Social Media Benchmarking: What Should You Be Aiming For?

How to benchmark your social media activity and gauge the non-monetary return from your social media investment? Read on to find out.
Sandra Busch
June 30, 2020 - 3 min. read

Analyzing your social media performance can be a complicated process. And then there’s the additional challenge of interpreting the results. We’ll tell you this much: numbers mean nothing without context.

What’s the solution, you ask?


Benchmarking is a way of comparing your performance, side-by-side, against a meaningful standard. Certain social media goals (say, for example, brand awareness) cannot be readily quantified with a monetary value. In such cases, benchmarking can be used to gauge the non-monetary ‘return’ you are receiving from your social media investment.

Here are three benchmarking approaches that can add context to your social metrics.

1. Aspirational Benchmarking

Aspirational benchmarking is all about thinking big. With this approach, you’ll want to look at metrics from industry leaders or companies that you deem highly admirable (think Fortune 500 or Inc 5000). Alternatively, you could focus on smaller companies that you find particularly impressive, such as those on the Forbes Small Giants list.

Where can you find social media metrics for these companies? Fortunately, there are numerous studies that use data from top organizations, providing a glimpse into their performance stats. Google Scholar is a great way to keep up with the latest studies, which can aid in your benchmarking efforts.

2. Earned Benchmarking

This second method is specifically focused on paid promotion. If you had previously performed a social media audit, you would know which are your best-performing ad campaigns and which aren’t. Once you identify your strongest campaigns, you can then use those metrics as benchmarks going forward.

For example, suppose your audit revealed that your top-performing Facebook campaign received a 3% CTR—but your average CTR for the channel is 0.7%. In this scenario, we could set a goal to bring the average CTR (overall) closer to 3%. Or, conversely, suppose you’re very satisfied with your overall CTR, which sits at 2%. You could then set 2% as the standard CTR you wish to maintain as you scale your budgets.

3. Competitive Benchmarking

This approach is similar to aspirational benchmarking in that you’ll be comparing yourself to other companies (or influencers). The difference here is that you’ll want to select the most direct competitors within your niche. You probably already know your main competitors off the top of your head. If not, you can use tools like BuzzSumo Influencer Search to scout for top names within your vertical.

Facebook Insights makes it easy to pull high-level data on other business pages. With the ‘Pages to Watch’ feature, you can see another page’s weekly engagement stats, new page likes, and other metrics at a glance. On other platforms (like Twitter and Instagram), you can manually check your competitors’ follower counts, likes, and comments to get a read on their engagement levels.

These three benchmarking techniques will help you frame your social media performance stats within a meaningful context. There’s no need to choose just one approach. Rather, you can implement all three—which will provide you different perspectives.

And, once you’ve established your benchmarks, you’ll have a clearer understanding of both where you stand and where you’d like to be.

Next steps

Now that you know how to benchmark your social media activity and gauge the non-monetary return from your social media investment, maybe it’s time we talk about how to calculate the monetary return from your social media efforts.

That’s right, I said monetary return. Money. Value. See where I am getting at?

In the end, all that effort you put into social media needs to be quantified and calculated in dollar value, right? So, to do that, you need to calculate the return-on-investment from your social channels.

To put it into simple words, you need to SHOW YOUR BOSS THE MONEYYY!


So, to answer the question of monetary return from social and how to calculate it, you’re going to have to get your hands on this super cool and free eBook on social media ROI we recently launched.

The How to measure your Social Media ROI is for marketers, just like you, looking to demonstrate the value of social media marketing to your company. It’s full of examples and inspiration so you can prove the worth of your social media efforts. Download the eBook today and discover how calculating social media ROI helps in quantifying the value of your social efforts.