Organizations start measuring social media metrics

It's far from an overstatement to say that most nonprofit organizations are utilizing social media nowadays. In fact, according to the latest M+R "2014 Benchmarks Study," nonprofits' Facebook and Twitter audiences grew by 37 and 46 percent, respectively, in 2013, outpacing email increases during the same time period by more than 20 percent.

The number of channels nonprofits are using to engage with donors is also increasing. There are more online networks now than ever before, which means that charities are utilizing more channels than they have in recent memory. Social media can act as one of the best online fundraising tools for a nonprofit, and now that organizations are utilizing its reach on a more frequent basis, they're beginning to measure certain metrics, recent research suggests.

Brands use social to gauge content reach
According to Ipsos OTX and the Association of National Advertisers' "Social Media Content Development Survey," the most popular platforms nonprofits are using for content promotion are Facebook and Twitter, with 97 and 93 percent of charities using the networks, respectively. YouTube's video sharing capabilities aren't far behind, as 89 percent of charities are using the Google-owned social network. Another 69 percent of charities are using LinkedIn to connect with potential donors, and Pinterest and Instagram are also growing in popularity at 45 and 41 percent, respectively.

General posts are the most popular social media content that brands in the survey produced, with 96 percent of  organizations sharing content through a simple update to their accounts. Eighty-seven percent of brands produced videos, while another 84 percent produced product or brand information, the study found.

Content is important for any nonprofit, particularly for branding purposes. Yet, without a proper online strategy, charities would be hard-pressed to understand the effectiveness of the information they put out - which is why 8 in 10 brands measure the effectiveness of their content, according to the ANA/Ipsos OTX study. Facebook Likes was the most popular metric used, with 89 percent of brands using that to gauge the potency of their content. Another 87 percent of brands reported click-through rates a highly-used metric, while 81 percent of organizations on Twitter said retweets were something they kept a close eye on.

Fifty-two percent of brands measured conversion volume, which is an important statistic for nonprofits that accept online donations.

Brands using metrics to gauge overall success
A different study conducted by Contently found more than 65 percent of brands surveyed said they used soft metrics such as Likes as a barometer for overall digital marketing success. Another 69 percent of organizations said page views and unique visitors were the most helpful in determining whether or not an online advertising campaign was successful or not.

Conversely, it's become evident that successful organizations are using social media metrics to gauge their success. Just 7 percent of Contently respondents reported that they weren't measuring the potency of their content in any way. 

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