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KPIs vs. Vanity Metrics: Measure Your Marketing Performance

Sep. 19, 2023 | Jailyn Glass

Measure your social media performance | Mini white buttons with Facebook logos and Like icon.

How to really measure social media performance

When it comes to measuring your performance on social media, you have a variety of different metrics to choose from. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and vanity metrics are used to measure performance, but they differ in how they can help you achieve overall goals with the insight they provide.

In our blog, we will help you understand the difference between KPIs and vanity metrics, along with examples of what they are, why they are important, and how to use them to track your social media performance.

KPIs vs. Vanity Metrics

KPIs and vanity metrics are often interchangeably used to measure social media performance, but most people don’t understand the imbalance of insights they offer. For example, let’s take a look at social media followers. While the number of followers your business has online is important, it doesn’t provide actionable information about your audience. You can’t directly attach revenue growth or revenue to a follower; their only attribute is their awareness of your business. Because of this, follower metrics are considered purely for vanity. Large follower numbers look impressive but can be misleading and are often unrelated to the business’s success.

On the other hand, KPIs are metrics that directly align with business objectives and are crucial for measuring success. KPIs are specific, measurable, and time-bound and help businesses track progress toward their goals. Tracking unique visitors makes for a good KPI for website traffic because it provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your website in attracting and engaging new visitors through reporting each individual who visits a website within a specified period, regardless of how many times they visit it.

KPIs are an essential performance measurement because they are directly tied to the business objectives. While vanity metrics may be visually appealing, they do not provide meaningful insights into the business’s performance and cannot prove a direct correlation to your goals.

Why are KPIs important?

Key Performance Indicators are essential for tracking social media performance because they provide insight into the effectiveness of your social media strategies and tactics. The most common KPIs for social media are:

  1. Engagement rate: calculates the interaction users have with your social media content, such as likes, comments, shares, and clicks.
  2. Reach: tracks the number of people who have seen your social media content, organically or through paid advertising.
  3. Click-through rate (CTR): measures the percentage of users who click on a link or call-to-action (CTA) in your social media content.
  4. Conversion rate: calculates the percentage of users who complete a desired action, such as filling out a form or making a purchase, after clicking through your social media content.

Measuring and analyzing these metrics provides you with information enabling you to make data-driven decisions about your social media marketing efforts, identify areas for improvement, and optimize your social media strategies to achieve your goals. With tracking KPIs, it can be easier to determine where the success of your social media campaigns lies and what adjustments you need to make in other less prosperous areas.

Track social media performance

Now is when you identify the specific goals you want to achieve through social media marketing, such as increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, or generating leads and selecting relevant KPIs to support them. When analyzing your performance, establish benchmarks for your KPIs based on industry standards, previous performance, and competitors for the most realistic growth. This will help you track progress over time and identify improvement areas while keeping your end goal in mind.

Many social media platforms offer built-in analytics tools that can provide valuable insights into your performance. You can also track social media KPIs using third-party analytic tools or Google Analytics. By linking your accounts to Google Analytics, you can view the traffic to your website from social media platforms and social media traffic to your site, set up and track the number of social media conversions related to your goals, and much more.

Every month, you should analyze and evaluate your performance and the signs that your KPIs are showing. Through the trends and patterns in your data, you can target specific areas of your marketing strategy and make improvements. With the ever-changing impact of algorithms and user habits, you may see your desired performance after a month.

It’s key to balance collecting enough performance data and having enough time to adjust and optimize your social media strategy. It allows you to make informed decisions based on trends and patterns in the data. It ensures that your social media efforts drive meaningful business results rather than impulsively change your strategy and harm your goals.

Improve your social media presence

Are you ready to get your business on social media or have a more targeted social media strategy for your existing business? Work with our digital marketing agency. We take the stress out of creating and optimizing social media strategies so you can spend more time on other aspects of your business (or even take a vacation day or two!)

Contact us today, and let’s get started on creating

Photo Credit: Kenny Eliason on Unsplash