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featured Reach vs Impressions Best Practice Twitter Analysis Youtube Analytics Instagram Strategy Social Media Reporting

How custom metrics can fuel your social media reporting

by Claire Halligan on August 23, 2016

Every applied online marketing strategy for any business or agency is different. Accordingly, there is no one-size-fits-all-approach to measure the success of campaigns. Social media analytics can greatly benefit your performance evaluation and reporting. One of the central features that quintly offers to all social media marketers is its customizability. With custom metrics you can adjust your measurement efforts in a way that perfectly fits your goals. To give you a better idea of all the possibilities at hand, we created this guide towards creating your first custom metric. Let’s see how it works!

What are custom metrics and why are they important?

A metric itself shows the processed data which is gathered from the API of a given social network. It presents the data either as a table or in a visualized form like line charts. Besides displaying any KPI such as the reach on Facebook or the number of own tweets on Twitter, metrics can also show calculations like an interaction rate. Each of the 250+ metrics that we offer is based on some lines of code which we have dubbed the quintly Query Language (QQL). It is grounded upon SQL and is fully customizable. This is how quintly offers almost limitless flexibility for your social media performance measurement. There are two ways on how to approach the customization of metrics in quintly. You can either choose any pre-made metric that is included in the tool and change it according to what you need or you can create a completely new metric from scratch. But what can you actually adjust?

Your options are virtually limitless. Here are just a few:

  • Add additional columns to a table to see more info at a glance
  • Change the visualization and choose from 23 different options
  • Choose which data from each network you want to display
  • Create your own calculations and ratios

When the vast number of metrics that quintly offers won’t ideally measure your personal goals, all these custom options will help you create a fitting social media report. This will bring you much closer to presenting the numbers your superiors want to see. In case you work for an agency, you will be able to give your clients exactly what they ask for by using customized metrics. This option will enable you to adjust the performance evaluation of any social media strategy and achieve the best and most useful results. Now you know the idea behind custom metrics, so let’s see some examples.

Examples of custom metrics

To give you a better idea about what can be done with custom metrics, we will now present some examples that came up in the daily routine of our analysts.

Own Tweets with Total Interactions Table Chart
First off we want to start with a customization of an existing table chart. One of our default metrics for measuring your own tweets is the Own and Retweeted Tweets Table. You can see a screenshot below. Please notice how it displays the Interaction Rate (I-Rate) on the far right column. The rate is the average number of retweets, favorites and replies per own tweet divided by the number of followers. However, for our 2016 US elections analyses we wanted to display the number of total interactions instead of the interaction rate in order to directly see the absolute number. We decided to do that because we wanted to create an analysis that is as easy to grasp as possible. While the Interaction Rate has the big advantage that it is ready for a benchmark between Twitter profiles of a different size, it might not be so easy to grasp for analytics newbies at first glance. You can see the original and the customized metric below, as well as some code snippets that show you where we did the small adjustment.

Default and customized metric

custom metrics

Original QQL code

qql Code

Customized QQL code

custom metrics

Total Interactions Bar Chart

In our second example we will provide another case where we have customized an existing metric. Just like the first metric, we created this one for our monthly 2016 US elections analysis. The original metric is the Interaction Rate line chart, in this case for Facebook. We wanted to achieve a bar chart that compares the total number of interactions in one month between the presidential candidates Trump and Clinton. The reason why we wanted to show absolute numbers is the same as for the first customized metric we presented above. In order to change the metric according to our goal, we had to do two things: adjust the chart type and the data that is being displayed. For changing the type, you don’t even have to touch the code but it can be changed with a drop down menu as you can see below. What we did afterwards was to change the interaction rate calculation to the simple sum of retweets, replies and favorites. In order to show the metric the way we want, its data time frame has to be set to monthly. You can see the original metric below on the left and the customized metric on the right. The code snippets show where we did the small adjustments.

Default and customized metric

interaction rate

Original QQL code

original qql code

Customized QQL code

custom metrics

Twitter Hashtag Detection with Interactions

Using hashtags for campaigns, products and events has become a routine in social media marketing. Accordingly, the evaluation of the success of individual hashtags can greatly benefit the optimization of their usage. The Twitter Hashtag Detection with Interactions custom metric has been designed from scratch to enable insightful monitoring capabilities. The table chart includes the hashtags used by the selected Twitter profiles and also shows how many times they have been used in tweets, liked and retweeted. It also shows the total number of interactions each hashtag received. By looking at these statistics, it is easy to gather insights of how many times you and your competitors used an individual hashtag. By regarding the number of likes and retweets, you can draw a first conclusion about how popular the hashtag was. For example, these insights can give you a worthwhile hint on which hashtags to use more and it might also help you discover the strategies of your competitors. Besides the metric, you can also find the QQL code below. Please note that this metric also needs some more adjustments within the config. If you are interested in this metric, just let us know and we will help you set it up!

Custom metric

twitter hashtag detection

QQL code

custom metrics

Adding a custom metric to a dashboard

It is very often that our clients have specific needs for their analysis so this is why we offer custom metrics on all of our packages. If you are new to our tool and would like to redefine one of our default metrics, all you need to do is reach out to our support team. However if you are familiar with SQL you might want to try it yourself using our own QQL (quintly Query Language). Our support team will need to know a few details depending on what visualization it is or if you want it on post or page level. For example on a bar chart we need to know the column names on Y axis and X axis but they will ask you for these details at the time. We want to find the best solution for your needs. After our team of engineers created your requested custom metric you need to complete a few steps of your own. Not to worry, you can find out below what to do.

You might have a few dashboards for different reports so it would be best to think about where the custom metric would make most sense (or you can add the metric to all dashboards). Once you get confirmation from the support team that your metric has been created go and select the correct dashboard. The process is simple > click add widget > scroll down to the last symbol on the left-hand side > here you can find the new custom metric > click add to dashboard.

adding new widget


Finished! You will immediately see the widget in the dashboard. The widget will always be available in this section and also other users of the account can add the widget to their dashboards. Can’t wait to create your own metrics? Start a 14 day free trial now!

Do you have any comments or questions? We are just one tweet away! If you want to integrate content marketing KPIs in your strategy, head over to our free social media analytics course in our academy.

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