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Best Social Media Ad Metrics to Track in 2023

By incivus

Marketers are constantly evaluating the performance of their social media ads to ensure optimal results. However, the focus is often misplaced on vanity metrics that may initially seem impressive but lack meaningful insights. To truly drive success, it is crucial to track the right metrics – actionable metrics. Unlike vanity metrics that merely boost social media presence, actionable metrics provide marketers with concrete data for informed decision-making and effective ad strategy optimization. We did a deep dive into the significance of actionable metrics and understood their potential to supercharge Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn social media ad campaigns. We also requested industry leaders to chime in and provide their insights on which are the right metrics to track.

What are Actionable Social Media Ad Metrics?

Actionable Metrics are those that give you a deeper understanding of how the ad is performing with respect to leads, conversions, and tracking whether the ad is reaching the right target audience. These metrics enable you to identify what is truly
resonating with your audience, optimize your strategy, and maximize your digital ad return on investment (ROI). Key actionable metrics to consider include Click-Through Rate (CTR), Conversion Rate, Cost Per Click (CPC), Revenue of Advertising Spend (ROAS), and Engagement Rate. Along with these KPIs, ad managers on social media platforms also give you insights such as Reach, Impressions, Frequency, and Clicks. Let us understand what these metrics measure.

Reach is the total number of unique accounts/profiles that have seen your ad creative at least once.

Impressions measures how many times your ad has been viewed, even if it is viewed multiple times by a single user.

It measures the total number of users who have seen your ad and how many times the user was shown your ad.

There are 2 kinds of click metrics – Link Clicks & Clicks.

Link Clicks refer to the CTAs the user clicks on your ad. For example, the “Shop Now” CTA can direct the user to your webpage. You can include custom UTM links to your ad to trace the clicks made to your webpage in addition to the CTAs provided by social media platforms. Eric Elkins, CEO & Chief Strategist at Social Media talks about the importance of having UTM links within your ads to measure link clicks, here’s what he had to say:

As for Clicks (all), it indicates all the clicks made by the user on the ad which includes a click that sends them to your profile, likes, shares or even expanding the ad to see more.

Click Through Rate (CTR)
Simply put, CTR is the ratio of Clicks to Impressions, and it is usually denoted in percentages. It measures how effective your ad is in making a customer click on your profile or visit your website. A higher percentage of CTR depicts that the ad creative, ad placement, keywords used in the ad, and placement of CTA were optimal for a user to make a purchase.

Cost Per Click (CPC)
Cost Per Click indicates how much a click of a user is costing the advertiser. It is the ratio of Ad Spend to the total number of Link Clicks. If your CPC is too high, it results in low social media ROI, and therefore, the efficiency of your ad campaign is low.

Conversion Rate
Conversion Rate is an important metric to track if you’re looking to offer your products for sale, host a webinar, or get sign-ups for your courses. It is the ratio of Link Clicks to Conversions on your webpage multiplied by 100. It is often denoted as a percentage. It indicates whether your ad is successful in hooking the customer into making a purchase. CTA plays an essential role in making conversions. Read about measuring conversions using clear CTAs from Manoj Mansukhani, CXO at Transforming Experiences.

Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS)
According to our Linkedin polls, this metric is loved by many marketers. Return On Advertising Spend denotes whether your ad campaign was successful in generating revenue. ROAS is a marketing metric that measures revenue earned for each dollar you spend on advertising. ROAS is calculated by dividing Ad Spend by Revenue.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Conversion is a growth marketing metric that accounts for all the actions taken by the consumer on the ad which leads to a conversion. This conversion could be anything ranging from a sale, a sign up or even a form submission. Read about what Christopher Savage from Savage Global Marketing has to say about CPA:

Engagement Rate
Engagement Rate determines how engaging your ad is on social media platforms, a higher engagement rate denotes that your viewers actively try to engage or spend time on your posts. If the engagement rate is low, it is time to think of a new strategy to engage your viewers. It is calculated by interactions on your posts such as likes, shares, comments, and saves divided by the reach, multiplied by 100. Engagement Rates can give you insightful information to make better-performing ads in the future. Kevin Hall, a Marketing Operations Specialist at Webserv encourages making meaningful connections to drive results, here’s what he had to say:

What are Vanity Metrics?

Vanity Metrics are those social media metrics that look good on your page but lead to no conversions. Vanity Metrics include likes, comments, saves, shares, views & follower count. These metrics help in increasing brand awareness but may not yield high conversion rates nor does it help in strategizing your next ad campaign strategy. Ivonne Kinser, founder at Vantage Creative talks about the significance of vanity metrics in measuring ad metrics, here’s what she had to say:

What are some other metrics that need to be tested?

When we spoke to the experts in the industry, one of the aspects that was brought to light was testing creative variations, to understand what works for the brand. Our expert, Nicole Niederhofer, a creative director from Mad Fish Digital says:

Where can you track all these Ad Metrics?

Having spoken to multiple experts as well as marketers, we understand that social media metrics seem complicated, and it is tough to analyze campaign by campaign which is why we at Incivus have created a template that helps you track your social media metrics all in one place, to simplify your digital ad metric analysis. It is free to download & easy to use. Click here to download your tracker.

As the investment in digital marketing continues to grow, these metrics may further evolve to help marketers identify the effectiveness of campaigns, quickly and easily.

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