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How much of your audience have you lost?

One of the blind spots many marketers have is focusing solely on growth. Questions such as, “How many followers do we have?” and “How many leads did we land?” obscure our ability to see what we’re losing.

What is churn rate?

Churn rate is an important concept in both marketing and sales; simply defined, it’s how fast you lose your existing X, where X can be revenue, audience, sales, leads, etc.

If we don’t measure churn, if we don’t track who we’ve lost, we will forever find ourselves on the growth treadmill, trying to replace leads, customers, and revenue faster than we lose it.

If we don’t measure churn, we will expend far more time and effort winning new business rather than retaining the business we have.

How often do you measure your audience churn? Let’s look at a few examples of how to measure social media churn, how quickly we lose our existing audience.

How to Measure Social Media Churn Rate: Facebook

Facebook provides a look at churn right out of the box. In Page Insights, choose Likes, then scroll down to Net Likes:

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From this chart, we’re able to see how fast we lose our existing audience.

How to Measure Social Media Churn Rate: Twitter

Twitter used to provide built-in churn metrics, but when they revamped their analytics a while back, they eliminated the capability. To assess churn, we must now rely on third-party tools such as Sysomos MAP or Moz FollowerWonk.

What you’ll need to do is download a list of followers from a third party tool on a regular basis, and then use the text comparison tool of your choice (I use Perl on a Mac) to compare the previous file to the current file.

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How many lines are in file 1 (previous day, week, month, etc.) that are gone from file 2 (current day, week, month, etc.)?

How to Measure Social Media Churn Rate: LinkedIn

Currently, there is no way to measure social media churn on LinkedIn for a brand page. Its analytics are terrible. For an individual, you can download your connections and perform the same text file analysis as Twitter.

How to Measure Social Media Churn Rate: Instagram

For Instagram, you’ll need to use a third-party tool as well, such as MagiMetrics.

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Download your followers on a regular, frequent basis, then measure who is in the former list that isn’t in your current list, the same as Twitter.

Where You Can’t Measure Churn Rate

Currently, these networks do not support measurement at a granular, follower-based level:

  • LinkedIn for businesses
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest

What To Do With the Churn Rate

For those networks where churn is measurable, the next question is, what do we do with the data?

Take a look at the data. See who you’re losing. Are the people leaving your audience your core customer base, or a bunch of spam robots? (probably a bit of both) For those who are important to you, determine if they interact with you in other places, such as your email newsletter. If you have the ability to contact them, ask them why they left and what you could do to win them back.

As we know when it comes to sales and recruiting, it’s easier to retain what we have than to win something new. Invest time and effort into measuring your social media churn to determine how you can best serve your current audience.


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