By now, it is undeniable—social media’s value is unique compared to other advertising opportunities within the media mix. It offers more precise information about consumers than cookie data, and can help you better analyze the habits, behaviors, and affinities of any audience you deem valuable. And the best part? This intelligence can be applied to audiences on other channels like search, TV, radio, or display. Social media is a powerful tool for marketers not only because of its audience analysis capabilities, but also because of its pivotal role in measuring success—especially considering the flexibility of both social-specific and customizable key performance indicators (KPIs).
The 411 On KPIs
If you’re a social media expert, you’re probably already using social KPIs on some level to track the effectiveness of your strategy. However, you may be struggling to determine which ones should be used to best measure progress toward your goals. Not all brands, products, or even promotions within a brand are made equal. Think of a national brand that has thousands of locations across the country. Is the market in California exactly the same as it is in Iowa? Are the consumers? If these aren’t one-size-fits-all situations, then it stands to reason that the KPIs used to measure them shouldn’t necessarily be either. Standard KPIs like reach, engagement, or cost per conversion do have value, but it’s critical for marketers to fully understand both their benefits and limitations. Ultimately, your objective should define your KPI. For example, if you want to spread awareness with a Facebook Video Ad, the cost per view (CPV) metric works well because it’ll reveal how much it costs you for each video view your ad received. In contrast, tracking the cost per link click (CPLC) in this scenario would be less effective, because your campaign goal was to raise awareness, not drive traffic to your website. There are even more intricacies to consider that can affect the value of a metric based on job role. The CPV may be more valuable for a brand manager who wants to track budget and make sure costs remain low. However, a campaign manager may be more interested in the number video views (VV) the campaign received, because it is more about awareness than cost. He or she may even prefer to see the video view rate (VVR), which shows the percentage of time users were served your ad and viewed the video for 3-seconds or more, depending on the platform.
Ultimately, your objective should define your KPI.
These are the most common metrics available and their corresponding challenges, benefits, and best practices.
Creating Custom KPIs & Metrics
Now that you have a better understanding of how one should approach standard metrics, you may be asking how to approach custom KPIs and metrics. To illustrate this, we’ve put together a simple scenario and a real life scenario.
Imagine for a moment that you are running a video ad of a movie trailer. You know that this type of entertainment content is much more likely than others to be watched to completion. And you also know that as a result, the standard metric of VV, which usually counts a video view as a three second view, won’t give you a true sense of success. In contrast, you wouldn’t be concerned about the users who saw the trailer for three seconds and clicked off, because they probably weren’t very interested in the movie. You’d want a way to identify users that are most likely to make the trip to the theater and spend some cash. Therefore, a custom metric that tracks how many users watched 95% of the video would work perfectly, because those users are your premium audience.
Advertisers can report on key measurements that are unavailable within the native platform
It’s crucial for marketers to find a platform that can create and track these types of custom metrics. This way, advertisers can report on the key measurements that are unavailable within the native platform without the hassle and potential inaccuracies of manual or excel-based calculations.
Take this real life example: A Quick Service Restaurant wanted to track a custom engagement metric by recording social shares, reactions, and comments on user posts. This metric is not offered in the native platform; the native metric measures only clicks and other interactions specifically on the original ad. In order to report on user post activity, marketers had to create a metric called the virality rate.
Once they were able to track the virality rate metric, marketers could measure the interest in their ads and make any adjustments needed in real-time. Ultimately, this approach helped the brand drive revenue at a low cost and beat their campaign goal by 50%.
Marketers need the flexibility to tailor how they track their marketing initiatives in a way that’s more accurate and aligned with their objectives so they can react in real-time.
As proved by this example, marketers need the flexibility to tailor how they track their marketing initiatives in a way that’s more accurate and aligned with their objectives so they can react in real-time. The proper application of both standard and custom metrics will ensure that brands can compete effectively within a space that moves as fast as life itself.