Social Media Analytics: The Complete Guide
Almost every business, whether big or small, is on social media these days. But not all are using social media analytics tools to measure and optimize their campaigns. That’s what can be the defining factor in the success of your social media strategy.
If you’re not one of those businesses that use social media analytics, you’re missing out on a lot of valuable insights that could help improve your marketing efforts.
In this article, we’ll discuss what social media analytics is and why it is so important for your business. We’ll also cover the different types of data that can be found in social media analytics reports, and how to use that data to make informed decisions about your marketing campaigns.
Table of Contents
What Is Social Media Analytics?
Simply put, social media analytics is the process of measuring and analyzing data from social media campaigns in order to improve your campaign performance. You can use specialized software like Sprout Social with analytics tools to understand the effectiveness of your social media campaign.
Here are some of the key metrics that you would need to measure to figure out if your campaign is working well or not:
- Share of Voice
… and others
Which Key Metrics Should You Track Via Social Media Analytics Tools?
Till now, we’ve discussed key metrics you should track in order to gauge the performance of your campaigns. In this section, let’s talk about why these metrics are important and how social media analytics tools can help you track them.
1. Brand Mentions
If you’re not tracking mentions of your brand on social media, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to learn what people are saying about you.
Social media analytics tools can help you track not just how many people are talking about your brand, but also what they’re saying. This information can help you improve your marketing efforts and create better marketing campaigns in the future.
2. Engagement Rate
Social media analytics tools help you track your engagement rate on different social media platforms. This information is important to help you understand how well your content is performing and whether people are interacting with it.
When you track engagement, you can see which posts are getting the most likes, shares, and comments. This information can help you determine what content is resonating with your audience.
3. Visual Mentions
Social media analytics tools are essential for tracking visual mentions. By identifying logos and branded photos, these tools help you track how your brand is being mentioned online. This information can be used to improve your marketing strategy and increase your brand awareness.
By tracking visual mentions, you can see which topics are being talked about the most. You can also see which images are being shared the most, and which brands are being featured the most. This information can help you determine what content to create and share in order to increase brand awareness.
Additionally, social media analytics tools can help you measure the impact of your branding efforts. By tracking the number of times your logo is being shared, you can get a sense of how well your branding efforts are paying off.
When a piece of content goes viral, it’s an exhilarating feeling. You know that you’ve created something that people are talking about and sharing with their friends.
But how do you know when your content goes viral? And more importantly, how can you track and measure its virality?
This is where social media analytics tools come in. These tools allow you to track how your content is performing on social media, and gauge its virality. This information can help you to better understand what content is resonating with your audience, and adjust your content strategy accordingly.
When you look at virality on social media analytics tools, you can figure out which posts are being shared and how quickly they are being circulated. Here is an example of a virality map from a social media analytics tool:
Image via Talkwalker
Sentiment tracking is becoming an increasingly important part of social media analytics. By monitoring the tone of your social media presence, you can get a sense of how your customers and followers feel about your company or brand. This information can help make decisions about marketing and product development.
Social media analytics tools can help you track sentiment by analyzing data from various social media platforms. They can identify positive and negative keywords, phrases, and hashtags, as well as the overall sentiment of a conversation.
This information can help you to better understand what people are saying about your company online and to respond quickly to any negative feedback.
Overall, sentiment tracking via social media analytics can give you a more accurate view of how people feel about your business.
6. Share of Voice
By tracking the share of voice, you can see how much discussion your brand is generating compared to your competitors. This information can help you identify where your strengths and weaknesses lie and make strategic adjustments accordingly.
In fact, advanced analytics tools allow you to track not only how much conversation your brand is generating, but also what that conversation looks like. For instance, this is the Share of Voice in the airline industry:
Image via Search Engine Journal
You can also see which platforms are most used for discussing your brand, as well as which topics are being talked about most. This information can be crucial in shaping your social media strategy moving forward.
Of course, there are many other key metrics that you can track, but we’ve covered the main ones in this section. Next, let’s talk about the benefits of using social media analytics.
Why Should You Use Social Media Analytics?
If you are still on the fence about using social media analytics for your business, here are some reasons you should consider it:
1. You Can Evaluate Your Campaign Performance
If you want to take your marketing strategy to the next level, analyzing your current campaign performance is necessary. By tracking your engagement, impressions, and other important metrics, you can identify which aspects of your campaign need improvement.
For example, if you notice that your engagement rate is low on a particular post, you might want to reconsider the type of content you’re posting or revise your targeting strategy.
2. You Can Analyze Your Audience
Social media analytics can help you analyze your audience. With the help of advanced social media analytics tools, you can check out your most engaged users on each social platform.
This information can help you understand what content is most popular with your audience and what type of sentiment resonates with them. You can also use social media analytics to identify your most valuable followers who have large fanbases.
In addition to this, analyzing their age groups, genders, locations, and other key metrics can help you tailor your content in a better way.
3. You Can Understand Customer Preferences
Another valuable benefit of social media analytics is that it can help you understand your customers better. By analyzing data about who’s engaging with your content and what they’re saying about it, you can get a better idea of what kind of things your customers are interested in.
This information can be used to create more relevant and effective marketing campaigns. In fact, you will be able to spot important trends and prevent any potential PR crises. Overall, social media analytics is great to figure out what your customers need and like.
4. You Can Analyze Platform Engagement
Social media analytics gives you in-depth insights into the platforms that give you the best result. This isn’t always easy to see on the surface, which is why data-driven insights are so important.
For example, you might get 200 likes on a Facebook page post and just 50 likes on an IG post, but your Instagram audience is spending more.
Knowing your best social network can help you decide where to allocate your budget and spend more of your time on strategy. It also helps you deliver a better customer experience to a captive, engaged audience.
5. You Can Identify the Best Time to Post
Social media analytics can help you determine the best times to post content on your social media accounts. This information is based on engagement and conversions, which means that you can leverage this data to help you plan your posts and ensure that they reach the most people possible.
Once you have determined the best times to post, you can use automation to help you stay on schedule. Automation will make sure that your posts go out at the right times, so you never miss an opportunity to connect with your audience. Social media analytics can help you determine the best times to post content on all your social media accounts.
6. You Can Track Your Online Presence
Social listening is the process of tracking and monitoring what people are saying about your brand or company online. By using a social media analytics tool, you can see who’s talking, what they’re saying, and even join the conversation.
This information is valuable because it gives you a better understanding of your brand’s reputation and image. Social listening can help you improve your marketing strategies, customer service, and product development.
7. You Can Create Detailed Reports
As a business, it’s important to be aware of the impact your social media posts and campaigns have on your audience. Do you have posts that get a lot of likes and shares, but no conversions? Or posts with low engagement but high conversions? What is your average click-through rate, and how many of those people convert?
With the help of social media analytics tools, you can create comprehensive reports that give you detailed insights. You can also submit these reports to your investors and discuss them in team meetings to chart out your future strategy.
8. You Can Keep Track of Your Competitors
If you’re looking to keep track of your competitors’ SEO and content strategies, social media analytics tools can be a huge help. By tracking which keywords they’re targeting, what types of content they’re producing, and how their audiences are reacting, you can get a good sense of what’s working for them and adapt your own strategy accordingly.
Here is a sample competitive analysis report:
Image via Mention
Specialized social media analytics tools offer powerful analytics features that can give you a comprehensive view of your competitors’ social media performance. They can help you see which posts are getting the most engagement, identify potential partnerships or collaborations, and even track their progress over time.
To stay ahead of the competition, it’s definitely worth taking advantage of these insights from social media analytics tools.
Social Media Analytics: Understanding Built-In Analytics For Each Platform
All major social media platforms offer some built-in analytics that you can use to keep track of the response that your content gets. In this section, let’s talk about the built-in analytics for each network:
1. Instagram Analytics
Instagram Analytics provides data about your followers, their online activity, and how many users looked at your posts.
This information is valuable for determining which content is most popular with your audience and tailoring future posts to their preferences. Additionally, you can use this data to identify any trends in your follower demographics or engagement rates.
Image via HubSpot
Broadly, we can divide Instagram Analytics into two categories: Follower demographics and post insights.
On Instagram, you can check follower demographics by looking at the ages and genders of your follower base. You can also view which countries or cities they line in. Location is key because it can help you decide which timezone(s) you want to tailor your posting times for.
Instagram allows you to check data related to follower activity, site clicks, reach, and impressions via their platform.
Follower Activity: Knowing when your followers are online and commenting can help you plan your content strategy accordingly. Through Instagram Analytics, you can see the most popular times of day and days of the week that your followers are active. You can view this data by hours or days, and sort it by a specific day.
- Site Clicks: You can check how many people have visited your website from your Instagram account.
- Reach: You can check the total number of unique accounts on Instagram that have seen your posts.
- Impressions: You can view the overall number of times that any of your posts have been checked on Instagram.
2. Facebook Analytics
By analyzing your Facebook Page Analytics, you can identify which content is most popular with your fans, as well as when and how often to post in order to achieve the best results. You can also find out the best day to post and the most popular content type on your page.
Image via PPC Agency
Here are the metrics you can check to analyze your content’s performance on Facebook:
- Reach: The number of people who checked your post and engaged with it over a period of time will help you understand what type of content performs well.
- Likes: You can select a specific time period for which you want to check your organic and unpaid likes.
- Page views: This option enables you to check where your source is coming from and which sections of your page are attracting views.
- Posts: You can figure out how many users checked out your page every day and what time of the day they checked your page.
- People: You can check who is checking and engaging with your posts, including their locations, ages, genders, interests, and other details.
3. Twitter Analytics
Twitter provides a quick glimpse into how you fared on the platform over the past 28 days via its analytics dashboard. When you are looking at the report, make sure you check the number of followers, impressions, retweets, and mentions. In addition to this, other metrics that you can check include:
- Profile visits
- New followers
- Top follower with their follower count
- Top mention sorted by earned engagement
… and more.
4. YouTube Analytics
You can use YouTube Analytics to analyze how your channel is performing. You can also use it to figure out your traffic sources and their locations.
YouTube also shows special earnings reports that make it easy to figure out which ads generate the most revenue for you.
Additionally, you can check which segments of your YouTube videos are the most effective with the charts depicting audience retention. It’s also possible to check if a user has re-watched a video or fast-forwarded it.
While there is a heap of information provided by YouTube, it can be a bit confusing to understand YouTube analytics if you are a newbie. Make sure you invest some time into understanding the platform and how it presents analytics via reports.
5. LinkedIn Analytics
LinkedIn shows key trends and metrics related to a company’s profile page. However, there is one limitation: Only the page administrator can view these statistics. Once you open it, you’ll see that all the data is organized into three main categories: Updates, Followers, and Visitors.
Image via LinkedIn
In the Updates section, you can see how many times a post was shown to LinkedIn members, the number of clicks it got, and if it was sponsored.
In the Reach section, you can check how many times all your updates were organically seen. You can also see the number of paid views.
In the Engagement section, you can check how many times your post was liked, clicked, shared, and commented on during a specific time period.
In the Followers section, you can check the following details:
- Demographics: It shows a detailed breakdown of your followers by designation, seniority, company size, and industry.
- Type: You can check the number of followers that you have acquired organically and the ones you got via paid promotions.
- Trends: You can check how you have gained or lost followers over a period of time.
- Comparison: You can check how you measure up compared to your competitors.
In the Visitors section, you can check the following details:
- Page Views: You can check how many times your page was viewed.
- Unique Visitors: You can check how many unique members checked your page. This option is similar to the previous one (Page Views), but the main difference is that duplicate visits are not counted here.
- Demographics: You can get a clear breakdown of the demographics of your followers.
- Career Page Clicks: You can check the number of times visitors viewed the Careers page of your profile.
Why Should You Use Social Media Analytics Tools?
Yes, some social media networks provide network data, while others do not. However, there are several compelling reasons to get a social media analytics tool.
In most cases, built-in analytics tools look at profiles that you own. It takes time to go through each built-in analytics tool if you have multiple social media accounts. Comparing data is difficult, time consuming, and tedious. Plus, it may not even be accurate.
When you use a specialized social media analytics tool, you can do a lot from a single dashboard. These include:
- Competitor Research
You can keep track of what your competitors are posting and how many followers, likes, and shares they earn. Social media analytics tools allow you to get a bird’s eye view of all your competitors’ online activities across different social media platforms.
- Customized Dashboards
Do you want to be able to see your engagements as soon as you open your dashboard? Or do you want to get to know what your competitors are up to? Whatever your priority is, you can customize your dashboard to suit your needs.
- Centralized Data
From a single dashboard, you can check all key social media metrics, including ad performance, engagement, ROI, engagement, and others. You can track your campaign performance and track patterns which might be difficult to spot otherwise if you were checking social media activity without using a specialized tool.
- Content Optimization
You can track all important content metrics so you can find the best-performing content from all of your published posts.
Looking at these insights, you can also make changes to your content strategy. You can decide if you are posting good content that engages audiences and if you are publishing them at the right times.
When you look at content performance across different platforms from a single dashboard, you’ll be able to spot patterns easily.
- Detailed, Downloadable Reports
Social media analytics tools prepare detailed reports that can give a complete overview of your campaign performance. The best part is that you don’t have to spend any time creating them. You can use these reports in company or team meetings or even share them with your stakeholders on a regular basis.
- Ability to Optimize Customer Service
Some social media analytics allow you to optimize your customer service interactions. They enable you to listen in on online conversations, analyze the overall brand sentiment, and prevent any potential crisis that might damage your brand’s reputation.
- Influencer Identification
You can find and engage with accounts that have a huge following in your niche. It makes it easier for you to reach out to established influencers and build solid working relationships with them.
Now that we’ve discussed the merits of using a social media analytics tool, let’s talk about what factors you should consider while choosing one for your business.
How to Choose the Best Social Media Analytics Tool For Your Business
There are a dozen social media analytics tools out there that you can use to track and optimize your marketing efforts. All of them have different pros, cons, features, and price points. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect social media analytics tool for your business, here are some of the factors you should look at:
What do you intend to do with social media analytics tools? Is it for assessing social performance, monitoring public relations, or gaining product insights? Do you want to be able to do it all from a single platform?
You won’t be able to choose the best features or price if you aren’t sure why you need an analytics tool in the first place.
The first step is to get clarity on why you are looking for a social media analytics tool. If you’ve got a dedicated team for social media marketing, make sure you get their input to understand your goals clearly.
What is the scope of your requirements? Understanding this can help you pick the best social media analytics tool for your business. To get clarity on your needs, here are some questions that you need to find answers to. Do you:
- Plan to incorporate social analytics in multiple divisions across your company?
- Want to check generic keywords with a large search volume or ones that are specific to your niche?
- Want to track a lot of topics?
- Think that sample data be enough for your campaigns or do you require data from multiple sources?
Based on your needs, you can pick a social media analytics tool that suits the scale of your social media campaigns.
Based on your requirements, list all the features that are a must for you. Ask yourself questions like these:
- Would you like to analyze both text and images?
- Do you want to incorporate data from print or other sources?
- Do you require a platform with extensive filtering options? Or ones that create many search queries?
- What kind of customer service do you require?
- Do you want to generate visual reports quickly?
Getting answers to these questions will give you a list of features that you absolutely need and the ones that you can do without.
4. Price Range
Let’s get down to business!
Only after you’ve determined answers to the questions listed in previous points, can you proceed to this stage. Based on your goals and feature requirements, you’ll get a quick idea of the ideal price range for your social media analytics tool.
While making a choice, you should keep in mind that less expensive tools come with limited features. They may also provide limited customer support for your business.
Which Are the Best Social Media Analytics Tools Out There?
Now you know how to pick the right social media analytics tools for your business. But what are the most popular choices out there? In this section, let’s discuss their features in detail.
1. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is social media management software with a comprehensive social media analytics tool that allows you to track and analyze your social media performance across all major platforms.
Using this platform, you can publish and schedule content on social media, glean insights from your audiences’ online conversations with the listening tool, and get detailed reports about your progress.
Image via Sprout Social
Catering to the needs of small-scale businesses as well as big corporations, Sprout Social has three main pricing plans. Here are the details of their pricing plans:
- Standard Plan: $99/user/month
- Professional Plan: $169/user/month
- Advanced Plan: $249/user/month
- Free trial available
This social media analytics tool provides suggestions based on your campaign performance. Using this platform, you can easily find out the best day to post content on social media and the best kind of content for your target audience.
Image via CoSchedule
CoSchedule is designed for freelancers, small businesses, as well as big organizations. They have three main pricing plans to cater to them:
- Free Plan: $0/month
- Pro Plan: $29/user/month
- Business Plan: Contact their sales team for a quote
Mainly a content analytics tool, BuzzSumo also has features that enable you to keep an eye on your competitors, monitor your overall brand presence, and listen in on online conversations.
You can also analyze your social media data and discover top shared domains, most shared content, and other such information.
Image via BuzzSumo
This social media analytics is great for businesses of all sizes. Here are the details of their pricing plans:
- Free Plan: $0/month
- Pro Plan: $99/month
- Plus Plan: $179/month
- Large Plan: $299/month
Which Are the Best Social Media Analytics Practices?
While getting the right social media analytics tool is important, knowing how to use them well makes all the difference. In this section, let’s talk about the best practices you should follow while using social media analytics tools:
1. Monitor Industry-Related Conversations
To keep up with the latest trends in your industry, use social media analytics tools to listen to industry-related conversations. With the help of social media analytics tools, you can identify the most popular:
- Conversation topics
- Brands in your niche
- Products or services
- Content type
2. Figure Out the Best Time to Post on Social Media
Many marketers want to know when the best times are to post their content on various social media platforms. However, there is no definitive answer to when is the best time to post on social media. Any tool that promises to magically provide you with the perfect answer should be regarded with suspicion.
The best times for posting are unique to each brand. They also vary according to your niche, business type, audience, season, and social network.
You should analyze data to determine when and how frequently you should post on various social media platforms. Similarly, social media analytics reports can assist you in determining how frequently to post.
If you want to improve the results, always use data and insights rather than guesswork and algorithms.
3. Find Your Top Performing Content
Recognizing your top-performing content enables you to replicate your success later. You may re-post such content or create posts with similar themes to get more likes, shares, and views. Furthermore, you can focus on content formats that get you the most engagement.
Most built-in analytics tools available in social media platforms enable you to check your top-performing posts. Make sure you keep an eye on them to understand what your audience is more receptive towards.
4. Analyze Your Competitors’ Strategies
Competitor research is an essential component of any marketing strategy, including social media marketing. To advance up the success ladder, you should research what your rivals are doing and what’s working for them.
Using social media analytics tools, you can identify your top rivals, their follower counts, key metrics, and other information. Use this to analyze their strategies and get an idea of their areas of strengths and weaknesses.
If you have a good idea about your competitors’ strategies, you can get insights into what your target audience likes and dislikes. You can use this information to polish your overall marketing strategy.
Q1. What is social media analytics?
A. Social media analytics is all about collecting your social media data and analyzing it to get a better understanding of how your social media campaign is performing. Using social media analytics, you can optimize your campaigns and boost your ROI.
Q2. Why is social media analytics important?
A. Social media analytics is important because of the following reasons. You can:
- Analyze your audience better and understand their preferences.
- Evaluate your campaign performance.
- Figure out what type of content works best for your audience.
- Keep track of your competitors’ strategies.
- Create detailed campaign reports.
- Listen in on brand conversations.
- Determine the best time to post on social media.
- Optimize your campaigns for a better ROI.
Q3. How is social media analytics done?
A. You can leverage social media analytics via specialized tools like Sprout Social, BuzzSumo, CoSchedule, and others. You can also check built-in insights on different social media platforms.
Q4. Which are the best free social media analytics tools?
A. The most popular social media analytics tools like Sprout Social, BuzzSumo, and Co-Schedule have a free trial or a free plan that you can use.
Q5. Which are the best social media analytics?
A. Sprout Social, BuzzSumo, and CoSchedule are some of the best social media analytics tools out there.
Ready to Make the Most of Social Media Analytics?
Know that your social media data is a goldmine of information. By analyzing it, you can make the most out of your campaigns.
You can use specialized social media analytics tools to analyze your audience and understand what works for you and your competitors. With the help of these insights, you can improve your strategy and maximize ROI.
Do you have any questions about social media analytics? Please leave them in the comments section below.