4 Social Metrics That Matter

By @TheMarkDalton

I have talked about this before, people who obsess over what I like to call “dumb data” which basically means you like to look at the pretty metrics that really don’t mean a whole lot.

Social media has become a game about getting more. More followers, more likes, more re-tweets and so on. We obsess about having more and lose focus on providing value. “If you do this for me I will retweet you daily for the next week to my 50,000 followers!” Great, but how does that provide value for me if only 10 people engage in that week?

Number of followers, likes and impressions don’t matter

I can instantly tell you right here and now how to get more followers and likes on Instagram. Want to boost the vanity number of followers? You can go and buy them from a company on Google, there are unlimited numbers of sites out there selling dummy Instagram followers to boost that number up. Don’t believe people when they tell you this is wrong either, if you want to do it and are happier with it then go do it. Want more likes? There are two options here, you can either post a motivational quote you made in Canva or upload a drone shot and tag it #drone and the likes will roll in.

The reality is that it doesn’t matter and here is why. In terms of followers, we all seem fast to forget we all started at the exact same place…0 followers. We all had to start somewhere when we first signed up. Follower numbers don’t mean shit because I get interaction and messages from people every day that don’t follow me. You don’t need people to follow you on social media for them to see you.

On top of that, a point I have made before regarding follower numbers is that it has turned into a big game particularly on Twitter. The sad thing is that if you want to grow on Twitter now this is only the way to really do it for most of us and that is the follow for a follow game. People get real upset on Twitter if they follow you and you don’t follow back, gaming the system is common place now on Twitter. What I mean by gaming the system is that If you have 4,000 followers and you follow 5,000 people – well something is not quite right with that I can tell you. If you have 30,000 followers and you follow 19,000 – also gaming the system.

I’ll call myself out here too, follow just over 2,000 and have just shy of 2,600 – also gaming the system. I know this to be fact because not so long ago I conducted a little experiment and flushed out my Twitter users, cut about 1,000 people out and my follower numbers dropped, started following people again and the follower number climbed again.

Finally impressions are also a form of “dumb data” and I have spoken about impressions extensively before, what I am interested with here is not the impression but the conversion rate.

So, what this in mind, what is the data that actually matters?

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is the number of people who come to your site and leave after only viewing that one page.

Now if you have a one page website which some people do then high bounce rates are not going to be uncommon. If you have a website with a lot of content on it then ideally you won’t want to see a high bounce rate.

The question that this really boils down to is, ‘do people find your site interesting enough to stick around?’ If the answer is no then they bounce, if the answer is yes then they click around a few pages before leaving.

This is an important metric because it can tell you what kind of content works and what doesn’t work by looking at what has a high and a low bounce rate you will know what people find interesting and what they find boring.

Time on Site

People who bounce from your site could spend no more than five seconds before leaving, those who hang around and read a full post are of course there for a longer period of time.

Clearly we want to have people there to read at least a whole post so using the time on site metric alongside the bounce rate can give you a good idea of how well your content is doing.

Time on site will give you an indication of just how interested people are in your content.


Just for clarity here, the number of visits is each time someone visits your site and the unique visitors counts each person once.

So if you have 1,000 visitors and 1,000 visits in a month it means that people visited your site once and didn’t come back which is not the ideal result we are looking for. However if you have 1,000 unique visitors and 5,000 visits then it means you had return visits to your site that month.

This is an important metric which validates that what you are doing is working. You want to drive new traffic to your site but you also want return traffic too. If people are coming back for more then you know that you are on to something good and to keep going with it.

Conversion and Sales

In my opinion the most important of all, conversion rates and sales. The bottom line and the reason you are doing business online is to sell whether that is selling a physical product or selling your content for your blog.

These are the baseline metrics that your overall success should be measured on, how much you sell. At the end of the day you want to use social media ultimately to drive people into a funnel so you can convert them into a customer.

Use social media to pull them in, convert and sell. At the end of the day that is the metric you should be obsessing over, not how many people follow you on social media or how many likes you have but how much you sell.

Because the simple reality is that if you don’t sell then at some point you end up out of business.

Track What Matters

The simple reality is that despite reading this many people will go and do what they have been doing up to this point which is go back to obsessing over dumb shit on social media analytics like their follower numbers or their impressions.

I hate impressions by the way, people pour over it because it is a nice looking metric that makes them feel good but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t mean a whole lot.

You may look at it and say, “oh but yeah I track all these things too so I’m good anyway!”

No, you are missing the point, you may track this data but you are too focused on the wrong data. You need to worry about this stuff more and worry about the other stuff less. Worry about the data that really actually matters.

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