How to define KPIs for your social media strategy

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social media KPIs - image of a target and icons of graphic and social media logos

Being present on social media, interacting with your audience and advertising is an important part of digital marketing strategies. You’re probably on the most popular networks, building your brand and attracting new customers.

However, can you tell whether your performance on these networks has been satisfactory and if your actions are contributing to the achievement of your business goals?

Being present on social media but not monitoring them, or even worse, tracking the wrong metrics, might be a major mistake!

You might be using the wrong channels for your brand, wasting time and money, and distancing yourself from your ultimate goals.

A great advantage of the internet is that it’s possible to quantify data and obtain important insights from this analysis.

Through careful interpretation of the data collected, you can improve your marketing strategies and get closer to achieving your main goals.

But despite how easy it is to measure data, and the fact that there are many tools available to do so, most people still find it difficult to define the metrics to be analyzed correctly, which is crucial for the creation of a correct strategy and for the growth of your business.

In this article, you’ll learn how to define the most important KPIs for your advertising strategy in each social media, and how to track and measure them correctly.

The difference between metrics and KPIs and why they are important for social media

Properly defining and analyzing your metrics and KPIs is the best way of knowing if the actions performed on social media are generating real results, and if they are contributing to taking your business to the next level.

To do so, it is important to know the difference between these two key variables.

Metrics and KPIs are interlinked and work together, which makes a more assertive analysis of your results possible, but they are, in fact, different.


Metrics are everything that can be measured within a given universe. They are results that can be grouped together. In other words, they are various types of collected data that may or may not be relevant in the decision-making process.

Metrics are ideal for showing the performance of a specific strategy, and not of the business itself.


On the other hand, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are variables that measure the performance of the processes used by a company to achieve the company’s goals.

KPIs are created based on metrics, measuring your business’ results.

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

At the digital marketing level, we can mention a few KPIs and metrics to illustrate the difference.

For the business’ goal, let’s suppose that you’re focused on increasing your profits through organic traffic, i.e., one of the actions that will contribute to it, is increased conversion.

Your KPI in this case, assumes that there’s no use in knowing if the number of visits or clicks on your blog has increased, if you don’t know which ones were converted into purchases through such visits.

Therefore, the KPI is the conversion rate and the metric is the number of visitors to your blog and the click rate.

(To learn more about KPIs, and how to choose yours for your digital marketing strategy, read the article What are KPIs, and do you choose yours?)

The importance of KPIs and metrics for social media

In the same manner in which you define metrics and KPIs for your digital marketing strategy, it is also necessary to define KPIs and metrics for your social media.

This way you’ll know if your promotion strategy on these networks is truly working, and if this action is contributing to the achievement of your goals.

It is necessary to know the purpose of each information you are collecting, so that you can manage your promotion strategy profitably.

In order to create and measure your social media strategy, first you need to understand how each social network works.

Develop a content strategy for the planning of each media and then, monitor your social media. This way you’ll understand the impact of your leads on these channels and their engagement, producing the correct content format for each network.

Avoiding vanity metrics and choosing those that are essential

Know which KPIs you’ll use to measure your actions on social media at the beginning of your strategy.

This will help in making decisions about various aspects, such as:

  • The planning of content on each network.
  • The definition of the budget for paid traffic, and
  • When to modify a promotion strategy.

Especially when dealing with a social media strategy, we can find numerous indicators and variables that make the measurement of data quite confusing. That way, it’s hard to know what will really impact your business’ growth.

Ideally, you should be able to develop strategies that will help you make your business more profitable instead of focusing on measuring vanity metrics.

Vanity metrics can be defined as superficial metrics. Numbers and statistics that seem important, but that don’t directly contribute to the success of your business.

In short, vanity metrics is all the data that is tracked and measured but ultimately doesn’t contribute to the decision-making process nor to the real growth of the business.

It’s quite common for entrepreneurs to be concerned with vanity metrics instead of focusing on those that really matter to achieve their goals.

Let’s give you an example of a few so you can understand better:

Number of followers

A clear example of vanity metrics is a high number of followers on social media.

Having the largest number possible on the networks might seem impressive and boost the ego of the company and its staff.

However, if these followers are not sufficiently qualified, i.e., if they are not formed by your target audience, then this number is a vanity metric.

You see, in this case, the followers are merely people who aren’t really interested in your brand, content or product.

Therefore, they won’t become buyers or even disseminators of your brand, which doesn’t contribute to the growth of your business.


On networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, a common mistake is making an effort to create the largest possible audience. Remember, it’s better to have 1,000 engaged followers than 10,000 who aren’t.

The real effort must be directed towards creating an audience network that really interacts with your content and is interested in it.

In any case, even if vanity metrics lead to a false sense of success, you should not ignore them completely!

If you have a brand under construction and need to be known in the market to reach a large number of people, vanity metrics can help you analyze your results. It will all depend on your business’ goal and on outlining the correct strategy.

You can work to increase the size of your audience and reach new people, for example. But don’t rely on a strategy that only has this as an ultimate goal, not valuing the importance of a qualified audience.

The main difference is that vanity metrics shouldn’t dictate your business’ decision-making process.

Defining KPIs for social media

So, what should you do to define the correct KPIs and avoid vanity metrics?

Focus on your business goals!

In order to help you, we can define 4 general KPIs for your social media.

1 – Reach

Reach might be viewed by many as a vanity metric. However, you should refer to your business goals and find out if this KPI is ideal for you.

If your intention is directed towards building a brand, reaching the largest number of qualified users possible and generating leads, good metrics to be tracked are:

  • Follower count.
  • Post, video and ad views.
  • Mentions – the number of times your brand was mentioned on social media;
  • Share of voice: this metric measures the size of the audience that you impact within your niche. In other words, it’s a comparison of how many people are talking about your brand versus how many are talking about your competitor.

Also, in this metric, try to understand your growth rate in comparison to your competitor’s.

Measuring your profile and reach’s growth versus your competitor’s, is important to know if your strategy is working well, how your market niche is doing in each channel and your performance within each scenario.

2 – Engagement

How engaged is your audience? How does your audience interact with your content?

This KPI is extremely important for measuring the success of your campaigns.

If this is one of your goals, measuring engagement is better indicated than the previous KPI (reach).

The following metrics measure how people are acting regarding your brand:

Number of likes

Demonstrates how much your audience likes the content produced.

Warning: This metric may become a vanity metric. Therefore, you need to remember your goals, because you’ve created your campaigns and you need to analyze it to find out which types of content are most appreciated by your audience.

This metric is a good way to help you rethink your marketing campaign or find out, by means of A/B tests, which type of posts work better for your audience in a given campaign: photos, video or text.


Demonstrate direct engagement with your content and any feedback about it.

Shares and retweets

This metric demonstrates your authority in the market.

Does your audience care so much about what you say and about your content that they want to share it with others?

This metric is important because it also increases your reach and helps you build and promote your brand.

Recommendations and evaluations (mainly present on the Facebook business page)

Demonstrate your customers’ opinion about your brand.

This metric is important because it’s one of the best indicators to find out if your product is good enough to be purchased and if you provide quality service.

In addition, it reflects opinions about your support, after-sales customer service and if people would come back and do business with you.

External link opening rate

Demonstrates if your content and ads are interesting enough to make your audience click on the call to action (CTA) buttons and be directed to your website, sales page or blog.

3 – ROI – Return on Investment

Measuring the ROI of your social media strategy, as well as having a target number of leads, are two of the main social media metrics that directly influence the decision-making process and your business’ profit.

These KPIs are important when deciding to increase or decrease your budget for actions on social media and paid traffic.

To measure the ROI, you must focus on the following metrics:

Direct sales revenue from social media

You can measure the revenue by analyzing:

  • Conversions performed through traffic on Facebook or Instagram.
  • Purchases with promotional coupons from campaigns on social media,
  • Clicks on links to your website that were converted into sales.

(Read our article to find out where your sales originated.)

Lead conversion through social media

This metric varies from campaign to campaign. Below are a few examples:

  • Number of email addresses collected,
  • Downloads of free materials.

Cost of support per customer

This KPI might be taken into consideration if you wish to decrease the time spent with email support and reduce the costs of support via phone.

Measure how much time and money you’ll save by supporting your product via social media instead of via your website’s chat, email and phones.

4 – Retention and loyalty

This KPI is important for those who have business goals directed at obtaining an excellent customer support service and customer retention.

Focusing on this KPI is interesting if you have a description and definition of products, i.e., if you wish to sell to those who have bought other products from you or any product of which you are an Affiliate to.

We can consider the following important metrics in this scenario:

Recommendations and evaluations

As mentioned previously in the engagement KPI, recommendations and evaluations are good so you can find out what your customers think of your product and brand, and especially if they would buy from you again.

Problems solved

Measure how you’re doing in terms of support through social media.

Can you solve the problems and complaints that are posted on these media?

Also, measure the time taken to solve the problem and the first reply to your customer’s contact.

Brand satisfaction index

A good way to calculate this index is through the NPS – Net Promoter Score, which is a survey method to know how satisfied your customers are, and how loyal they are to your brand.

In the case of social media, you can create a survey with questions that direct you to find out if your customer-oriented efforts are working.


This is a more subjective metric, but it should be taken into account to measure retention and loyalty.

Find out how many mentions are made about your brand, read the comments and find out how your audience feels about your brand and your presence on social media.

In addition, evaluate if the majority of comments and mentions about you are positive or negative.

Identifying this feeling will help you improve your online strategy and can show gaps, mistakes and new opportunities to be explored.

Analyzing KPIs

Having taken into account your business goals and having defined your KPIs and metrics based on them, it’s also important that you review everything at least once every six months.

Remember that social media dynamics changes rapidly and your business goals may also change. Therefore, it’s necessary to always review your KPIs and reinvent them.

Finally, in order to help you measure all the defined KPIs, you can use several tools available on the social media management market.

Some of the most popular tools are Hootsuite, Buffer and Sprout Social.

Ideally, you should find out which ones are free or paid, and what features each one offers. Also search for other tools besides those mentioned.

Always remember why you are present on social media and what you wish to achieve with this presence so you can choose the ideal tool to help you measure the defined KPIs.

What you should analyze on each social media

Since you already know all of the main KPIs and their accompanying metrics, it’s important to build your social media campaigns according to each platform.

Therefore, you should know the most relevant aspect in each social media, considering their particularities and characteristics.


Facebook is one of the most popular social networks in the world.

One of the most recurring problems with it is that your page might have many unqualified followers with low engagement.

Likes don’t really count for much in Facebook because they don’t help promote your posts, serving only to know if your audience is interested in your content.

So, what you should be analyzing is if the number of likes is high but with a low number of shares.

Sharing has a much greater impact on Facebook. Therefore, ideally you should:

  • Get the most people possible to share and save your posts.
  • Increase the number of people that access the external links you promote on this network.
  • Get more people watching Facebook live streams.
  • Get people to activate their page notifications.

Keep an eye on the engagement and interaction rate.

You can use the aforementioned management tools or calculate the total number of the post’s interactions divided by the number the post has reached, i.e., the views.

Also, don’t forget of your page’s audience!

Measure how fast your followers and reach are growing, and what type of audience you’re building.

Try to identify whether or not your audience is formed by your target audience.

It’s important to know how many visits are engaged and interacting with your content and measure how many of these visits became customers or how many became leads.

Also, keep an eye on Facebook ads and establish a relationship of paid leads versus organic leads. Analyze whether your organic leads are the result of your actions on the social network and if the organic actions also generate conversion.


In addition to the general metrics to be tracked, such as your post’s reach, engagement, URL clicks and views, Instagram has a few particularities as a social media.

The first one is the option to save the post.

In this case, this is a very important feature because it shows that users thought that your content was so interesting that they decided to save it to access it later, and perhaps buy your product at a later time.

So when you measure the interaction on Instagram, measure likes, comments and the number of posts saved, giving more attention to the latter.

Another particularity of this social media is the option of creating stories, one of the features that currently grows the most on Instagram.


  • The number of your stories’ views.
  • The number of times users skipped and left them.
  • The opening of external links shared through this feature.
  • Number of directs each story received.

Finally, pay attention to the #hashtags, since you can create several campaigns based on them.

Using a specific hashtag per campaign, you can measure the following:

  • The campaign’s engagement.
  • The number of times your campaign was mentioned over a given period.
  • The campaign’s performance.

You can also use your brand as a hashtag to help you calculate the number of users’ mentions.

Also, evaluate the competition by following the growth of the hashtags it uses.

If you place specific hashtags that are trending in your posts, you must also analyze if this user is bringing results, such as increasing your post’s interactions.

Evaluate if you are using the right hashtags to attract the intended audience and which ones yield better results.

A good tip is to perform tests to find out the best times to post. Management tools can help you identify your audience’s peak times.

Finally, for paid ads on this social media, evaluate the reach and impressions of the ads, click rate and conversions.

(Check out more tips on how to to be successful on Instagram.)


Twitter’s great peculiarity is its retweet feature.

Like Facebook, retweets are important for the following:

  • Organic traffic.
  • Creating authority.
  • Demonstrating strong public interest in your content.

Measuring the average of your retweets per day is one option to evaluate your performance and authority growth on this social media. You can easily obtain this information through the Twitter for Business analytics itself.

Twitter likes also have a special role because they save the tweet to the user’s account. This means that users intend to access the content again.

Also, keep an eye on the number of mentions because they mean that not only they are talking about your brand, but it also enables you to measure the conversations and direct interactions with you. Once again, it’s also important to measure your competition.

Don’t forget the ROI: measure your conversions and profits from tweets that direct users to your sales page and paid advertising.


There’s trend in the market towards the increased production of videos, both for content marketing as well as to sell products and nurture leads.

One interesting fact is that YouTube is already one of the largest search engines, second only to Google. Therefore, it’s very important to have a strategy for this network with SEO optimization and periodic content creation.

Given the particularities of YouTube, if your goal is to increase your conversions and become an authority, analyze content metrics, such as audience retention during the video playback.

Watch Time and Retention Time are a few of the most important KPIs for this network.

Check how long viewers spend watching your videos so you’ll know if you’re reaching the right audience and if people are enjoying the content.

You can obtain the following insights from this KPI:

  • Which themes create more engagement?
  • What is the ideal duration of a video?
  • What is the peak audience during a video?
  • At what part of the video is it best to talk about purchases?

Ideally, you should also measure the engagement of each video posted. Focus on the following metrics: number of subscribers, likes, dislikes and comments.

Be careful with the number of views. This metric is not as relevant as it seems.

Views are only an indicator of your channel’s growth, and that your audience is increasing. But it’s more important to focus on the engagement and watch time metrics.

Remember that, like any social media, you should define the KPIs based on your goals.

If you wish to use YouTube to increase sales, or want people to share your content, you might also want to track the number of clicks and link accesses, or the number of shares.

YouTube has an excellent tool to track these metrics and many others, the YouTube Analytics.

Measure your results

The biggest lesson to define your KPIs correctly on social media, as we mentioned many times throughout this article, is to focus on the goals you wish to achieve for your business!

The most important thing when defining your KPIs is how much they contribute to your ultimate goal.

Thus, your business goals will help you determine on which channels you need to focus and what type of content you need to produce for each of them.

Without clear and defined goals, social media channels will generate a lot of work while not helping with your business’ growth. .

So, familiarize yourself with the media you wish to use in order to learn more about their particularities and make sure you track the right metrics.

Be very clear about your current goals before you kick off your social media strategy. Next, think about how each type of media can help you achieve this goal.

There are many tools and numerous possibilities offered by social media, in addition to a very large audience base to be reached.

Finally, avoid vanity metrics as much as possible! Remember that you should be able to see the concrete results from social media in order to act, reinvent yourself and invest.

Did you like this post and want to learn more about metrics? Check out our article with 4 metrics that digital producers should track.