Social Media Metrics and KPI

Social Media Metrics and KPI

Social media involves the ultimate balancing act of the creative and the analytical. But if creativity is the intriguing icing on the cake, social media metrics are the essential ingredients to bringing the final dish to life.

There’s no one “magic” metric to measure. Marketers must depend on a healthy blend of multiple metrics to illustrate how social media impacts the entire business. And the social media metrics that will be crucial to your strategy and reporting will depend on your brand, business goals and strategy.

Just as social media is constantly in flux, so too are the metrics that prove to be most important in your larger strategy. In this article, we’ll walk through some of the key metrics social teams are focusing on now, and how to break down silos with your social media analytics and reporting strategy.

What are social media metrics and why should you track them?

Social media metrics are points of data essential to tracking the performance of your social channels, content, strategy and the impact it all has on your business goals.

Measuring social media metrics has implications that extend far beyond social. Social media data is business intelligence that informs brand health, competitive standing and ideal performance benchmarks. So much so that, according to over half of business leaders, social media data and insights currently inform their company’s business strategy.

It also helps you clearly illustrate the value of social and your ROI—which is one of the greatest challenges for social media teams.

To keep an agile strategy and uncover insights that feed your entire organization, social media measurement isn’t a nice-to-have—it’s a must.

10 types of social media metrics marketers are prioritizing more

Your social media goals determine which metrics matter to you. But the metrics social pros are focusing on can help guide where to focus your efforts.

In a Q2 2023 Sprout pulse survey of 255 social marketers, we asked how much marketers are weighing certain metrics in 2023 vs. 2022. These are the metrics they indicated were being weighed more heavily this year.

Follower growth and audience size

Follower count is often discounted as a vanity metric. But follower growth tells a more complete story about your channel’s health, the awareness you’re building and whether you’re outpacing competitors—or falling behind.

If your follower growth has halted, or worse, declined, it’s time to adjust your strategy. And that strategy will differ from channel to channel.

To grow on Instagram, focusing on short-form video Reels is a powerful tactic—they are built to reach new audiences. On TikTok, make use of trending sounds, music and visual trends. And no matter what channel you want to grow on, consistently post content that resonates with your audience.

Here are a few audience growth metrics to track:

Follower growth

Your follower growth measures the net new followers you gained in a specific time period. Simply subtract how many followers you had at the beginning of a time period from the amount of followers you have now.

While followers count on its own won’t tell you much, knowing how many followers you gained is a powerful way to prove the ROI of content types, campaigns and social media experiments.

Analytics automation tools cut out the calculation process so you can focus on the insights that help you prove ROI. For example, look at how Sprout Social’s Instagram Profile Report helps you visualize your audience growth, and calculates your net growth for you:

Follower growth rate

Follower growth rate is a percentage that shows you how quickly your audience is actually growing—or slowing—within a certain time period.

Here’s how this is calculated: (Followers you gained in a specific time / the initial number of followers you had prior to that gain) x 100

For example, let’s say you had 10,000 followers at the beginning of June. By the end, you have 10,200 followers. You would calculate your growth rate like this: (200 / 10,000) x 100 = 2% growth rate.

Audience size

As I mentioned, this is often disregarded as a vanity metric. But this is likely because it’s looked at on its own, rather than in the larger context of performance and channel health.

Keeping track of changes to your follower count monthly, quarterly and yearly is an important data point that fuels the higher-level metrics we just mentioned.

Customer satisfaction and feedback collected through social media

Social media is a goldmine of unfiltered opinions and conversations about your brand, competitors and products.

Conversations on social media reveal valuable information about what is and isn’t working with your content, customer care, brand, products and more.

The customer should be at the core of everything you do. According to The 2023 State of Social Media report, “gaining a better understanding of customers” is the second most important business priority in the current economic environment.

Here are a few proactive metrics to monitor for customer satisfaction:

Reply time

Being responsive on social media is key to building community, and serving your customers. More than three-quarters of consumers expect a response within 24 hours, according to The Sprout Social Index™.

That’s why your reply time is one of the most important customer service metrics to measure. It measures how long it takes for your team to reply to a customer message on social media.

The best way to quantify this metric is with a tool. For example, Sprout’s Internal Reports, like the Inbox Team Report, calculate team performance metrics like Average Reply Time for you.


While this is also an engagement metric, what people are saying in the comments provides valuable information about them, and your brand. The comments section is a great place to uncover opportunities to improve the customer experience.

Awareness metrics (Impressions, awareness and reach of social media content)

Awareness metrics, as the name suggests, are integral to connecting the dots between your social media strategy and the brand awareness it’s creating.

Here are a few awareness metrics to prioritize.


At the post level, impressions are how many times a post is displayed to someone. Impressions are a good indicator of how popular a piece of content is, and that people may be viewing a post multiple times.

Not every channel has both reach and impressions. For example, TikTok’s “total video views” is the equivalent of impressions. Twitter and YouTube only offer impressions; not reach.

While impressions tell you a lot about the potential visibility your content has on social media, it’s still important to look at other metrics for ultimate performance context. If you have multiple goals, like increasing awareness and educating your audience, you’ll likely want to look for a combination of impressions, engagement and conversion rate.


Reach is the potential unique viewers a post has—in other words, how many individuals have seen a post.

The difference between reach and impression can be confusing at first. Think of it this way: If I see a post three times, that’s three impressions. But I only count as one person.

But they’re both important to track, especially if your goals for social are focused around brand awareness and perception.

Video views

Video views may come off as a vanity metric. But on certain channels, like TikTok, views count as impressions, and are therefore important to monitor.

Views are also a good indicator of how much awareness you’re generating with a video. But this metric is most powerful when combined with other metrics, like view duration, engagement or shares, that provide wider context.

Customer retention and loyalty through social media engagement

Customer retention and loyalty is slightly less straightforward to measure on social than, say, awareness or conversion metrics.

However, this is an important metric to track for brand health. And there are ways to gather this information through your channels.

Here are a few metrics that will help you measure customer retention and loyalty:

Social commerce metrics

Using social commerce storefronts, like facebook shops and instagram shopping, provides you with a number of retention and loyalty metrics.

In Meta’s Commercial Managers Suite, metrics like returning visitors, returning buyers and sales from followers—while all estimated—help you understand social commerce customer retention.


Tracking your reviews, like those gathered on Google TripAdvisor and Facebook, is a solid way to gauge customer satisfaction and how likely they are to be loyal to your brand.

What’s more—responding to reviews, positive and negative, helps you reward and retain happy customers. And potentially win you back unhappy customers by resolving an issue and hearing them out.

Audience sentiment

Knowing what people say in the comments section is one thing. But knowing how people feel about your brand and products sheds richer light on brand health.

Audience sentiment reveals how people actually feel about your brand and products. You can even compare the sentiment towards your brand to that of competitors.

Social listening is one of the most effective ways to turn social media chatter around your brand or specific topic into quantifiable sentiment, like in the Sprout example below.

Brand mentions

Brand mentions is a metric that involves tracking how many times your brand is mentioned in posts or comments on social—whether or not you’re tagged.

Organic social mentions—like @mentions that aren’t part of a reply, or tagging a brand in an Instagram story without prompting—indicate good brand awareness.

Your team is likely already tracking mentions for social monitoring. But to see the full impact of your brand mentions, you need to capture posts and comments that mention your brand name, and even misspell it, without tagging you. Notice how Brooklinen was able to jump into this conversation without being tagged:

Social listening also empowers you to identify common keywords mentioned alongside your brand. This makes it easier to better understand if those mentions signal feedback, a brand breakthrough or a brand crisis.

Conversion rates for social media campaigns and advertisements

Social advertisements and campaigns with a low return are a waste of time, money and energy for your team.

That’s where conversion rates and related metrics come in. Here are a few crucial metrics to measure.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate measures how well your social ad or campaign is convincing people to take a desired action. Think: making a purchase, opting into your email newsletter, signing up for an event or a webinar, downloading a guide or visiting a webpage.

Calculate conversion rate like this: (total number of Social media conversion / desired metric, like clicks, website visits or impressions) x 100. But analytics tools will calculate this for you.

If your conversion rate is low, try A/B testing your ad or campaign messaging, creative and CTA.


On top of knowing your conversion rate, it’s also helpful to know how many conversions your ad, post, channel or campaign is receiving.

A conversion is when someone takes a desired action, like purchasing something from your site or signing up for an upcoming event. A social conversion means they visited via a social media channel and then purchased something in that same visit.

Social media engagement metrics

Engagement is a big umbrella category to track. It’s also one of the most important.

Engagement boils down to how much your audience interacts with your account or content, and how often. High engagement rates indicate a healthy and interested audience and highlights the content types that are most appealing to them.

But looking at a combination of metrics paints you a more complete picture. A post with 100,000 impressions looks good. But if it only received 50 engagements, it failed to build brand connection.

Or, a post may have 100,000 engagements. But if they’re all “angry” reacts, you need to investigate further.

Social media engagement metrics are great to benchmark—for your performance, and against competitors. For example, in 2023, the average daily engagements per post across all industries was 14. 

Here are a few Social media engagement metrics to look at.

Post engagement rate

Engagement rate is a metric often used to track how actively involved with your content your audience is and how effective your brand campaigns are. Engaged consumers interact with brands through interactions such as likes, comments and social sharing.

Likes, comments, retweets, reactions etc.

Actions you can take directly on a post, including likes, reactions or comments, are engagements on a granular level.

These individual engagement metrics are vanity metrics on their own, but they add up. And when examined at a high level, they tell you a lot about which of your posts are most successful and what your audience likes.


Shares are another granular metric. But if certain content pieces receive more shares than others, this is valuable information.

This shows you what content people are willing to share with their friends, increasing your brand awareness.

Video completion rate

While video views help you determine a video’s initial popularity, video completion rate tells you more about how interesting and engaging the content is.

For example, if a video gets 10,000 views, that’s promising. But if people drop off after a few seconds, your video fails to hold attention.

Click-through rates (CTR) on social media posts and ads

To riff on the old “if a tree falls” adage: If a social media ad publishes, but no one clicked on your content, was it even worth the ad spend?

When you pay for an ad intending to get someone to click on a link, event or piece of content, knowing how well you’re convincing people to do so helps you optimize your ad creative and spend.
Let’s take a closer look at this metric:

Click-through rates (CTR)

Click-through rate (CTR) compares the number of times someone clicks on your content to the number of impressions you get (i.e., how many times the ad was viewed). A high CTR means an effective ad.

Note that CTRs differ wildly across industries, networks and content types. Some common examples of areas where CTR is measured include:

Create shared definitions for your metrics

An easy-to-solve barrier when it comes to understanding social metrics is simply knowing what each metric means, and why it matters.

Creating a sharable glossary of terms that includes metric definitions, how they’re measured and why they matter keeps everyone on the same page.

This eases the process of educating new team hires, interns or close collaborators. And it helps outside stakeholders, including your C-suite, make sense of your reports and understand ROI.

Add meaning by telling a story with your metrics

Social metrics are just numbers—individual puzzle pieces.

The key to good reporting is by data storytelling to create the big picture. Data storytelling is adding meaning to your metrics by using them to demonstrate the impact of content on your social strategy, and of social on your whole business.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding on what story to tell:

  • Your audience: A peer might want granular data, like impressions and clicks. But an executive will likely want business-level takeaways, like ROI and sentiment.

  • The type of report: This will help you narrow down the metrics you use. Creating a monthly report? Highlight your most engaged-with and high-impressions posts, and what that means for your strategy. A campaign report? Highlight the impact your campaign had on a specific goal, like conversions or web traffic.

  • Your business goals: Touch on brand awareness by highlighting metrics like impressions, reach and views. Highlight ROI by showing website traffic upticks during a campaign, or conversion rate of ads.

  • Your team goals: Are you reporting to justify leaning into a new content type, like video? Or to secure a larger budget by proving the impact of ads?

  • Changes: Metrics have the most impact when you give them context. The change in conversions, for example, from the beginning of a campaign to the end illustrates ROI.

Create a regular reporting cadence

Reporting is one of the most important ways to keep your team and strategy on track. Create a regular reporting cadence to stay agile. Think monthly reports for health checks, quick changes and experiments, and quarterly and yearly reports for larger shifts and progress towards business goals.

Take this a step further and break down silos by regularly sharing custom reports with other team leaders. Talk to other teams about how social data will help them. Then, regularly send a report containing the most useful metrics and takeaways.

Reporting often feels daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Using analytics and reporting tools, like those offered in Sprout, streamlines and speeds up this process. And custom report builder capabilities make it easy to create reports that focus on the metrics stakeholders need.

Network-specific metrics tools

All of the main social media platform players offer built-in analytics. Some of the metrics they offer may vary, but they’re all effective tools for tracking social media metrics.

Here is a brief snapshot of what each social platform offers:

TikTok Analytics

TikTok Analytics offers an easy way to measure your page and short-form video performance, follower stats and LIVE content.

Metrics like video views and most active times help you get a better understanding of video engagement and your best times to post.

If you choose to advertise on TikTok, you have access to even more metrics and performance data, like tracking actions that website visitors take, and creating unique audiences.

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics offer three dashboards:

  • The Tweet Activity dashboard provides a top-level look at how your Tweets and Page are performing. This is the main dashboard you’ll want to look at for performance metrics.

  • The Followers dashboard where you can learn more about your audience demographics.

  • The Twitter Cards dashboard to measure how your Twitter Cards—which involve adding meta tags to your webpages—drive actions like app installs or clicks.

In conclusion, hone in on the social media metrics that matter most

There are dozens of metrics to choose from. And it’s too easy to get overwhelmed.

But choosing the right social media metrics to track is a game changer. Not just for your immediate team, but for your whole business.