we measure specific KPIs but we often ignore the rate of change. For example, you gained 5000 followers, that’s great. But if you gained it over 2 years, well that’s not good at all. So, throughout this article, we will have an eye on the rate of change. 

If you want to understand the difference between a metric and a KPI and how to select the right KPIs for your business. Stay until the end of this article. 

Also, before proceeding make sure you have a clear idea of your business’s buyer persona and goals you wanted to achieve. Because, without an endpoint, no one can guide you!


Reach is something that helps understand how well you are getting the word out. How many people are getting to your page, how many people can recognize your brand etc? Usually, reach metrics are vanity metrics. It is easy to pump up the number. But these should give a basic idea, how well you are reaching people. 

Social media KPi's - followers a vanity metric
Number of followers is a vanity metric

New followers per month – How many new people are following  your page/channel  in a given month 

Brand awareness – Overall number of mentions of your brand in a specific time frame (say bi-weekly or weekly)

Post reach – How many people have seen any post  (The numbers will halt increasing once it reaches most of your audience)

Video views count – Number of views you will get for your videos 

Subscriber list – How many new subscribers are you adding per month? Be it an email list or youtube subscriber count.


Engagement metrics are something that you need to pay close attention to. They tell if anyone has taken some action, interacted with your page/post/site etc. Even if you have great Reach metrics with poor engagement metrics, your efforts are in vain. 

Amplification rate – This is an important metric that increases reach metrics exponentially and a great engagement metric. It specifies how many people shared your post. Amplification rate is the total number of shares to the total number of followers.

Applause rate – It determines the positive sentiment amount of your posts. It is usually the number of likes or thumbs up or favourites per total number of followers. 

Average engagement rate – Determines how engaged your audience is with your content. Average engagement rate is total engagements (likes+shares+views) to a total number of followers. 

Average interaction rate – Determines what percentage of people are interacting with your content/brand. It is the total number of comments or retweets per total number of followers.

Click through rate – Shows your audience engagement when you are sharing external links/media (like articles from the website, youtube video). It is the total number of clicks/total number of followers. 


When one of your audience subscribes to your newsletter, that’s an acquisition. When someone requests information from your social media page, that’s an acquisition. Acquisition is simply the new leads you’ve got. 

Email subscriptions through social media –  How many new subscribers you’ve got through social media in any given time. 

Traffic to your website – Number of unique visitors to your site coming from social media. 

Social media visitors bounce rate – Bounce rate of your visitors that are coming from social media.

Number of manual contacts – How many people contacted you from social media, via message, call or email (especially in the case of physical businesses)

 Acquisition share per channel (if you are managing multiple social media channels) – Understanding what percentage of people came from a specific channel 


The ultimate goal of any brand or business is converting their  audience to customers. So, obviously these metrics are more important than any other metric. It reflects the bottom line of your business.

Conversion rate – Total number of conversions in any given time. It is calculated as the total number of conversions divided by total traffic in a specific time. 

The average revenue per customer – Gives an idea about the range of your conversion, how each customer might spend on your brand. Calculated as the ratio of total revenue to the total number of customers in any given time. 

Cost per conversion – Total cost incurred to the brand to acquire a customer. It is calculated as the ratio of total cost spend on advertising to the total number of conversions.

Social media conversion rate – Helps understand how social media helped to attain customers. It is the percentage of social media conversions in overall conversions. It can be calculated as the ratio of the total number of social media conversions to the total number of conversions (for whole business)

Conversions rate per lead – It is total conversions to the total number of leads in any given time. To understand how many leads make a conversion (total leads/total number conversions).


These days the success of the business is calculated through retention metrics. The simple reasons being “you can generate so many customers but your customer pool will not increase until you are retaining customers”. Also, the cost to make a repurchase from a customer is a fraction of what you need to spend to obtain a new customer.

To calculate the success, here are some metrics. 

Average customer lifetime – It gives an idea about how long a customer sticks to your business. It is calculated as the sum of every customer’s time between first order and last order divided by the total number of customers.

Average customer lifetime value – Helps understand the value each customer brings to your brand. It is a bit complicated to calculate, but here is how to  – It is the ratio of average revenue per customer to the average customer lifetime. 

Average retention rate – It helps you understand what percentage of your customers are most likely to continue buying from you. It is calculated as the ratio of the total number of customers continuing buying to the total number of customers in any given time frame.

Customer reviews – Average rating of your business by your customers. Gives an idea about how satisfied your customers are!

Churn rate – what percentage of customers are you losing. You have to pay close attention to this metric, irrespective of your goals. It is the total number of customers discontinued buying from you in this month to the total number of customers (discontinued in this month +continued customers) 

Along with social media marketing, email marketing serves as the best channel for retention and maintaining a relationship with customers. At the end of the day, it is about leveraging the best digital marketing channel that suits your purpose and business.

Note – Your success in achieving goals can be measured by these metrics, but all these metrics cannot measure success in your goals. 

Confused ? To understand that, you have to understand the difference between metrics and KPI’s. 

What is the difference between metrics and KPI’s?

Metrics are values that can be measured. To be simple, these are collections of values, that may or may not be relevant in your decision-making process. 

KPI’s or Key Performance Indicators that are used to measure the performance to measure the success achieved in your goals. These KPIs may be chosen from these above metrics or defined specifically to accurately measure their success. 

So, we can say that when a metric is important enough for decision-making, it becomes a KPI. 

How to select the right social media KPI’s to measure your goal ?

Based on your objective, you can select your social media KPI’s from any available metric or at times you might need to define a new KPI. It entirely depends on your objectives. 

For example, if your goal is to get more leads, your KPIs are Email subscriptions through social media. If your goal is to drive more visits to websites, your KPIs are click-through rates, social media visitors bounce rate etc. 

Here are things to remember. Make Sure the KPI’s are SMART(specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based). Don’t depend much on vanity metrics. Don’t measure everything that can be measured!

Almost all the social media management software these days come with a user-intuitive interface that helps you choose right KPI’s. Sometimes, you might need expert advice to guide you to set up/define the right KPIs.  Once set up, these should be monitored continuously until the goal is achieved. 

Any questions, please let me know through comments ?


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