Everything Your E-Commerce Brand Needs to Know About Social Media Analytics

May 18, 2022
by Ashley R. Cummings

With over 4.6 billion users across the world, social media has never been more popular. And that number continues to grow each year—10% in 2021. Social media should absolutely be part of your digital marketing strategy.

However, to cut through the saturation and see lasting results, you need to follow the data. In this article, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about social media metrics and analytics.

Defining Social Media Metrics and Analytics

Social media metrics are the data used to gauge the impact of your social media campaigns. These metrics could include:

  • Audience growth rate
  • Overall impressions
  • Social share of voice
  • Click-through rate, or CTR (how often people click the links in your posts)
  • Cost per click, or CPC

Social media analytics, then, is the process of taking this data and interpreting it to gain insights into your social media marketing strategy’s performance.

Effective use of social media analytics is often the difference between a successful campaign and a waste of money. As such, it’s critical to spend some time understanding how to properly apply social media analytics to your business.

Tools to Track Social Media Metrics

If reading the above made your head spin, don’t worry — you’re not in this alone. There’s no shortage of tools to track social media analytics. Here are some of the best.

1. Google Analytics

You’ve probably heard of Google Analytics — it’s the search giant’s system for tracking web activity. While it’s most often used to keep tabs on website traffic and visitor behavior, Analytics can also be applied to social media.

Google Analytics won’t track metrics like shares or comments. However, it can keep tabs on how many visitors come to your site via social channels, plus which channels and which specific posts they came from.

Best of all, Google Analytics is free to use.

2. HubSpot

Everything Your E-Commerce Brand Needs to Know About Social Media Analytics

HubSpot offers a robust suite of marketing tools that can help you build and publish campaigns, then track those campaigns with powerful analytics and reporting. HubSpot’s strength is the interaction between its various systems. For example, the HubSpot social media and CRM tools can integrate to provide additional insights on leads and customers generated via social channels.

All that power comes at a price: mid-tier plans start at $800 per month.

3. Buffer

Buffer offers the ability to plan and schedule your social media posts across multiple channels at once. You can then monitor those posts and engage with followers from a centralized interface.

Buffer also offers easy-to-read dashboards that paint a clear picture of your content’s performance. For example, you can view all your Twitter and Facebook analytics on one screen. You can then generate beautiful reports to help guide your next batch of posts.

Buffer offers a limited free tier, with paid plans starting at $5 per month per social channel.

4. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a Buffer alternative that brings a slightly different flavor of social media management to the table. While many of the features are the same, Hootsuite tends to offer more monitoring and analytics functionality, while Buffer tends to be a bit better at content creation.

Hootsuite pricing starts at $49 per month and increases as you add additional users and more advanced features.

Key Social Media Metrics to Track

Now that you have the tools, let’s explore some of the most important metrics to track and what makes them so useful.

1. Audience Growth Rate

Your audience growth rate is a measure of how rapidly your follower count is increasing over a given period. This is useful to know because it can give insights into whether growth is slowing or speeding up — something that raw numbers don’t necessarily make clear.

To calculate audience growth rate, measure the number of new followers gained over a specific period. Then, divide the number of new followers by your total followers.

For example, if you have 2,000 new followers within a certain time period, and 4,000 total followers, your growth rate is 0.5, or 50%.

2. Overall Impressions

Social media impressions are simply the number of users exposed to your content. It doesn’t matter if they interacted with it or even spent time reading it — if it came across their feed, it generally counts as an impression.

This is a useful metric because it helps you get a picture of how far your content is spreading. A low number of impressions may mean the platform’s algorithm isn’t picking up your posts. It’s also a useful way to track the reach of paid ad campaigns.

3. Social Share of Voice

Social share of voice is the number of mentions your brand is getting on social media compared to your competition. It can be a useful way to track brand visibility.

To calculate your share of voice, add your mentions to those of your competitors to get the industry total (you can track competitors using tools like Hootsuite). Then, divide your brand’s mentions by the industry total.

4. Cost per Click (for paid ad campaigns)

Cost per click (CPC) is what you pay for each click on a sponsored social media post. That makes it a crucial metric to track when investing in paid social media ads.

Fortunately, calculating it is super simple: just divide the total ad spend of a campaign by the number of times the ad was clicked.

Analyze Your Way to Social Media Success

Social media marketing can be incredibly powerful. But like any marketing channel, you need to follow the data to evaluate what’s working, develop strategies based on audience desires, and  make sure your investment into social media is producing a quantifiable impact. With these tools and metrics in hand, you’ll be well on your way to going viral

And if you find yourself stuck along the way, adQuadrant can help. Our performance-obsessed digital marketers are ready to help you achieve social media success today.

About the author: Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer and content marketing consultant specializing in e-commerce, marketing, and SaaS. Connect with her on Twitter!

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