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Understanding the difference amongst the 14 most popular social media awareness metrics

Personally, I believe that the most important social media metrics to pay attention to are awareness metrics, engagement metrics, conversion metrics, customer metrics, and customer care metrics. All of these metrics combined can give you a holistic view of your social media strategy performance.

In an article I previously published, titled “The most important social media metrics worth knowing”, I defined and highlighted the importance of each metric for your reference because in an ocean of various social media metrics, searching around the web and trying to understand each one of them could be a tedious task.

I have already gone into detail to explain how to track and calculate the 7 most crucial conversion metrics and delved deeper into describing how to master the skill of calculating social media engagement rate. In this article, my focus will be on the awareness metrics, explicitly understanding the difference amongst the 14 most popular ones.

  1. Post reach

Reach is one of the most common metrics and represents the number of people who have seen a specific piece of social media content since it went live. This can be an image post, video, infographic, and even just text. Neil Patel suggests that reach can help you understand the context for your content by allowing you to see how far your content disseminated and how big is the audience for your message.

If your social media goal or overall business objective is to increase brand awareness, then reach is the best metric to track.

However, if you aim for better audience engagement, reach is best when used with other engagement metrics. If you divide reach by engagement metrics such as the number of likes, clicks, retweets, or replies, you will get an engagement rate percentage.

Please refer to my previous article to get a detailed guide on how to master the skill of calculating social media engagement rate.

  1. Post impressions

 While reach measures how many people see your content, impressions track how many times that content appears on a screen, which funny enough includes repeat views from the same person. CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) is the amount you pay every time a thousand people see your sponsored social media post.

If the content you post on your social media is compelling, you might get multiple impressions with the same audience members, which will help increase brand awareness and brand recall.

As with reach, impressions are better when used with other engagement metrics if you aim for both awareness and engagement. When divided by the total number of clicks, impressions will help get the Click-Through Rate (CTR) percentage, which measures how often people click on the call-to-action link in your post.

Again, please refer to my previous article to get a detailed guide on how to track and calculate the 7 most crucial conversion metrics.

  1. Potential reach

 As mentioned above, post reach captures the actual number of people who have seen a post. Potential reach looks at an estimation of the number of people in a brand’s target audience that could potentially be reached. Courtney Seiter notes that potential reach is compounded by friends of audience members or others in a community who could have the opportunity to see a piece of content during a period.

  1. Potential impression

 Like the potential reach,  potential impression measures the total number of impressions possible based on the brand’s target audience. When brand awareness is your business objective, it’s best to use your social media platform’s analytics tool to compare the actual audience impressions with the potential ones to get a view of your social media ads has performed.

  1. Brand mentions

These are the overall number of mentions or references of your brand online. Beyond social media, these mentions include product or service reviews, blog posts, educational content, and news articles.

With brand awareness being a primary objective of your brand, this metric is essential and directly affects your online reputation. I would suggest using a brand monitoring tool to track brand mentions and rectify any negative comments.

  1. Video views

 This one might seem pretty obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. It includes the number of views your video content gets on channels like YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook.

  1. Social Share of Voice (SSoV)

SSov measures how many people are mentioning your brand on social media compared to your competitors. With most of these social media conversations being public, you can measure your competitors’ impact just as quickly as you can measure your own. This metric is primarily used in public relations, competitive analysis, and paid advertising campaigns.

  1. Social media engagement (rate)

Some might argue that social media engagement falls under the engagement metrics and not necessarily awareness metrics. However, if you think of it, engagements cover many interactions; some standard ones used to gauge engagement include likes, comments, social shares, saved items, click-throughs, or retweets. From an awareness perspective, engagements indicate people who are interacting with your content which gives you an idea of how aware people are about your posts and overall brand.

The engagement rate then provides a more accurate representation of content performance by proving the rate at which people engage with your content instead of simply looking at absolute measures of social media engagement such as likes, shares, and comments.

Engagement is vital because being on social media as a brand is not just about popularity but about making meaningful connections with current and potential customers, which will boost your brand on and offline. Furthermore, it’s also a sign that you’re making an impact in the market.

When your followers engage with your content, it shows that your relationship with them is strong and healthy. They are paying attention and likely willing to turn into a customer and become brand advocates one day.

“Engagement rates are the currency of the social media marketing industry.” – Hootsuite.

  1. Share of engagement

This metric measures how your brand’s engagement metrics compare to your competitors.

  1. Audience growth rate

This rate measures the percentage at which your brand’s following grows on social media. It’s basically how fast your gain new followers.

Eddie Shleyner suggestes that the question you should be asking is not, “How many net new followers did we get last month?” Instead, ask, “How fast did we gain last month’s net new followers—and was it faster than our competition?”

If you have a fast growth rate, it means that more and more people are aware of your brand and find that your content resonates with them.

  1. Share of audience

This metric gives a rough percentage of people your brand will reach as compared to its competitors.

  1. Social media audience sentiment

Social media sentiment looks at emotions behind your brand mentions to measure people’s attitudes and feelings about your brand. It adds context to all the @-mentions, comments, shares, and tone of conversations.

Being mentioned and getting people talking about your brand on social media is excellent, but not good enough because you need to figure out where you stand on the positive/negative spectrum, which can be achieved by analysing these conversations.

Sometimes, a massive number of brand mentions can be negative, which makes tracking whether your brand mentions are positive or negative vital, especially if your objective is brand awareness. You want people to know your brand for the right reason.

  1. Influence score

This score shows how a person or brand is influential compared to every other source on social media or its competitors. There are a few popular social scoring tools, including Peerindex and Kred, but the most popular and widely used is Klout.

Klout measures social influence on a scale from 1-100 based on a rolling 90-day period. The score is primarily determined based on 3 criteria: true reach, amplification, and network score.

  1. Conversation Rate (CoR)

This is a metric coined by Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik. He explains that it is a ratio of comments per post (or video or tweet or pin etc.) to overall Followers (or Page Likes).

Tracking your conversation rate will help uncover how much of your followers are compelled to add their voice to the content you post and give you a view of how many of them are aware of your brand posts on social media.

Brand awareness might seem to be common amongst start-ups, mainly because they are still new and people don’t know about them. But well-established brands also focus their efforts on increasing brand awareness to remain relevant and attract new customers. However, only a few companies set measurements for how much brand awareness they have, getting, improving, or even losing.

The metrics listed in this article are ones that I personally deem essential for any brand looking to keep an eye on its brand awareness on social media.

According to Keyhole, what brand awareness metric makes the most sense to track will depend on how your company earns revenue or values its brand.

For example, if you’re a publication that earns money from sponsored social media posts, you likely care most about pure volume metrics like impressions and reach.

But, if you’re a B2B brand that does low-volume business in a niche industry, you may care more about the share of voice, audience sentiment, and engagement.