Harry Weatherley
9 min read

Social media marketing metrics: Vanity vs Sustainability

When it comes to social media metrics, we can very quickly become consumed by the percentage increases and positive affirmations around the surface-level metrics, such as page likes and profile views. But when it comes to the longevity of a successful social media marketing campaign, whatever the platform, we need to discuss the more deep-rooted statistics in order for your business to grow.

Applicable to all platforms

Before we begin outlining the unique features available for each platform to incorporate in your future analytics, let's start by discussing the useful metrics that can be successfully applied across all social platforms for a competitive advantage in terms of business growth.


This may seem like an obvious answer, however, reach is an incredibly crucial metric to help dissect the success of a campaign as you want to ensure your well-thought-out, hard work is being viewed by as many people as physically possible! In simple terms, the reach of your content indicates how many profiles your ad has reached. Realistically, you want this to be a high metric, as it indicates that your audience size is working effectively and therefore your business is successfully competing for its selected demographics’ attention. 


This metric goes hand in hand with reach and simply provides you with a number of ‘engagements’ with your ad. Likes, clicks, comments/replies, shares, retweets, mentions, bookmarks and branded hashtag usage all contribute to the powerhouse term ‘engagement’ and play significant roles in determining potential areas of success or needed improvement. This can be analysed further as it can identify how many profiles within your target demographic are actively interacting with your content. With this being said, it is then beneficial for you to pinpoint the metrics that matter most for your business’ objectives prior to you becoming fixated on engagement. For example, if your objective is to increase website traffic, replies and likes are not going to be as crucial as the number of clicks. 


This metric can often get misconstrued as following the same principles as reach, however, impressions simply calculate the exposure your content gains. This is a key metric to assist in assuring brand exposure is of a high level, alongside weeding out the inactive accounts that are being followed/interacted with. It should also be noted as a useful Instagram feature that if you are to post a carousel of imagery, Instagram will automatically serve the next, unviewed image to users upon revisiting the post, organically increasing impressions. This is a feature that should be utilised to your benefit.

Engagement Rate 

It may be great to see an abundance of likes and comments on a well-performing campaign, but what does this indicate in terms of longevity within your business’ success on the selected social platform? This is why it is crucial for you to take engagement to the next level and calculate the engagement rate. By following this simple formula: Total number of engagements / the total number of followers * 100you can gauge just how much your total audience engages with your content, outlining whether or not you need to create more compelling and interactive content for your audience. You should aim to have this between 1-5%, however, it should be noted that the higher the follower count, the harder it is to achieve this due to your audience quantity becoming broad. Therefore, it becomes increasingly harder to create content that is highly engaging for everyone within that calibre.


Moving on to the front-runner in the Meta powerhouse, Facebook. 

When it comes to Facebook, it can be very easy to fall into the rabbit hole of positive statistical inclines and distort your view of the metrics that matter, so let's discuss the metrics to look out for, and what they actually mean:


This metric often flies under the radar, however, it is equally as important as the previous list. Frequency indicates how many times your ad is served to your audience. Frequency should not be placed in the calibre of ‘the bigger the better’ as you don't want to force your content onto consumers in an overwhelming manner. The frequency of your ad should range between 1.5-2.5, depending on the campaign, to allow your audience to view your content more than once, but not too much so that they become irritated. It should also be noted that content should be regularly updated to not only avoid ad fatigue, but avoid users being served the same campaign consistently, due to your content being unchanged over time. 

Cost per result 

In an ideal world, this would be a minus figure, but unfortunately, everything costs money. That being said, this metric should remain as low as possible to assure a high return on investment and value for money for your business. Depending on the type of campaign, you should aim between £0.10-1.50 per result, with lead generation being subject to a higher rate, in order to be getting value for money.


Twitter still remains untapped by the meta-universe, despite Elon’s best efforts, and so the reporting dashboard layouts in terms of paid advertising metrics are slightly different but still similar in principle. Let's discuss the metrics that matter;

Top Tweets 

This, more than anything, is a fantastic feature that is unique to Twitter and should therefore be added to your social media metric arsenal. Top tweets allow you to distinguish your best-performing tweets in terms of the highest engagement, impressions, reach, and more, for you to then decipher what topics/types of content work best for your demographic.

Top Follower

Adding to the list of useful Twitter features, we have ‘top follower’. This indicates and identifies the Twitter profile with the largest number of followers that followed you this month. Why does this matter? Well, depending on the size of the profile, you could incorporate them into a mention in the hopes of getting a retweet and therefore feature on their profile; it is also incredibly useful to understand the demographic of profiles that are interacting with your content.


The platform that allows us to network through images and videos, overloaded with puppy pics, extravagant cuisine and aesthetically-pleasing sunsets. But what actually matters within the behind-the-scenes world of selfies, reels, stories and explore pages?


Often depicted as a feature to expose the incognito browsers, this metric is incredibly powerful and can be used as a stepping stone in advancing the success of your overall traffic. This is because the number of saves your post receives indicates just how many users are interested in the content, so much so that they have saved it for later. This can then be utilised upon analysis to create a remarketing campaign made up of the users that saved the post, but may not have clicked through/acted on their interest.


Let's take this a little further with Instagram stories (if used by your business):

Completion rate per story 

This may seem pretty obvious, however, some of the most useful tools are those that are right underneath your nose. This metric simply indicates what percentage of users actually watched the whole story slide, compared to how many clicked off after a second. This can be done by following this formula: Number of impressions – number of exits / Impressions. This metric helps you identify if your content is being consumed and digested, or just viewed due to convenience.


Visitor demographic 

This is an incredibly advantageous tool that is provided by LinkedIn. Visitor demographics simply provide you with the top 10 demographic categories that your users all fall into. This then allows you to strategically pinpoint these demographics within your audience targeting to guarantee relevant engagement.

Job functions of visitors 

Similar to visitor demographics, this metric goes one step further and identifies the top 10 Job Functions linked to the users viewing your content. This can be utilised successfully in both audience specifications and allows you to appropriately tailor content.

Visitor highlights/Metrics

LinkedIn offers an insightful tool for you to view, which allows you to see your overall page views, but also furthermore dissects this to tell you, in a graph format, whether your traffic is coming from either mobile or desktop. This then allows you to customise and tailor content to be more appropriate for desktop or mobile based on findings.

Click-through rate (CTR) 

So you have a high reach for your content... Now what? There are still unanswered questions to help provide you with the crucial information to increase your business’ positive stats. The click-through rate simply gives you the overall percentage in which users click through from your content. This then filters out the ‘scrollers’ and outlines the users that have their interest sparked and want to find out more about what you’re sharing. To find out the click-through rate, simply divide the total number of clicks by the total number of impressions. 


Admittedly, it can be easy to pay attention to the simple vanity metrics that show positive increases, which yes, are an incredibly good sign, but where do you go with that information? How do you furthermore analyse these large numbers to identify where the positive influx comes from, and how to carry this on and grow via social media?

In a world that's consistently on the move, it can be a marketing mistake for a business to stay stagnant within the vanity metrics that, if not analysed, may only be a temporary success. By simply following and identifying the metrics that matter within this blog, it becomes clearer which strategy to follow in the hopes of improving increases even more!


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