Measuring Success: Qualitative and Quantitative

One of the misconceptions about social media is that you can’t measure the results of your efforts. The overall feeling is that when you tweet, send a Facebook message, or post to a blog, there is no way to know if it was “worth it.”

There are lots of tools available to help you measure the number of followers you have, number of retweets, who clicked on what link, etc. You can find a list of some of them here, via Mashable. But no matter how many graphs, charts and spreadsheets you are able to create, it’s up to you to define what “worth it” means.

So what does success mean to you? What’s “worth it” and what isn’t? It’s important to come to your own conclusion as you develop your social media strategy. And to measure your success, the data you gather should be both qualitative and quantitative. Here are some examples of the types of things you can use as metrics:


  • Are you reaching audiences you never reached before?
  • Are you being talked about in a positive light?
  • Are you engaged in meaningful conversations?


  • Traffic
  • Number of RTs (re-tweets)
  • Number of conversations/threads
  • Number of followers/fans
  • Number of click-throughs
  • Number of subscribers

Measurements should be comprehensive and encompass many aspects of communication and engagement, not only basic statistics.

[Note: No Adaptivate post during the week of Thanksgiving, but I’ll be back the following week. Have a nice holiday.]


3 Responses to Measuring Success: Qualitative and Quantitative

  1. Pingback: links for 2009-11-17 « innovations in higher education

  2. I agree–it’s amazingly easy to measure social media interactions, especially compared to traditional media tools. The qualitative results of social media activities offer a much richer volume of feedback as well. Great post!

    • Elizabeth Allen says:

      Thank you Davina – you raise an interesting point, which is that it’s easy to measure social media interactions when compared with traditional media tool. Feedback is much more transparent now, and we are privy to comments and conversations we may have never heard before.

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