Social Media has long been, and will continue to be, shrouded by a blanket of uncertainty when reporting. There are so many metrics that one can report on, that an analysis of a campaign can lose its focus. In recent years, more and more metrics have been added to a report and clients hear the familiar, ‘this is the most important part of our report’.

Furthermore, different clients / brands want different metrics. Many will look at their bottom line, whereas some people will look at how the brand interacts with its customers. There’s fast becoming too many prospective metrics to list… Likes, sentiment, engagement, impressions, followers, reach, conversions, referrals to a site… and many more.

The latest ingredient to be added to the analytics stew comes from Twitter. Let me start by saying, it’s a bit of a game changer. Twitter’s latest update lets users see how many people actually saw their Tweets. You can then drill down and see where they’re from, their interests and more. The tool has actually been around for close to 3 months for advertisers on the platform, but it’s now been rolled out to all.

The tool, found at allows both individual users and brands to really hone in on their impact across the channel. Other metrics have been integrated into the system such as Retweets and Favourites, but with the added ability of seeing how many saw the Tweet, a truer engagement rate can now be determined.

A similar thing happened with Facebook last year and the impact it had on the industry was somewhat overlooked. Facebook Pages began to show reach (in real time) underneath each post on a business Page.  This meant engagement rates could be worked out based on how many people saw the post, as opposed to how many people simply liked the Page in general.

I think my colleagues are bored of me using this analogy, but here goes. Imagine I did a presentation in our boardroom to 10 people. My 40 other colleagues can’t make it, as they have meetings / on holiday / don’t want to sit through one of my presentations. After the presentation, if I asked all 50 members of staff if they ‘liked’ it, only a maximum of 10 could engage – the 10 that sat through it. If all 10 said they ‘liked’ it, out of the group of 50, my presentation would receive an engagement rate of 20%. But this is incorrect, only the people that saw it can engage. If I just asked the 10 viewers (people my presentation ‘reached’) and they all liked it, the engagement rate would be 100%. *

Engagement rates should always be calculated by the number of people that engaged with the post with the number of people that actually saw it. Facebook’s much-unnoticed update and Twitter’s much publicized and praised update are big things to happen to Social Media.

* Wishful thinking.