Reporting KPIs and Glossary

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by Platform

Not sure where to start when it comes to analytics on social media? The actions you set out to measure will be largely determined by your goals. For example, trying to increase awareness of your unit? You may want to measure total impressions and reach to gauge progress. Want your channel to act as a one-to-one communication tool between your unit and your followers? See how much they’re opting into that conversation by measuring the volume of inbound messages.

Below, we outline common metrics of use on the major social media platforms. For definitions, see the glossary below.


  • Engagement Rate: Measures of how engaging a given piece of content is.
  • ROI: Metric varies based on goal; defined as desired actions divided by dollars spent. Desired actions can include engagements, link clicks, new followers, etc. A measure of how efficiently you’re spending on paid campaigns.
  • Followers & Follower Growth
  • Traffic to Owned Web Properties: The information given on social platforms as “clicks” is notoriously inaccurate. For more precise measurements, use Google Analytics.
  • Paid vs. Organic Reach: What percentage of your total reach is earned (organic) rather than paid for?
  • Shares: Often viewed as the highest form of social currency, shares represent a personal endorsement of the content.
  • Total Engagements & Average Engagements
  • Thruplays (the number of times a video was watched all the way through or for at least 15 seconds).


  • Engagement Rate
  • Followers & Follower Growth
  • Retweets
  • Average Response Time
  • Volume of Inbound Messages: Indicator of how many people are talking about and directly to your department/group/organization.


  • Engagement Rate
  • Impressions
  • Followers & Follower Growth
  • Comments
  • Total Engagements & Average Engagements


  • Clicks
  • Clickthrough Rate
  • Comments
  • Engagement Rate
  • Impressions
  • Organic Impressions
  • Reactions
  • Shares
  • Sponsored Impressions


  • Video views
  • Profile views
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Followers
  • Followers activity — This is an extremely helpful metric because not only does it show you the frequent times and exact dates in which your audience is active, but you can see the times your audience is the least active on TikTok.
  • Videos your followers watched — You can see videos that are popular among your followers. This is an important metric because you can see what your followers want to see, and can replicate that content in your own way.
  • Sounds your followers listened to — You can use this information to create the best TikTok strategy – you know what your followers want to see and their favorite songs, all you have to go is grab a phone and start filming.

For Video on Social:

  • Average Time Watched
  • Retention
  • Total Views (3 s or more)
  • Total Views (10 s or more)
  • Thruplays (the number of times a video was watched all the way through or for at least 15 seconds).
  • Percentage of Viewers with Sound On/Off

For Instagram Stories:

  • Impressions
  • Taps Forward
  • Taps Back: A high number of taps back is a better KPI, signaling that people liked the story enough to re-watch it or that the story almost came to an end, so they quickly tapped back and then tapped forward to watch it again.
  • Story Replies
  • Exits: Exits, or “swipes away” as Instagram itself calls the metric, tell you whether users watched your story to completion or if they exited before the story ended.
  • Retention Rate: Must be calculated manually; calculated as views on the last post in a story divided by views in the first post in a story.

For Snapchat Stories:

  • Views
  • Retention Rate: Must be calculated manually; calculated as views on the last post in a story divided by views in the first post in a story.
  • Screenshots

On Social Overall

  • Sentiment Percentages: Note that these percentages are a best estimate but are not completely accurate due to software’s inability to pick up on sarcasm or nuance. However, if the sentiment surrounding conversations of your unit is overwhelmingly negative, it’s an indicator that there are issues worth focusing on.
  • Top Performing Posts (and Post Types, i.e., Video, Photo, Text): Does photo outperform text posts? Do posts about student achievements beat out faculty accolades? Make note of the top-performing posts and type to source more engaging content in the future.

Reporting Glossary

Average Completion Percentage: Used for video, the average portion of the total video people watch.

Average Response Time: How long it takes on average for an organization to reply to comments and inquiries from their social media audience.

Clickthrough Rate (CTR): Expressed as a percentage, CTR represents the number of people who viewed a message or piece of content and then actually performed the action required such as clicking on the ad or link. The actual metric is calculated by comparing the number of clicks to impressions.

Engagement: Sum of likes/reactions, comments, and shares.

Engagement Rate: The percentage of people who saw your post and subsequently engaged with it.

Exits: In Instagram Stories, Exits represents when a user exits before completing watching the Instagram Story.

Fans/Followers: The total number of people in your various networks.

Impressions: The number of times a specific piece of content has been seen; can include multiple views by the same person.

Inbound Volume/Messages: The total number of incoming messages to a specific account or organization within a given time span; can include comments, @ mentions, Direct Messages, and replies.

Mentions: The number of times your organization or username has been mentioned by others.

  • Owned Mentions: The number of times your username has been directly mentioned by others or conversations taking place on your owned social accounts in the form of comments and replies.
  • Earned Mentions: A metric related to social listening, reflecting the number of organic mentions of your organization/brand, without tagging your social accounts.

Net Likes: Number of new likes minus the number of unlikes on your page.

Peak Live Viewers: The highest number of viewers at any given time on a Facebook Live stream.

Profile Visits: The number of people who have visited your profile.