What Should We be Monitoring with Social Data?

In the marketing and PR industry, it’s easy to talk about what we should or shouldn’t be monitoring with our social listening. One person’s solution is another person’s AVEs. And it’s very easy to criticise the metrics that are out there.

In a matter of minutes, I can find people highlighting the problems with AVEs (Advertising Value Equivalency), EMV (Earned Media Value), and there’s always a debate over whether engagement is valuable or vanity.

There’s so much negativity out there. But few answers. If these aren’t the metrics we should be monitoring, what are? What is the Holy Grail of metrics to monitor?

The Metrics that Count

That’s the idea I had in mind when I created my new “Metrics to monitor to define success” eBook. Forget the don’ts, and focus more on the dos. Define the numbers that should matter.

Of course, that’s not a task you can take on alone. I’m no Indiana Jones (I’m barely even a Monty Python). So I looked to some of the world’s best analytics experts, to help define exactly what you should be monitoring to define your results. I’ve pulled a few of my favourite quotes below, but you’ll have to read the full report to see them all (I know. I’m a tease).


No man is an island. And no monitoring should be either. Even when looking at the simplest metrics, you have to consider them as part of your whole.

An engagement rate of 1,000 may sound good. And it is, if your typical post gains 100. But if the industry benchmark is 10,000, then you’ve got issues.

You have to constantly assess your position. Against yourself, and against your competitors. The figures themselves aren’t as important, as to how they fluctuate. Jamal Al Mawed of Gambit Communications explains it best:


It’s way too easy to overlook our audience when it comes to content. You get so focused on the message you want to get out, that you forget who you’re talking too.

Understanding your audience is essential in shaping your content strategy, and in growing your brand voice. It’s also key to ensuring you minimise the risk involved in your strategy. Content creation can be costly, and to maximise your ROI, you have to ensure it is shaped towards just what your audience wants to hear. Sarah Curtis of Pop Communications has more:

Conversational Data Topics

Sometimes the data we want to monitor aren’t even numbers at all. But the topics. Social media is all about conversations. People building communities, sharing ideas, and talking about the things that really matter to them.

This information can help build behavioural insights – allowing us to understand what motivates people to interact online. And the drivers that cause these casual viewers to adapt into true brand consumers. The Social Intelligence Labs very own Dr Jillian Ney explains why this matters:

Even More Metrics

That’s just a flavour of what’s covered in the full report. And I know it won’t please everyone. That’s the thing with monitoring. We’re all different, and what matters to you might not matter to me.

But it’s a start. It may not be the Holy Grail just yet, but at least we’re heading in the right direction (and avoiding the booby traps on the way). Download it now, or if there’s anything we’ve missed, drop me a tweet. I’d love to know more about the metrics that matter to you.


Photo by George Pagan III on Unsplash

Find out more about Talkwalker’s social listening solutions on The Social Intelligence Marketplace

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Dan Seavers
Dan Seavers
Dan is part of the content team at Talkwalker. With an interest in social analytics and bad puns, he enjoys writing about a variety of marketing topics. More content by

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