Social Media Metrics Definitions

If you are fairly new to creating social media content for a brand, all of the terminology may be a little overwhelming. Here’s a quick overview of the key terms and metrics when discussing social media organic content strategies and paid social media.

Boosted Post: A Facebook post that you put money behind to increase its reach. Also known as promoted posts, boosted posts differ from Facebook ads in that they start out as organic posts and then get additional paid reach based on your spend.

Clickthrough Rate: On social media, the clickthrough rate is the percentage of people who see your post and click on it. What counts as a click and what counts as “seeing your post” varies by social network. On Facebook, CTR is equal to (link clicks/post impressions) x 100%.

Conversion Rate: In social media terminology, conversion rate is the percentage of users who see your post or ad and then take a specified action. This action is called a conversion, and it could mean purchasing an item, signing up for a newsletter, downloading an ebook, or a variety of other acts.

Cost-per-click: A social media advertising metric that tells you how much you’re paying for each click on your ad, on average. 

Cross-channel: In social media marketing, each network (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is also a marketing channel. Something that is cross-channel goes across all your different social networks.

Dark Post: A social media ad that doesn’t appear on the advertiser’s timeline. Unlike organic posts or boosted posts, dark posts only show up in the feeds of users they’re targeting.

Engagement Rate: Measurable interaction on Instagram stories and posts, including likes, comments, replies, and shares.

Evergreen Content: In content marketing, evergreen content is content that ages well and maintains its value over time.

Exit Rate: The percentage of your impressions that exit your stories by swiping right, swiping down, or closing stories.

Frame: A single photo or video posted to your Instagram story.

Frequency: A Facebook/Instagram advertising term that refers to how many times your ad was shown to the average user in your target audience. It’s calculated by dividing total ad impressions by total ad reach. Frequency of over 1.00 means at least some users saw your ad multiple times. 

Impressions: A social media metric that measures how many times your post has been shown in users’ feeds. Unlike with reach, you may count multiple impressions for a single user if they have looked at your post more than once.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI): A metric used to measure your progress toward business goals. In social media marketing, KPIs are the most important stats to track to see if you’re meeting the objectives of your social strategy. For example, if your primary objective on social was to raise brand awareness, post reach and ad recall lift might be your KPIs.

Native Advertising: The method of showing paid content to users in a way that looks organic. Promoted Facebook posts, promoted TikTok content and promoted tweets are good examples of native ads, as they look like standard posts in users’ feeds while having their reach extended with an ad budget.

Pay Per Click (PPC): A social media marketing term for an ad model where you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. 

Post Engagement per Impression: The number of likes, comments, and saves per impression on a post.

Post Reach Rate: The reach of a post expressed as a percentage of your followers.

Reach: The total number of unique people who saw a frame in your story or post. It differs from impressions in that even if a user sees your post multiple times, they still only count as one person reached.

Reply Rate: The percentage of viewers who replied to your story on any given day.

Retargeting: In social media advertising, retargeting is the technique of targeting ads at users who have interacted with your page or website before.

Retention Rate: The percentage of viewers who have stuck around through any given frame of a story.

Sentiment Analysis: The way software analyzes the attitude of a piece of text. On social media, sentiment analysis tools can be used to automatically detect whether customer feedback is positive, negative, or neutral. Social media marketers can also look at the average sentiment of their customer interactions over time to see the general mood of their audience or the overall response to their content.

Social Listening: How social media managers track conversations around key topics, terms, brands and more. Social listening software gathers mentions, comments, hashtags, and relevant posts from across social media to provide insights on what users are talking about and how. Brands often use these insights to tap into key trends and see what people are saying about them and their competitors.

Social Media Monitoring: Often confused with social listening, social media monitoring is a more passive technique of keeping an eye on your mentions and following what your audience is saying.

Stories Reach Rate: Your story viewers on any given day divided by your follower count, expressed as a percentage.

Story Viewers: The number of people who saw your story on a given day.

Tap-Back Rate: The percentage of your impressions that have a tap backward to see the previous photo or video again.

Tap-Forward Rate: The percentage of your impressions that have a tap forward to see the next photo or video.

Other recent articles that may be of interest:
What’s the Story with Instagram Stories
Instagram 2021 Benchmarks Quick Recap
Breaking Through the Silence with Captions
Creating Effective, Acceptable Social Media Ads