Audience, Engagement & Metrics


As the world of social media continues to evolve, the audience to which social media reaches continues to expand. Today’s media audiences are completely different from they were ten, or even five, years ago. Jay Rosen wrote in his article, “The People Formerly Known as the Audience“, “The people formerly known as the audience are those who were on the receiving end of a media system that ran one way, in a broadcasting pattern…”

The current media audience is what Rosen refers to as an “active audience”, composed of people who not only engage with journalists and media professionals, but also contribute to the world of news.


Media audiences have created an importance for institutions and organizations to track their engagement, often using metric tools. Engagement and metrics work hand-in-hand, as frequent engagement with the outside world will increase metrics. In the article “How Journalists Can Measure Engagement“, author Meena Thiruvengadam suggests using live social media events, such as tweet ups, to get to know an audience. She stresses that “engagement isn’t just about quantity, it’s also about quality”.


Luke Chitwood outlines “5 Social Media Metrics that Your Business Should be Tracking“: reach, engagement, acquisition, conversion, and activity.

  • Reach allows you to evaluate marketing efforts over time
  • Engagement allows you to see how effective your social media efforts are within your audience
  • Acquisition records visitor frequency rate and divides visitors into categories for new and returning visitors. New visitors confirm an institutions reach and audience metrics accurately and depict an organization’s meaningful growth. Return visitors show the depth of engagement and strength of your business’ social networks.
  • Conversion allows a business or institution to track total “clicks” and shows how and where people are directed to your website or social media outlets.
  • Activity records a business’ general web presence and social media interactivity


Metrics, engagement and audience seem to go hand-in-hand. Audience is an important representation of reach, which is an important part of engagement and activity. Social media outlets allow for engagement within an audience and often times they help track metrics, too. The internet and social media continue to change and shape the world, both within and outside of the specific realms of professional communication and journalism. It never ceases to amaze me how these things become so far intertwined in everyday life, whether people (the audience) like it or not.


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