**Originally published January 20th, 2020. Updated March 26th, 2021**

The past year has been a tough time for most businesses due to COVID-19. If your brand is struggling to achieve a sustainable ROI and you’re looking to generate more customers from your social media marketing, you need to build a conversion-oriented strategy. An important facet of any healthy marketing strategy is understanding how to track social media metrics. 

When it comes to social media, conversions are a key metric to focus on this year. Your conversion rate gives you the percent of prospects who actually took action after seeing your content. At a time when budgets are tight, conversion metrics become more important as they help businesses directly attribute social media spend to growth. 

In this piece, we’ll take a look at how you can measure your social media metrics, and that journey starts with this question:

person holding pen over data graphs on a clipboard


What Is Conversion Rate In Social Media?

Simply put, your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website or your landing pages that convert (meaning do what you want them to do) as a result of a social media post. Depending on the nature of your business goals, a “conversion” could be almost anything. But here are a few of the most common types:

  • Submitting a form (such as a contact form, lead-gen form, etc.)
  • Making a purchase
  • Signing up for a subscription (either paid or free—like a newsletter)
  • Registering on your website
  • Downloading something (such as a free trial of your software, an eBook, mobile app, etc.)
  • Engaging with your site in some way (time on site, repeat visits, number of pages visited)

There are many other conversion actions users can take on a site, but this should give you a general feel for what a conversion is. Essentially, a conversion is a measurable action that progresses a potential customer towards becoming a paying customer.


What Are The Different Types Of Conversions?

While there are plenty of trackable social media metrics, they don’t all translate to a simplistic ROI. For example, if you happen to notice a drop in sales percentages yet your follower base is multiplying, is that an indication your social media ROI is declining? Perhaps yes, perhaps not. So one of the best methods in assessing that conversion rate is to segment how you track social media metrics and divide them into four groups:

  • Consumability – Consumability is a fairly simple concept. It takes a closer look at your posts and content, then decides how consumable it was for your audience. It evaluates metrics like how many people in your audience looked at your content. This also applies to things like your pages, videos, and overall downloads.
  • Shareability – Shareability is a great way to measure the impact of the content your audience consumed. The idea is based around measuring whether or not the content or posting was engaging enough to share with others on social media. Was the content liked and shared? Did you receive some inbound links as a result of the social post?
  • Lead generation – Lead generation is another element to consider with conversions. The objective of this type of conversion tracking is to determine whether the content consumed by your audience created a lead you could follow up on. You can track this through data sets like email and blog subscriptions. It can also be tracked through blog comments that are connected to your social posts.
  • Sales – The last metric is certainly the most natural measurement of them all. It’s defined in its name, sales; exactly how much money you made as a result of posting a piece of content. You can easily measure that through your e-commerce system or offline sales activity, but you’ll need to create trackable calls to action (CTAs) on each post to make that happen.

Once these metrics have been categorized, you can then begin to set the goals that will help you define your true ROI.

people holding their smartphones at a desk


How To Measure Your Social Media Conversion Rate

Conversion rates are not always the true measure of success for a social campaign, but it’s an essential tool for tracking performance nonetheless. However, the ability to accurately calculate your conversion rate is directly tied to your ability to directly track conversions. The good news is, you can track conversions directly inside many of the most popular advertising and analytics platforms.

With all of the possible conversions and platforms out there, the ability to implement conversion tracking is just one of many powerful social media techniques your business needs to be, but here is a quick reference list for several big-name platforms:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google AdWords
  • Facebook Ads (which includes Instagram Ads)
  • Twitter Ads

You can’t improve upon things you don’t understand. So if you aren’t tracking the results of your online marketing, how do you know whether or not it’s working?

A high conversion rate indicates that your content was compelling and valuable and compelling to your target audience. So from a social media standpoint, it’s a sign that your post was relevant to its audience in some way that spurned action. But how can you track it?

Step 1. Create a post with a call-to-action link. Use a URL shortener to make it trackable.

Step 2. Place a “cookie” on the user’s machine. Doing so attaches the lead to a campaign.

Step 3. Track the total number of clicks and conversions generated by the post with your campaign tracking.

Step 4. Divide the conversions by total clicks, then multiply by 100 to determine your conversion rate percentage.


Additional Conversion Measurements

What are social media metrics? And why are they important to track? As a social media manager, social media metrics represent an opportunity to demonstrate the value of your work and the direct impact it has had on your company.

Attribution is a word we encounter often when it comes to tracking the success and failures of our marketing ventures. Now, when your boss asks you for data, take the opportunity to go beyond the vanity metrics and focus on the data that truly matters—the numbers that prove your effort has had a positive, bottom-line impact on the business.

Here are some other conversion measurements to take into account.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

Cost-Per-Click (CPC) is the cost per individual click on your sponsored social media post. Whether you choose to advertise on Facebook, Instagram, or Linkedin, don’t focus solely on your total spend as the metric for success or failure. Instead, look at your CPC. It’ll help you truly determine if your investment in attention is efficient, or wasteful.

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

Cost Per Thousand Impressions, or CPM as it’s known in marketing circles, is the amount you pay every time one thousand people scroll past your sponsored social media post. Unlike that of a CPC campaign, CPM posts won’t necessarily create action, they are more aimed at creating impressions and views. Therefore, it can be a faster and less expensive way to split test your content or partner with an influencer marketing agency to drive mass viewership.


What Is A Good Conversion Rate On Social Media?

Though it often differs from business to business, a successful conversion rate for a social media ad campaign is often somewhere in the range of 2-5%. This means that 2-5% of the people who clicked on your social media ads and arrived at your website performed the desired action your company wanted them to take (which is usually clicking a CTA of some kind). Choosing the right social media platform to focus your efforts on will also typically yield the highest conversion rate.


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