There’s a lot of talk around the organic reach crisis on Facebook, but there’s much more to understanding your Page performance than how many people your post has reached.
In order to look beyond reach, you need to understand that there’s a difference knowing what the stats mean and knowing which stats are meaningful.
It all comes down to one simple question; does the metric help you make a decision? When you look at a metric you should see what you have to do to make an improvement, if not then the metric is of little use other than vanity.
Social media metrics can generally be divided into four categories:
• Consumption metrics – How many people view your content
• Engagement metrics – How many people engage with or share your content.
• Lead-gen metrics – How does your content result in a lead?
• Sales metrics – What is the ROI on this content?
Consumption refers to how many people view your content and this is where reach comes into play.
Facebook Reach can be defined as the number of unique people who receive an impression of your post.
It is no myth that organic reach is on the decline as Facebook can be seen to move towards a pay-to-play platform. This means that if you hope to get any real traction on this Facebook metric you will have to back it with ad spend.
However, it is time to take reach off the pedestal that it has been placed on and look at the bigger picture.
Marketers tend to place high value on reach as it represents the number of unique views of your brand. However, you may want to consider the value of impressions and the relationship this has with brand awareness.
Does it really matter if the views are not unique? You could argue that seeing a post more than once also demonstrates value as it keeps your brand front of mind for the user and reinforces the initial unique impression. If you are producing high quality content that offers value to your fans then a second impression can act to re-affirm this affinity.
Whether you’re seeking reach or impressions – making the most of Facebook ads is crucial to maximize the return on this Facebook metric.
There is a school of thought that thinks that reach isn’t the stat we should be most concerned with.
Reach cuts quite an effective path to your most attune fans, however, when someone clicks, shares, or comments on a page post Facebook reads this as an indication that the user wants to see more content. So, in theory, chasing a higher engagement rate may actually increase your organic reach.
Not only does your engagement rate directly correlate with reach but it also acts as an indicator for how you should communicate with your fans on social.
Using Facebook insights you can quickly determine how many people are interacting with your posts. If you download the report then you can view engagement metrics (Likes, Comments, Shares and other clicks) for individual posts.
On Facebook, the Average Post Engagement Rate can be defined by the following equation:
Alternatively, you can measure the Daily Page Engagement Rate using this formula:
The Average Page Engagement Rate normally shrinks as your Page grows as it is more challenging to engage your audience. For example, the average engagement rate for a Page with between 1 and 9,999 fans is 1.11% while the average is much lower for a Page with over a million fans at just 0.36%. This means that producing high quality content is paramount to maintaining engagement and growing your community alongside your Page.
This is where Facebook insights is no longer enough. Google Analytics can report almost anything about your website and traffic, including all the necessary social referrals that you are interested in.
This will show you exactly how much traffic your social efforts is driving to specific pages on your website.
If you want to prove that it is actually your Facebook posts that are leading customers to your website then look no further than UTM codes.
UTM codes are little snippets of text added to the end of your URL to help you track the success of your content on the web. An example of a UTM code is highlighted in bold below:
Adding these snippets of code doesn’t affect anything on the Page it just lets your analytics system know that someone arrived to that Page from a particular source or overall marketing platform.
Sales metrics can be measured in the same way as lead-gen metrics as they are both tracking the source of a particular action. Where sales metrics differ is that they are looking to track a conversion or the end product.
You can still use Google Analytics and UTM tracking to measure the number of people landing on particular pages on your website. However, this is where the biggest buzz term comes into play: ROI.
What is the ROI of social media?
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for calculating ROI and there are multiple different factors you can look at from the ROI on conversions to the ROI of impressions Vs. other advertising channels such as print and TV. Of course there are elements that you will struggle to measure such as the value of building brand affinity and the average lifetime spend of a potential customer.
Keep your eyes peeled for an in-depth analysis of social media ROI coming soon!
So which metrics are for me?
Well, the truth is it’s entirely up to you. You can choose to focus on a select few ‘key’ metrics that directly illustrate the success of your campaign, but to gain a true insight of your social media performance all metrics must be taken into consideration to ensure your marketing strategy is a success.
The best way to explain this is that the ultimate goal of the majority of social media campaigns is (rightly or wrongly) to cause an action. Whether this is someone visiting your website or buying your product a lot of marketers simply view social as a means to and end, however, if you choose to solely focus on sales metrics and ignore engagement then you will find that your sales remain static as you are failing to build relationships with your fans.
But if you do it right, and tick all the boxes then maybe, just maybe you will have a happy customer and a happy boss.
Over to you
What do you think? Which metrics do you choose to measure?