Measuring the success of Twitter marketing. Part 1: which metrics?

What metrics should your business be measuring to determine the success of its Twitter marketing?

  • By: Graham Lee
  • Date: July 19, 2018
  • Posted in: Twitter
Measuring the success of Twitter marketing. Part 1: which metrics?

It goes without saying that a critical part of your Twitter marketing strategy is measuring its performance. And when it comes to getting access to metrics about all aspects of your Twitter account, you’re spoiled for choice.

Over the next three blog posts, we’ll take a look at how you assess the performance of your campaigns using Twitter analytics, but first, let’s look at the metrics you might use to measure success.

What does success look like?

Before you start messing about with analytics, it’s important to understand what you’re looking for and before you can do that you need to ask yourself what constitutes success for your brand on Twitter? Obviously this is part of your core strategy, but here’s the one thing you’ll definitely need to consider if you’re to be successful:

  • Determine your key goal: what exactly are you looking to achieve? Is Twitter a means or the actual end goal itself? Is your end goal reaching a certain number of followers, for example, or are you using Twitter as a means to drive traffic to your website? Perhaps you want to enhance your reputation as an influencer within your marketplace, or maybe it’s simply a means to selling more products and services? Once you’ve determined this goal, you can decide what constitutes success.

What metrics to look for

There’s a wealth of statistics available for any public Twitter account, so it’s important to understand exactly what you should be looking for. Here’s a quick breakdown of key metrics you should be measuring:

  • Engagement: this is a key metric as it reveals who is talking to or about your brand. It basically consists of the following formula: Replies + Retweets + Mentions + Favourites. It’s obviously a key part of your Twitter marketing strategy as it reveals the growth of your business’s influence and penetration. Thankfully, it’s also one of the easiest to measure, as Twitter itself provides convenient counts of interactions beneath each Tweet in the form of counters for replies, Retweets and Favourites. Most analytical tools allow you to analyse the reach of not just individual Tweets, but all of your activity over a given period, plus track Tweet content such as links, images and video.
  • Engagement rate: this is another critical stat to measure – it basically allows you to see if your levels of engagement scale along with your follower growth. Defined as a percentage of your followers, it reveals what proportion of your audience you’re able to engage. It’s a good metric for determining the quality of the followers you’re gaining – if engagement rates fall then you need to adjust your targeting accordingly.
  • Hashtags: we’ve seen how clever of use of #hashtags helps broaden your Tweets’ reach by bringing them to the attention of those actively looking out for a specific topic. They’re particularly useful in helping you determine what’s currently popular and trending, plus which hashtags are appropriate to use depending on the message you wish to send out. You can also use hashtags to measure the success of a specific campaign or chat session, and even use hashtags to profile the users engaging with that hashtag. Some analytical tools also allow you to monitor general keywords in the same way.
  • Potential reach: this metric is important in that it highlights the possibilities and potential of growing your audience by revealing how far your brand could potentially go. It’s calculated by adding together the sum of all users mentioning your brand and the sum of their combined followers (plus the sum of your own followers, including those who didn’t engage with the Tweet) to give you a figure that represents the total number of people who could potentially see your Retweeted or Mentioned Tweet. Replies are also factored in, but conservatively (one reply = one potential reach) as they’re not as widely seen as mentions.
  • Potential impressions: this figure is related to potential reach – it basically consists of the total number of times a Tweet from your account – whether the original Tweet or mentioned or Retweeted by someone else – could appear in other users’ timelines.
  • Response rate: this metric lets you see how actively engaged you are with your audience – a key metric if you want to grow your brand’s reputation for its helpfulness. It’s derived by dividing the number of responses you’ve made to those mentioning or replying to you by the total number of mentions (excluding any Retweets). A related metric is response time, which measures the speed of your responses to such interactions.
  • Interactions per person: this metric allows you to measure how actively engaged your audience is by dividing the total number of interactions with your audience size to come up with a mean figure.

All of the above metrics have been handily combined into a single “Twitter Engagement Microphone” by Simply Measured.

Other metrics

The above metrics are all key when measuring the reach of your Twitter marketing, but they’re not exclusive. There are plenty of other stats you can measure that will help you analyse and understand the effects of individual campaigns on your Twitter presence.

These are also based on the core metrics provided above, but combine them with other useful measurements such as time or geography to give you almost forensic-like analysis of your performance.

Examples include tracking follower growth over a period of time and then measuring engagement relative to it, or by spotting spikes in growth that can be attributed to a specific campaign or event.

The geographic breakdown of those engaging with you can be important too, helping you see which regional areas you’re most visible in and possibly revealing avenues for potential growth outside of your core geographic markets. And by visualising your Tweets according to the time they were posted, you can identify hotspots of follower activity that help you time your campaigns and Tweets to maximise their potential exposure.

Track other @usernames

It’s not just about looking at your own account, either. Thanks to the public nature of Twitter stats, you can also track other accounts too – here’s some useful ways in which having access to other account metrics can help grow your business:

  • Measure your followers: not only can you measure your own followers, but you can track those who follow your followers too, which helps you determine their level of influence as well as opening up potential areas of engagement with users who may be sympathetic or enthusiastic supporters of your brand. You can also use metrics to segment your followers into groups depending on their interests or levels of engagement with your brand.
  • Track non-followers: not everyone who engages with your brand is a follower. Use analytical tools to find out more about these people, and reach out to them if necessary to convert them into more passionate advocates for your brand.
  • Find influencers: tracking other users helps you discover which influencers in your market are worth engaging with, either by following them or by reaching out to them directly.
  • Check your competitors: you can also use Twitter analytics to see how your competitors are doing, whether as a means of comparing their growth to your own, or to find out what they’re talking about, how that effects engagement and whether or not there are any lessons you can learn (as well as followers you might be able to attract). Some analytical tools will even allow you to measure overlap between yourself and competitors.

In part two of this three-part series of blog posts, we’ll look at how you can build an analytics framework for monitoring your marketing campaigns.