The social media metrics that mattered the most in 2021

David Fairfull
By David Fairfull | 21 October 2021
David Fairfull. File photo

David Fairfull, CEO and co-founder of Metigy

The pandemic has had an immense impact on business. Traditional bricks and mortar marketplaces have shifted online, and this dramatic digital migration has forced SMEs to seek new ways to market their businesses.

Many SMEs have, for the first time, launched an online presence and while some quickly adapted by using the digital tools available, others have struggled to make the transition. 

As a result, it’s essential that businesses, particularly startups and SMEs, not only use cutting-edge digital marketing trends but also measure their social media efforts to ensure they are interacting with customers, both new and old, in a meaningful way. 

Here, we explore the five social media metrics that have mattered the most during 2021 and consider the tactics SMEs can use to get the best bang for buck.

Organic reach rate

Organic reach is a social media marketing metric that measures the number of unique accounts that have viewed a post on a platform. In short, it measures how many people have seen the post once. Importantly, organic reach excludes any reach that is the result of paid promotion and specifically hones in on the natural or ‘organic’ reach of the post. 

When it comes to organic reach, the golden rule is to avoid spreading yourself too thin. Concentrating your efforts on a few key social platforms will give SMEs the best return on investment. Although there’s an array of platforms on the market, choosing which platforms to concentrate on is easier than many people think. Take stock of where competitors and market leaders have a strong presence, understand what works for your competitors and investigate the platforms your audience frequently engage with. 

Posting evergreen content will amplify your organic reach rate. Although different content formats have varying lifespans, that doesn’t mean you can’t post evergreen material or content without an expiration date. When posting this form of content, make sure you apply popular hashtags where suitable, to help ensure that your content is discoverable. 

Video view rate

The video view rate (VVR) is the percentage of people who watched a video shared on social media. While a ‘video-view’ is three seconds on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, a ‘video view’ on YouTube is determined by different criteria. 

The VVR is the best metric to gauge the success of video content in holding the viewer’s attention. According to the Social Media Benchmark Report Q2 2021, Facebook is leading the charge with the average VVR being 45.46%, followed by Instagram (43.01%), YouTube (41.37%) and LinkedIn (22.83%). 

When it comes to increasing your VVR, it’s important to learn which format each platform prefers to maximise potential reach and engagement. For example, Instagram currently favours reels over standard videos and the algorithm.

Across all platforms, ensure you use a visually engaging thumbnail that captures both the attention of your audience while also helping to explain the video. It’s typically best practice to make descriptions and captions for video content short, sharp and to the point, as well as incorporating popular search terms and hashtags where suitable. 

Engagement rate

The engagement rate (ER) is the metric used to measure the level of engagement created from a social media post or campaign. It’s a quick and simple snapshot of the effectiveness of your content and is broken down into public and private engagement. 

Public ER refers to the level of engagement from followers who engage with a post and is the percentage of followers who interact with a post. Public ER is the best metric to use for competitor benchmarking because it is based on publicly available engagements, such as likes, comments, shares or retweets. 

When it comes to increasing your public ER, it’s best to engage directly with your audience every time you post to help boost engagement. This tactic will help to build trust with the audience, so they are more likely to comment, ultimately boosting your social media ER. 

On the other hand, private ER refers to the engagement of particular posts, and is the percentage of people who interacted with a post in any way. Private ER is the best metric to gauge how well your content engages your audience. 

To increase your private ER, ensure you’re posting consistently and at the times when your audience is most engaged. Remember that engagement is a two-way street, so the more you engage with your followers, the more likely you are to receive engagement back. 

Monthly growth rate

If you’re running a social media account for your business, growing your following is an effective marketing strategy. Not only will growth and exposure increase your brand visibility, but it will also connect you to customers, potentially resulting in more leads and sales. 

Consequently, the monthly growth rate (GR) calculates the rate of change in followers on the first day of the month compared to the last day of the month. Monitoring your GR is the best metric to gauge how well your social profiles are growing and gaining new followers. 

For businesses looking to get ahead, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) can accelerate monthly GR at higher speeds across all socials by posting regular content at optimal times. For example, our Social Media Benchmark Report Q2 2021 reveals that Facebook fielded an average monthly GR of 1.80% without AI, versus 8.12% using AI. 

Click-through rate

Finally, click-through rate (CTR) refers to the number of times a post is clicked through to a website and directly relates to the number of people interacting with a call to action. 

The CTR is the best metric to gauge how well your social content is driving traffic to your website. The higher your CTR as a percentage, the more effective your content is because it is engaging enough to convert people to click through to what you are marketing. The best way to drive CTR is to test your ads. Once you distinguish your audience, optimise your content through A/B and user testing to achieve the desired outcome. 

As more consumers shift online every day and social media continues to boom, businesses must consider tactics to optimise social media results. In addition to measuring metrics, businesses are turning to AI-supported digital marketing tools to help build data-informed strategies and boost productivity. With these strategies, businesses can cut through the noise to successfully reach their desired audiences.


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