Three Types of Goals and KPIs Needed for Social Media Analytics


By Brooke B. Sellas, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Good social media analytics are needed for businesses to understand the social consumer.

But which goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) are most needed? And why?

Companies looking to garner better social media results need to start with those two questions — and from my experience, these are the three areas that need addressing when looking to grasp social media analytics.

Start With Goals

It’s my opinion that you can’t choose your KPIs until you have chosen your company goals.

WHY are you on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram? How is this platform helping you meet a company goal of X?

For example, most of our clients use Facebook to capture leads or gain awareness; they’re using Facebook to meet a goal of gaining fans, followers, subscribers, or to obtain some kind of conversion.

The goal, then, is to increase the numbers of fans or followers on social media, while the KPI gives a specific benchmark to meet or show success of the given goal.

“We need to increase our Facebook fans by 100 fans, month-over-month, to show improved awareness.”

We find that most clients have three major types of goals they’re looking to achieve with their social media analytics, revolving around:

  1. Awareness
  2. Engagement
  3. Conversion

These are typically the three common types of goals and KPIs businesses seek with social media analytics.

Let’s dig deeper and now look at the most common goals and KPIs for each area.

The KPIs Needed For Social Media Analytics

We use the following diagram to help our clients understand how goals and KPIs work together to help choose the right social media analytics … the ones that will guide their company in the direction of proving real return on investment versus focusing on vanity metrics.



While we don’t like to focus on vanity metrics, which are often defined as fan/follower counts or “likes” and favorites, they do play a role in community growth and can’t always be dismissed.

Two big ways in which we look at awareness goals are:

  1. Community Growth: The increase of fans and followers on social media channels
  2. Social Traffic: The increase of traffic coming from social media sites to a website or blog; which is another way to see if your social content marketing efforts are paying off

Every client has different key performance indicators they require when tracking goals, so we like to use a simple template to create a baseline and then track those metrics month-over-month, year-over-year.


It goes without saying, if you’re putting time and money into a social media platform, you want to see potential customers engage with you there.

Again, you want to be cautious of vanity metrics, so we like to look at engagement that serves a purpose, like:

  • Brand/product feedback
  • Reviews
  • Share of voice and volume, like mentions or use of brand or campaign hashtags
  • Check-ins

Even with ever-increasing engagement (which also leads to awareness), you’re probably still thinking, “SHOW ME THE MONEY.”

Which brings me to conversions and social media analytics.


I don’t think we’ve ever had a client not want some kind of return on investment (ROI) or conversion to prove social media success.

And just like any other goal, conversions can be plagued by vanity metrics, too. If 1,000 people download your lead magnet on social media but not one of them convert to a paying customer, you have 1,000 conversions that don’t amount to ROI.

While dollar-for-dollar returns can be harder to track, we find clients love leads as a social conversion. Because leads can lead to customers.

Other Goals & KPIs

Truthfully, most of our leads come from social advertising rather than from organic social media posting.

That’s not to say we get zilch from social media content, but our posts are there to prop up softer social media analytics like awareness and engagement, and our advertising is there to boost conversions.

You will have to work to uncover other goals and therefore KPIs that are needed to sustain.

Try …

  • A/B/C testing
  • Uncovering patterns
  • Making micro changes

… to see which goals and KPIs give you a solid footing for your social media analytics.

As for suggestions for other things you may want to track, here are a few:

  • Reach
  • Content analytics or analysis
  • Competitors
  • Brand sentiment

There are hundreds of things you can track when it comes to social media analytics; don’t get mired in too many metrics!

Remember, It’s Personal

Choose your social media metrics wisely. What works for one company or brand may not work for you.

Your business and its goals are personal, so too should your choice be for choosing social media KPIs.

What goals and KPIs are MOST important to you to measure? I’d love to know! Clue me in by commenting below.

Brooke Ballard for {grow}Brooke B. Sellas is an in-the-trenches digital marketer & owner at B Squared Media, blossoming blogger, and  a purveyor of psychographics. Her mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on Twitter.

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