By Consumer Dummies

Each genre of social media services has its own arcane measurements, from hashtags to comments, from posts to ratings, from membership numbers to sentiment. In most cases, these metrics become some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) on your list:

  • Traffic (visits): The overall measure of the number of visits (not visitors) made to your site or to a particular social media presence over a set period. Facebook (see the following figure) offers page administrators traffic data in its free analytics at www.facebook.com/insights (you must be logged in). Google Social Analytics enables you to compare traffic from different social media sources.
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Source: www.facebook.com
Facebook’s Insights analytics tool displays Facebook traffic over a customized report time frame.
  • Unique users: The number of different users (or, more specifically, IP addresses) who visited. Depending on your business model, you may want to know whether you have ten visits apiece from 100 ardent fans (multiple repeat users) or 1,000 users, each of whom drops in once. This type of detail is available for some, but not all, social media services.
  • Keywords: The list of search terms or tags used to find a particular web posting. Phrases are often more useful than individual words.
  • Referrers: A list of traffic sources that tells you how many visitors arrive at your web entities from such sources as search engines, other websites, paid searches, and many, but not all, other social media services. Some even identify referrers from web-enabled cellphones.

You can find a section like this in most analytics programs. Those traffic sources may be aggregated and displayed graphically for easy review, as shown in Shoutlet’s Social Analytics feature (see the following figure). This feature compares the performance of social posts across networks for a holistic view of campaign metrics.

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Reproduced with permission of Shoutlet, Inc.
The Shoutlet analytics report provides the total number of referrals by source in the top boxes and a graph depicting the relative growth of traffic by source at the bottom.

Keeping track of users’ paths among many components of a complicated web presence isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. You may find that your marketing strategy takes B2B prospects from LinkedIn to your blog and then to a microsite. Or you may watch business-to-consumer (B2C) clients follow your offers from a social news service to a store widget on Facebook before they conclude with a purchase on your site. Refer to the next section for more about tracking your links.

  • Click-through rate (CTR): The number of click-throughs to your site from a particular source divided by the number of visitors (traffic) that arrived at that source. If 40 people view your Facebook stream in one day, for instance, and 4 of them click-through to your primary site, the CTR is 10 percent (4 ÷ 40). You may need to derive this data by combining traffic measurements from particular social media services with information from the Referrers or Entry Pages sections of your analytics program. In some cases, the CTR becomes the conversion measure for a particular social media service.

The table suggests some useful KPIs that can track by genre and social media platform.

Social Genre Site Examples Useful KPIs to Check
Social Media by Genre and KPI
Bookmarking Delicious, StumbleUpon traffic, keywords, CTR
Community Forums, Ning, Google Groups, Yahoo! Groups traffic, users, time, keywords, CTR
Information Blogs, webinars, wikis traffic, users, time, keywords, referrers, CTR
Media sharing Podcasts, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram traffic, users, time, keywords, CTR, number of views, Likes, Followers
Network Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter traffic, users, time, keywords, CTR
News Digg, Reddit traffic, keywords, CTR
Review Angie’s List, Epinions, TripAdvisor, Yelp traffic, CTR, user ratings, leads