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Understanding social media metrics can be difficult. Impact Partnership can help.

Posted in Blog, Marketing | Posted by Impact Partnership

Understanding Social Media Metrics

Posted on February 20, 2020

Social media is a powerful marketing tool for small businesses, and financial advisors are no exception. But when it comes to analyzing performance data, social media metrics leave many users feeling stumped. Which metrics matter? What is “reach”? “Impressions”? And what the heck are vanity metrics?

What is a vanity metric?

A vanity metric is a surface-level social media metric like number of followers, “likes” on a post, and reach. They’re often considered “flashy,” and while they may look good on paper, they aren’t always the most informative in terms of how your social strategy is performing overall.

That being said, vanity metrics can actually be very useful, especially when your social media goals are things like brand awareness and increased reach.

Vanity metrics are usually the most easy to find; analytics tools like SproutSocial and Hootsuite – and even native tools like Facebook Page Insights – often present them automatically. Now let’s talk about some of the most common vanity metrics: impressions and engagement.


“Impressions” are a measure of how many times your post was seen. There is a difference between views and unique views, but usually both are counted when it comes to impressions. Let’s say in one scenario, your post is viewed by Person A two times and by Person B three times. That gives you a total of five impressions. In another scenario, your post is viewed one time only by five different people – that still gives you five impressions. This is all to say that impressions are not a count of how many individuals saw your content.


While impressions reflect the number of times your content was shown to users, engagement indicates how many people interacted with your post – it’s a count of likes, shares, and comments.

Higher engagement often means that your posts get a farther reach – they are displayed to and accessible by a larger group of people. This is a great way to boost brand awareness outside of your existing network. When a user interacts with your post or page, their network of friends and followers is also exposed to your content…without you lifting a finger!

Impressions and engagement are two of the biggest social media metrics, but they aren’t necessarily the most important. While they can help you determine the effect of your content on a surface level, you’ll need to dig a little deeper to gain valuable insight on things like ROI and conversions.

How to Make the Most of Your Social Media Analytics

To fully understand your social media metrics and turn them into actionable adjustments for your strategy, you may need to turn to some additional tools. Google Analytics takes valuable data, like referral traffic, from social media and can help you relate it back to your overall business goals.

When you integrate data from both sources, the insights you can gain are invaluable.

For example, by viewing referral traffic data in Google Analytics, you can see which networks are driving more people toward your website. You can use other metrics, like landing pages and page depth, to discover where visitors are going once they get to your site. This can be helpful in determining how people get to lead or conversion generating pages on your site.

For example, let’s say you get a high amount of referral traffic from Facebook. You can view the percentage of site visitors that come to your site via Facebook. You see that many of those people initially visit your latest blog, and then click over to view your services. Then they might click to your contact page and fill out the form, thus becoming a lead – one that was generated by your social activity!

As you assign value to different goals and conversions on your website, you can start to develop a clearer picture of the ROI your social activity delivers.

Creating and maintaining an effective social strategy may seem like a lot of work, but it is well worth it. Social media can be a low-effort, cost effective way of generating leads and traffic – if you know how to use it.