You can make the data say whatever you want it to ~ Tim Wilson – 2007

You can, without a shadow of a doubt, shape your data to say whatever you want it to. But what use is the wrong data to your marketing insights? And how do you prepare a well thought out and insightful marketing strategy from the wrong data? By going back to basics and understanding exactly what the data in front of you means.
Master this and you can navigate a wealth of metrics, pinpointing those of value and those that are only worth glancing over. You’ll then be able to use data to inform your marketing decisions and avoid shaping it to just say what you want it to say, which isn’t much help to anyone.

To get you started we’ve prepped this handy-guide across the most commonly used social platforms so you know exactly what to look out for.



Important metrics on Facebook vary depending on campaign objectives and whether posts are organic or promoted content. Generally speaking, the key Facebook metrics to monitor closely are:

  • Reach – the number of people who had any content from a Facebook page or about a Facebook page enter their screen.

Reach is a key determiner of the success of a campaign and its messaging: the higher a campaign’s reach, the higher its visibility and the further your campaign budget has stretched.

  • Engagement – the total number of actions that people take involving a Facebook ad.

Engagement comes in different forms – reactions, comments, shares, video views and link clicks are all forms of engagement. Essentially, engagement results indicate how many interactions there have been with your posts and ads. A high degree of engagement indicates that your content is relevant to your target audience.

 Tip: Don’t be afraid of a slump or a drop in your engagement as you can use both success and failure to improve and influence your content plans going forward.

  • Link clicks vs Landing page views

    • Link clicks – the total number of times that people click a link within a Facebook ad.
    • Landing page views – the number of times that people land on an ad’s destination URL after clicking the link to that URL in a Facebook ad. 

It’s interesting to compare these two metrics. The difference between landing page views and link clicks is essentially how many people are willing to wait for an external URL to load after they click a link in a Facebook ad. If there is a discrepancy between the two numbers – link click numbers are high but landing page views are low, for example – it could be a sign that the destination page is experiencing page-load problems.

  • Conversions and Leads

    • Conversions – the actions people take on a website, such as checking out, registering, adding an item to their cart or viewing a particular page, recorded by a Facebook pixel code on that page and attributed to a Facebook ad.
    • Leads – the number of form responses submitted by people who have clicked on a Facebook lead ad.

Conversion and lead numbers are key indicators of a successful campaign, where the desired outcome is people signing up as a lead or taking a specific action on a website such as making a purchase.

  • Cost per result – the average cost per result from a Facebook ad.

Finally, the factor that we use to determine how successful any campaign really is – costs. It’s what all of us marketers are most concerned about. It’s what makes all the metrics (cost per link click, cost per video view, cost per lead etc) relevant to your ROI.


  • Profile visitshow many times an Instagram profile is visited

This fairly new feature tells you how many times people have visited your profile. This is a useful metric to measure brand awareness.

  • Engagementhow many times an Instagram post has been engaged with

A time-consuming task if you post frequently but worthwhile none-the-less. It’s handy to track how well your audience engages with your posts. Like Facebook, high interaction and engagement with your posts let you know that your efforts are working. Lower engagement or a drop in engagement indicate you may need a rethink or a new strategy.

  • Followershave you seen an increase or loss

Arguably a vanity metric, but a gain or loss can inform how well your content is received by your audience.

  • Stories

Instagram stories metrics warrant a whole discussion of their own. The metrics to consider around Instagram stories are:

  • Unique viewsthe number of times a story is viewed.
  • Completion ratethe number of people that view an entire story through to the end. To calculate, divide the number of views of the last story by the number of views of the first story, and multiplying that by 100.
  • Story repliesthe number of people who sent a direct message in reply to a photo or video posted as an Instagram story.
  • Website visits how many times any links you’ve included in your profile stories have been clicked on.


The metrics to pay attention to in LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager and on LinkedIn’s company pages are very similar to Facebook’s key metrics.

  • Impressions the number of times people have an ad or piece of content enter their screen.

LinkedIn’s own version of Facebook’s Reach metric, impression numbers are an indication of how many times content has been viewed. This is crucial for determining and benchmarking your campaigns.

  • Clicks and cost per clickthe number of times people click on an ad, including clicks on ad content, company name and company logo.

Generally, LinkedIn is costlier than Facebook when it comes to cost per click but the formula for success is much the same: the higher the number of clicks, the lower the cost per click and the better a campaign is tracking.

  • Click through rate (CTR) – a percentage indicator of how often people visit your website after seeing an ad.

As a general rule, the click through rate on LinkedIn is higher than on Facebook. This is a critical metric to watch on LinkedIn when benchmarking campaigns but it can be difficult to say what a campaign’s click through rate should be. When asked about this in my workshops, I advise clients to use themselves and their previous campaigns as a benchmark rather than comparing results with other companies’ campaigns. After all, as Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy”.

  • Leads and conversions
    • Leads – the number of leads collected through a campaign.
    • Conversions: The total number of times people took a desired action after clicking on or seeing your ad.

As with Facebook, conversions and leads are undeniable proof of a successful campaign in almost every instance.

  • Engagement (Comments, Likes Shares) – total social actions: the volume of social actions your ad receives.

As with Facebook, LinkedIn engagement includes likes, comments, shares and follow clicks. Engagement on LinkedIn is great to see and worthwhile keeping an eye on so that you can respond quickly when necessary. However, I see it as being a secondary metric to watch.

  • Demographics

Every so often it is important to take a glance at demographic metrics to make sure that you are targeting correctly. This can provide valuable insights into who your content is resonating with, informing targeting and content creation for future campaigns.


Twitter isn’t generally a high focus platform for most industries in WA. Generally, campaigns track well on Twitter locally only when they have a heavy news media focus or involve the agriculture sector. If you know Twitter is a space that your audience is on, and one that you think it’s important to pay attention to, then it is worth exploring – as with Facebook and LinkedIn, keep an eye on your impressions and engagement but also monitor closely:

  • Tweets and re-tweets

Focus on who – not how many people – are re-tweeting your content. A high number of retweets absolutely demonstrates success, particularly if they come from accounts you would like to build relationships with, but a single re-tweet from a thought leader can have major significance. This is an important step in reputation building and outreach success. For example, a retweet by Ellen DeGeneres has more reach and influence than 2000 others re-tweeting you.


In February 2018, Snapchat launched a new tool for creators called Insights. This feature provides views and reach metrics and audience insights. The only downside is that its currently only available for Official Stories or creators. If you are not one of those lucky few, focus on:

  • Unique Views

When studying Snapchat analytics, keep an eye on story view numbers for insight into your profile’s engagement and reach.

  • Completion Rate

Calculating completion rate will determine if your content is keeping audiences engaged from start to finish.

  • Geofilter Use

If you launched a Snapchat filter, pay close attention to uses – this metric provides insight into the relevance of the filter and whether its design was appealing to your intended audience.

On a final note, don’t be afraid of poor performing metrics – they’re a great opportunity to rethink your approach and make changes. This is important, because changes to strategy based on data will deliver far stronger campaign outcomes. Rather than shaping the data in front of you and reporting a success where there isn’t one, choose to adapt. After all, that’s how we all improve.


If I have missed any platforms or key metrics that you’d like to know more about, drop me a line [email protected]