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When businesses and brands first started their social media pages, the savvy C-Suite asked their social media manager to track analytics on this newfangled thing called social networking. For a long time — probably too long — those analytics consisted of likes and mentions.

As time went by and platforms like Twitter and Facebook provided more analytics tools, those same social media managers started to track engagement, impressions and reach, maybe even click-through rates. But as social media has long evolved from a nice-to-have to a must-do, so has the need to track key performance indicators (KPIs) that affect the bottom line of your business.

Engagement and reach are great KPIs, but at the end of the day they don’t keep the lights on. They can tell you if your campaign is performing well and help to increase brand awareness — both of which are good metrics to track — but what you ultimately want to do is get people to purchase your service or buy your product. If you’re not tracking where they’re coming from, and that includes your social media efforts, you could be wasting time and money.

Focusing On More Effective KPIs

So what KPIs should be tracked? Your KPI could be as simple as tracking a sales target. To do so, determine the realistic amount of product that needs to move within a week, month or quarter. Then, focus your paid and organic social campaigns on getting traffic converted from your social efforts to the shopping cart of your website.

Track Last Click Attribution to find how many people come from your active social media campaign and make a purchase on your e-commerce site, preferably a customized landing page that takes the consumer directly to the point of sale. Track those numbers against the same landing page’s bounce rate. If the bounce rate is high compared to the shopping cart conversion, make any changes to that page or to your website.

You can also track how many leads are generated from your social campaigns. Maybe you don’t have a product to sell, but you have a service. A lead generation campaign will help you to determine if you’re targeting your campaign on social media to the right consumers. Just be sure to have the sales team follow up on those leads and report back the lead-to-sale conversion rate, another great metric to track.

If you don’t have a physical product or service to sell but make your money from actions on your website — say, video plays where you’ve sold pre- or mid-roll advertising — track the cost per action, or how much it costs you to get viewers not only to your page but also to click the “play” button. Taking that one step further, track how long they watch before they leave, as well as the bounce rate from that page.