Tools and Metrics You Need to Measure and Monitor Social Media Success |

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Tools and Metrics You Need to Measure and Monitor Social Media Success

Posted by on December 16, 2008


If you want to be able to track the success of a social media campaign (and for that matter any online marketing campaign) you have to benchmark and measure against something.  If you want to start a social media campaign tomorrow then you need to make sure you have the tools and metrics to measure, today.  You can’t just use a tool that gives you a snapshot of your overall social media presence, you need something with numbers that you can compare and benchmark against.  This is what corporations and executives are looking for.

Keep in mind that there plenty of other things to measure that don’t have a specific quantifiable number, however the focus of this post is just on quantifiable metrics and the tools to measure those metrics.

First thing’s first, outline all of your goals and expectations and make sure you understand them.  Once you have that down you can open up an excel spreadsheet and start benchmarking.  I want to make this THE resource for tools on social media measurement so if you contribute in the comments section I will most likely add your suggestion to the main post.

Please structure your comment in the way I have outline below, give me the tool you are going to use and the metrics that you should measure with that tool.

Let’s get right into the tools we need to measure social media success, shall we?

The Tool

Google Analytics

This is an absolute must.  Google analytics will allow you to track your traffic levels (among other things) and will allow to identify where you traffic is coming from.

What you should measure

  • overall traffic increases
  • where your traffic is coming from, i.e. digg, twitter, etc.
  • most trafficked keyterms or phrases (if this is something you are interested in)

The Tool


Feed burner allows you (and your visitors) to subscibe to your blog via RSS or email.

What you should measure

  • RSS subscribers

  • Email subscribers

The Tool

Blog comments

Pretty self explanatory, these are just the comments/feedback users leave on your site

What you should measure

  • Amount of comments (don’t count spam or non-quality comments)

The Tool

Twitter Search / Tweetbeep

Twitter search allows you to search for keywords or phrases in real time, tweetbeep sends you alerts when someone mentions your particular keyword/phrase/product/etc.

What you should measure

  • How many times your product/company/article/etc. is mentioned, again track this over time so that you can see progress.

The Tool

Google Alerts

Similar to tweetbeep mentioned above, Google alerts gives you email notifications when someone mentions a particular keyword or phrases.   Here is how to use google alerts.

What you should measure

  • How many times your product/company/etc. is mentioned daily, weekly, monthly.  Yes, you also trend this over time to see progress.

The Tool

Yahoo Site Explorer

Yahoo site explorer is a tool created by Yahoo that allows you to track links.

What you should measure

  • The amount of incoming links you receive over time.   This needs to be trended and again you can make correlations between social media efforts and the amount of incoming links to your site.
  • Make sure you exclude your domain from the results (you can select this)

The Tool


Backtype allows you to search comments across the net for particular mentions/keywords.  You can also set up an alert so that you are notified everytime uses your target word in a comment.

What you should measure

  • How many times your company/product is mentioned online in comments (can also use Google Alerts to help)

  • Sentiment of the comment; negative, positive, neutral

The Tool


Tweetburner allows you to track how many times people click on the links you share via twitter.

What you should measure

  • How many times people are clicking on the links you send out via twitter
  • Keep in mind most popular categories/types of links people click on the most
  • Keep in mind overall how active your twitter followers are with your content

The Tool


Delicious is bookmarking utility that let’s you share, organize, and save your bookmarks across the web

What you should measure

  • How many times people bookmark your content, you can see this by searching for keywords/phrases that will then return relevant bookmarks, trend overtime.

The Tool

Keyword rank checker

Checks rankings for a domain for a particular set of keywords or phrases.  I didn’t recommend a specific tool because there are too many out there,  just google “free keyword rank checker.”  If you’re using firefox you can use the keyword ranking extension, it does a pretty good job.

What you should measure

Progress and rankings for your particular keywords or phrases.  I would recommend checking this bi weekly or even monthly.

There are a lot of other tools out there but the ones I have outlined above should cover you across very channels.  Keep in mind there are a lot of other things you need to consider as a part of social media success that aren’t as easy to measure:

  • number of leads
  • knowledge you gain from interacting with your users that can influence product/marketing
  • positive brand image

Have another tool and metric to measure?  Let me know and I will include it.  Did you find this post valuable?

Thanks for reading!

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  • David Alston

    Hey there Jacob, I think @tweetrich may have already tweeted you on this but if you'd like to take a look at a Radian6 demo in context of this post feel free to let us know. Many companies and agencies are using us for monitoring, measurement and engagement and we'd love your feedback on it. Cheers. David

  • David Alston

    Hey there Jacob, I think @tweetrich may have already tweeted you on this but if you'd like to take a look at a Radian6 demo in context of this post feel free to let us know. Many companies and agencies are using us for monitoring, measurement and engagement and we'd love your feedback on it. Cheers. David

  • jimmacleod

    Jacob, great list. Would you consider Disqus as another tool that would make the list?

    • jacobmorgan

      not really, disqus doesn't have measurable metrics to track. the goal of this post was to target measurable things you can track and benchmark against. for now disqus is a community comment plugin :)

      thanks for the comment!

  • Todd

    This list is OK, but it's my opinion it's too top heavy with dependencies on third parties ( some of which don't allow you to export your data! )

    Complimentary to GA you should be using one of the mouse click heat maps ( GA's is really lame ). Again, if you can, install one of the more robust heat maps on your server, stay away from leaving your data to a third party.

    Speaking of too much reliance on third parties, Tweet Burner is the right idea, wrong execution. Bitly does URLs in Tweets tracking better when combined with this Grease Monkey script:

    • jacobmorgan

      do you have a quantifiable metric that the heatmap can measure? this is only quantifiable data here. as i mentioned above if you format your response in terms of the tool and specifically what you need to measure then i will be happy to include it. but saying something is better isn't much help :)

  • Keith Burtis

    Great Post, thank you for gathering all of this information into a succinct post. I am the community manager for Best Buy Remix an open API proect for Best Buy. I guess the big question i have is, does all this have to be done individually or by hand? Is there a way I can push this statistical data into on or offline software that will collate all of this information into hard copy reports that can be passed on and shared?

    The tools are great and many i have been using for a really long time, but to colate all the data into something substantial is where I struggle.

    So I guess the thing that I'd add is that the tools are there, but you need to find a way to take that tracked information and turn it into bottom line metrics. Also, which metrics are important to you as a company.

    Great Post
    -Keith @BestBuyRemix

  • Kevin Pedraja

    What I'd really like to see is a tool that measure the reach of blogs in which you are mentioned. Technorati and Alexa offer really vague ideas like “authority” but not real page views. It's almost impossible to determine how many actual readers a particular blog has and, by extension, to aggregate readership data across multiple blogs.

    • Adam Coomes

      Kevin, what you mentioned is exactly the type of information that Social Radar can provide.

      • jacobmorgan

        hey adam, thanks for sharing that. is it currently in closed beta? id love to try it out.
        thanks for stopping by

  • Andrea Hill (afhill)

    Good post – I use everything except tweetburner (I use instead)

  • NickMendoza

    Measuring engagement is a difficult task and I'm glad to see that this post is taking on the challenge. While the numbers will always be important to corporate execs, it's key for marketers to start emphasizing success in terms of conversation – how many replies, retweets or regular mentions are we getting? The various alert and link tracking tools you mentioned are all good and should be used to evaluate brand buzz. One tool that I've found very helpful is filtrbox (I have no affiliation with this company, I just use it daily).

    The Tool
    “Never miss the conversation – Get coverage for mainstream news, blogs, twitter and Friendfeed all in one place.”

    What you should measure
    - Track number of mentions per day or a specific time period across various social media sites and blogs.
    - Monitor trends, frequently discussed topics and competitive mentions.
    - Manage your reputation –> What's the ROI of preventing a crisis?

    Radian6, which David mentions, provides similar tools and analytics. Whichever service is used, marketers should be actively monitoring; and most importantly, participating in these conversations. This is one metric that's often overlooked – how many times did the brand marketer comment or initiate a discussion?

  • Connie Bensen

    Keith has a valid question. And that's what makes professional tools like Techrigy SM2 & Radian6 valuable. It's possible to do a mashup of all those tools, but it's much easier to use a tool like Techrigy SM2 that monitors, measures & allows you to analyze the data.

    We have Techrigy SM2 and a Freemium version of it

  • Sarah Haeger


    Great post, thanks! I've see no mention of Technorati, but have found this useful in measuring blog readership. I'm curious about your thoughts on Technorati as a measurement tool…

    • jacobmorgan

      to be honest i dont really use technorati at all, i have my own analytics and analytics i get from my site, most people use technorati for ego stuff :)

  • Taylor Norrish

    Some great tools here, thanks for the list.

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  • Melissa Erb

    Thank you for this post. You have shared a lot of really helpful on-line tools for measuring social media. I recently blogged about the same subject. Check it out at
    Look forward to reading more of your posts! I just subscribed to your RSS feed!
    -Melissa Erb

  • Melissa Erb

    Thank you for this post. You have shared a lot of really helpful on-line tools for measuring social media. I recently blogged about the same subject. Check it out at
    Look forward to reading more of your posts! I just subscribed to your RSS feed!
    -Melissa Erb

  • Monitor LCD 17

    Hey there Jacob, I believe @tweetrich may have already tweeted you on this yet if you'd like to take a look at a Radian6 test within context of this publish feel free to contact us. Many companies and agencies are using people for monitoring, measurement and engagement and i'd adore the feedback on it. Kind regards. David

  • Outsourcing Developer

    Great job.. this a helpful SEO tools.. I was bookmark your post for my guide

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