Find out what counts as a ‘view’ on social media and other terms to better measure the success of your marketing efforts.
Understanding the effectiveness of your business' social media activity is important. What’s great is, that data is not hard to come by with social channels all offering their own engagement analytics tools. Plus, there are also marketing CRM’s and of course Google Analytics.
But trouble can occur when the data doesn’t seem to add up and the numbers start to look muddled. Who would have thought that what one social channel counts as a view or an impression might be interpreted differently by another? This is the reality we live in and has probably been the cause of plenty of head-scratching in your marketing department.
If you’ve encountered this situation then you’ll know the difficulty in compiling a report that really makes sense in telling the true story of your success. Which interpretation do you abide by? Who can you trust? While the answers to both questions are mainly subjective, we can help by explaining a few of the most important terms; reach, views/impressions, clicks and shares.
The term ‘reach’ generally refers to how many people saw or might see something that you’ve posted or are about to post on social media. There is potential reach or audience, which a platform like DSMN8 uses to calculate the amount of people who might see your post. You’ll see this often used in paid marketing tools where you deliver your audience criteria and Facebook or whoever you are using will then estimate how many people they think could see your post.
Reach can also be based on how many people actually saw your content, which is the case in Facebook. It’s important to note that they view post reach and page reach differently, the first being how many unique users saw the post in their newsfeed and the second being the number of people who saw any of your content within a period of time (day, month, year…).
This audience estimator tool for LinkedIn that was created by the Content Marketing Field Guide might be useful to you. Just remember, that reach refers to how many sets of eyes see your content or page.
Views and Impressions
Measuring views is not as easy as measuring website page views and it’s made a little harder by attempts to dig deeper to find who’s seen your content and who’s really seen your content. It’s widely agreed that most social channels can’t count what you’ve actually read or watched but they can count what you do. They can measure what items you scroll over and what posts you spend the most time stopped on. However, they can’t guarantee that you’re engaged or even if you’re looking at your screen when scrolling and hovering.
This has been made all the more complicated by the growth in shared video content and autoplay. How many times have videos autoplayed in your newsfeed without you even watching them, would you call that being fully engaged with the content?
Again, each social channel has its own rules for measuring views and impressions, especially with video. For example, let’s look at what counts as a view on LinkedIn. They split views into two categories, post views and article views. Post views are measured simply by how many screens they’ve appeared on. If you’ve written an article in LinkedIn a click also counts as a view because in their eyes you’re viewing the post and the article.
Rules for video are more complicated and ever-evolving as we get more used to video sharing. However, time spent on the video and screen-view are determining factors for most channels.
To simplify, just remember that a view essentially relates to an impression on a screen.
Clicks and Shares
These last two terms are much easier to gauge and relate to customer activity. When you share a piece of content or a webpage, it’s because you want a customer to click to view it and hopefully share it with their own network.
Let’s assume you’ve shared a blog article on social media to attract people to your website. You can measure the success of that post by looking at how many clicks it has received - in other words, how many times it has directed someone from their social channel to your website.
Shares are useful too, because the more times your post is shared, the more likely it is going to be clicked by others. A retweet on Twitter is the same as a share on another channel, and with over 330 million monthly users (according to Statista) that’s a whole lot of sharing potential!
Different social channels offer different interpretations of how engagement is measured. If this article has inspired you to do anything, we hope it’s to take another look how you measure your next marketing campaign and be sure you’re assessing the right data.
If you’re just setting up your first campaign, we recommend you start simple and always with your goal in mind. So, if it’s to attract people to your blog it can look as simple as something like – Facebook post views > Facebook post clicks > Blog page views – and so forth.
Don’t get lost in the metric maze, measure actions with your goals in mind.