100 Ways To Measure Social Media

If there's anyone out there left who says you can't measure social media, here are a hundred answers.


At most of the events I've been to lately, measurement continues to be a hot topic. The first question that comes up is, "What can I measure?" That's where this cheat sheet can come in handy: a list of 100 thought-starters.

Some entries here can be interpreted several ways. Depending on how you define them, some of these metrics may seem redundant, while others may seem so broad that they can be broken out further. Many of these can be combined with each other to create new metrics that can then be tracked over time. It's a start, though, so dive in and consider which ones may apply to programs you're working on.

1.     Volume of consumer-created buzz for a brand based on number of posts

2.     Amount of buzz based on number of impressions

3.     Shift in buzz over time

4.     Buzz by time of day / daypart

5.     Seasonality of buzz

6.     Competitive buzz

7.     Buzz by category / topic

8.     Buzz by social channel (forums, social networks, blogs, Twitter, etc)

9.     Buzz by stage in purchase funnel (e.g., researching vs. completing transaction vs. post-purchase)

10.  Asset popularity (e.g., if several videos are available to embed, which is used more)

11.  Mainstream media mentions

12.  Fans


14.  Friends

15.  Growth rate of fans, followers, and friends

16.  Rate of virality / pass-along

17.  Change in virality rates over time

18.  Second-degree reach (connections to fans, followers, and friends exposed - by people or impressions)

19.  Embeds / Installs


21.  Uploads

22.  User-initiated views (e.g., for videos)

23.  Ratio of embeds or favoriting to views

24.  Likes / favorites


26.  Ratings

27.  Social bookmarks

28.  Subscriptions (RSS, podcasts, video series)

29.  Pageviews (for blogs, microsites, etc)

30.  Effective CPM based on spend per impressions received

31.  Change in search engine rankings for the site linked to through social media

32.  Change in search engine share of voice for all social sites promoting the brand

33.  Increase in searches due to social activity

34.  Percentage of buzz containing links

35.  Links ranked by influence of publishers

36.  Percentage of buzz containing multimedia (images, video, audio)

37.  Share of voice on social sites when running earned and paid media in same environment

38.  Influence of consumers reached

39.  Influence of publishers reached (e.g., blogs)

40.  Influence of brands participating in social channels

41.  Demographics of target audience engaged with social channels

42.  Demographics of audience reached through social media

43.  Social media habits/interests of target audience

44.  Geography of participating consumers

45.  Sentiment by volume of posts

46.  Sentiment by volume of impressions

47.  Shift in sentiment before, during, and after social marketing programs

48.  Languages spoken by participating consumers

49.  Time spent with distributed content

50.  Time spent on site through social media referrals

51.  Method of content discovery (search, pass-along, discovery engines, etc)

52.  Clicks

53.  Percentage of traffic generated from earned media

54.  View-throughs

55.  Number of interactions

56.  Interaction/engagement rate

57.  Frequency of social interactions per consumer

58.  Percentage of videos viewed

59.  Polls taken / votes received

60.  Brand association

61.  Purchase consideration

62.  Number of user-generated submissions received

63.  Exposures of virtual gifts

64.  Number of virtual gifts given

65.  Relative popularity of content

66.  Tags added

67.  Attributes of tags (e.g., how well they match the brand's perception of itself)

68.  Registrations from third-party social logins (e.g., Facebook Connect, Twitter OAuth)

69.  Registrations by channel (e.g., Web, desktop application, mobile application, SMS, etc)

70.  Contest entries

71.  Number of chat room participants

72.  Wiki contributors

73.  Impact of offline marketing/events on social marketing programs or buzz

74.  User-generated content created that can be used by the marketer in other channels

75.  Customers assisted

76.  Savings per customer assisted through direct social media interactions compared to other channels (e.g., call centers, in-store)

77.  Savings generated by enabling customers to connect with each other

78.  Impact on first contact resolution (FCR) (hat tip to Forrester Research for that one)

79.  Customer satisfaction

80.  Volume of customer feedback generated

81.  Research & development time saved based on feedback from social media

82.  Suggestions implemented from social feedback

83.  Costs saved from not spending on traditional research

84.  Impact on online sales

85.  Impact on offline sales

86.  Discount redemption rate

87.  Impact on other offline behavior (e.g., TV tune-in)

88.  Leads generated

89.  Products sampled

90.  Visits to store locator pages

91.  Conversion change due to user ratings, reviews

92.  Rate of customer/visitor retention

93.  Impact on customer lifetime value

94.  Customer acquisition / retention costs through social media

95.  Change in market share

96.  Earned media's impact on results from paid media

97.  Responses to socially posted events

98.  Attendance generated at in-person events

99.  Employees reached (for internal programs)

100.  Job applications received

There you go. I welcome other entries in the comments. It's also just the start of the answer to the broader question: "How do I measure it?" Ultimately, you need to start with figuring out your business objectives and then apply these metrics accordingly.

22 comments about "100 Ways To Measure Social Media".
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  1. Evan W from Experience Advertising, Inc., November 17, 2009 at 4:08 p.m.

    Great list David..way to rock it out.

  2. Scott Brinker from ion interactive, inc., November 17, 2009 at 4:11 p.m.

    Awesome list. Some are more measurable than others, of course, but this is a great way to recognize just how broad social media metrics can be.

  3. Brian Walker, November 17, 2009 at 4:14 p.m.

    Great list. Very exhaustive. More proof that this is more of an art than a science.

  4. Walter Sabo from SABO media, November 17, 2009 at 4:26 p.m.

    That's about 99 more ways than one can measure prime time TV. I grow weary of the question. Thanks for the cheat sheet of answers. Terrific. WS

  5. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, November 17, 2009 at 4:39 p.m.

    First of all great list. It proves that social media is not that much different than all the other forms of media for many of the list items. But some of the measurements are not concrete. I can buy friends and fans by the 1,000's from specific companies that provide this service (makes one wonder if the Twitter and Facebook account volume/unique visitors are false eh?) and I can buy buzz from the same vendors! Some items you listed are absolutely unique to social media and invaluable like using it for research and listening to customers/feedback etc. You can also use it to scope out competition. But some you list I don't agree are measurable at all or are related to social media. Like change in market share and impact on sales except in very specific unique circumstances. Don't worry I say the same thing when it comes to digital and traditional not picking on SM there. That all being said it really helps to have every bullet point laid out so that brands can use SM as a tool for the areas that SM should be used for. Bravo!

  6. Frank Moester from Sock Puppet Heroes, November 17, 2009 at 4:45 p.m.

    What about retweeting your tweet about this message?
    #101? ;) Looking forward to your post ""How do I measure it?". Tnx, great list!

  7. Jonathan Hall from American Pop, November 17, 2009 at 4:53 p.m.

    The effect of marketing in social media depends on what the consumer expects to get from social media. Therefore, it makes sense to measure everything! I think the baseball "Slugging Percentage" is a good comparison to how a good social media campaign can be quantified.

  8. Thomas Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, November 17, 2009 at 5:55 p.m.

    Really impressive effort -- good, hard, smart work. Thank you!

  9. Robert Petersen from BarnRaisers Group, November 17, 2009 at 6:46 p.m.

    This is a great list. While I'm sure we can all kick the tires, I think the real question is if traditional channels like TV, print and outdoor had to come up with their lists, could they even get half as far as David has.

  10. Mark allen Roberts from Out of the Box Solutions, LLC, November 17, 2009 at 6:51 p.m.

    Great job of addressing a much needed topic.

    I would be interested in learning how many companies, after reading your content have decided they have an effective social marketing roadmap based on returns…or they have been listening to “smores: ( social media whores) that take big dollars and produce no value as I discuss in my blog : and click #15.

    Great job,

    Mark Allen Roberts

  11. Jonas Halpren from Federated Media, November 17, 2009 at 7:47 p.m.

    David, this is a great way to illustrate your point. Marketers need to step back, look a their business and determine what metrics they need to push it forward. So many timesMarketers are unclear or unsure of their goals, and a successful program is deemed a failure because, wait for it "it didn't click well".

  12. Les Blatt from Freelance New Media Person, November 17, 2009 at 7:54 p.m.

    Amazing job, David - great ideas, great starting points for conversations about measurement.

  13. David Berkowitz from MRY, November 17, 2009 at 9:51 p.m.

    Thanks so much for all your feedback - I'm still digesting all this too and will respond more in detail to some soon, but I am reading and really appreciate every comment.

  14. Anil Singh from Interactive Avenues, November 18, 2009 at 2:34 a.m.

    Very helpful for Social media marketer ......

  15. Tara anne Michels from MessageDriven, November 18, 2009 at 8:34 a.m.

    Terrific list! It's amazing how social media has just taken over the media landscape!

  16. Linda Ziskind from Z2 Consulting, LLC, November 18, 2009 at 9:45 a.m.

    David, Great, great list. But now you have to write a Part II listing the actual tools people can use to measure these metrics, otherwise it's just great theory.

  17. Anissa Wardell from The Publicists Assistant, November 18, 2009 at 5:35 p.m.

    Great list David. As someone who has been asked that same question by clients, I find it interesting that it even comes up. Honestly, I didn't have that long of a list, but the fact of the matter is that many businesses don't even have a complete answer to What is the problem? and What is the solution? for their business. If they had those answers and took the time to do some research on the different search engines with their keywords they would have a better grasp of how to measure social media. All they have to do is take a little time maybe invest in tools or hire it out, but it all comes down to researching what others are saying about you (or your brand/business). Conversations are going on out there, and if you aren't being found, then whatever marketing and pr you think you have done must not have been effective. Start a conversation and engage others....if its a good message or conversation it will go viral.

  18. Jim Dowling from Cake, November 19, 2009 at 12:56 p.m.

    Quality list - thank you.

    None tell me if someone is more likely to buy a product though, do they?

  19. Kate M?ynarczyk from SmartPR Poland, November 24, 2009 at 8:26 a.m.

    Great job David! Thanks for your help and feedback. The question of mesurement of Social Media is not as hard anymore! Looking forward to your next posts!Greatings from Poland

  20. Ira Kaufman from Entwine, January 4, 2010 at 12:24 a.m.

    Great list. Thank you. One of the most critical values of Social media is as an augmenter of other more traditional media. The new metrics include a comparative call to action with and without social media integration. Finally as marketers develop an Integrated Media Marketing Strategy-seamlessly integrate all media in one strategy- the synergy of the different media components/channels generate a new metric, call it new marketing capital! The Obama Campaign generated a vast amount of marketing capital that resulted in his landslide victory , high approval ratings and highly successful fund raising

  21. Alex Becker from Highly Relevant, February 22, 2010 at 2:11 a.m.

    Really nice post here. These kind of lists always inspire me. Would be nice to see some sort of "top 100 tools used to measure" post.

  22. Yashod Bhardwaj from Strategy Institute, March 8, 2010 at 12:34 p.m.

    Also see which is focused on measurement & pricing of a couple of digital mediums:
    Social Media
    Advanced TV
    Online Video
    Digital Out-of-Home
    Digital Integration

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