What Is Social Media Analytics? (Plus Free and Paid Tools)
Social media analytics is the process of tracking, collecting and analyzing data from social networks. With the right tools, analyzing your social performance can be a breeze.
Social media analytics can help you understand which of your social media actics and strategies are working, and which aren’t. This allows you to better focus your time, effort, and budget.
Analytics also help you create social media performance reports to share with your team, stakeholders, and boss.
In this article, you’ll learn about some of the best free social media analytics tools available, along with some more robust paid options. We’ll cover how to use them most effectively to analyze and improve results.
Bonus: Get a free social media analytics report templatethat shows you the most important metrics to track for each network.
Social media analytics is the process of tracking, collecting and analyzing data from social networks. It is used by marketers to understand social media performance, keep track of important social media metrics and create social media reports.
Social media analytics may involve:
A single social network. This approach can be useful when you’re looking into the results of a specific social media campaign.
All the social media networks your business is active on. This approach is useful for long term goal-setting and assessing the business impact of your social media presence.
Basically, the scope of your social media analysis can be as narrow or wide as you need it to be, depending on the insights you’re looking for.
Key benefits: Performance data from every social network in one place with easy-to-understand reports
Most social media management platforms have built-in analytics tools. We hope you’ll forgive us for saying Hootsuite’s reporting capabilities are our favorite…
Hootsuite Analytics offers a complete picture of all your social media efforts in one place. This simplifies your social media analytics work. It saves time and makes it easy to compare aggregate results across networks.
You’ll see key metrics for each of your social posts, including:
You’ll also see metrics for each of your profiles, including follower growth over time. You can select the metrics that matter most to you so you can see all the relevant results at a glance.
You can use the customizable templates to track, analyze, and monitor your performance on each social network. And with just one click, you can export these reports to Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, or CSV. The result is a clear, easy-to-read social media analytics report to share with your team, your clients, or your boss.
Hootsuite Analytics also provides a clear picture of social team performance metrics, including:
Resolution time for assigned posts, mentions, and comments.
Key benefit: See how much web traffic and conversions your social media channels and campaigns generate (to be used with a web analytics platform like Google Analytics)
UTM parameters are not a standalone social media analytics tool, but they are essential in helping you set up Google Analytics (or another web analytics platform) to best measure social performance.
Put simply, UTM parameters are short pieces of code appended to the links you share on social media. They very precisely tell you how many people interact with your content and end up on your website.
In the screenshot above, the UTM parameter is everything that comes after the question mark.
UTM parameters aren’t essential if you’re only concerned about reporting on social media performance in terms of engagement, followers, etc. But if you want to take it to the next level, UTM parameters + Google Analytics will give you more precise data on which social media content and channels drive traffic and conversions.
You don’t need to know how to write code to include them on your social media posts, either. If you use a social media management platform like Hootsuite you can automatically generate UTM parameters in seconds.
Key benefits: Analyze brand sentiment and customer demographics in real time
Hootsuite Insights is a powerful social listening tool that doubles as an analytics tool. It analyzes your earned social mentions so you can measure social sentiment. Meanwhile, word clouds provide a visual representation of what people are saying about your brand online.
Hootsuite Insights also allows you to analyze data about your audience demographics. Key audience details include gender, location, and language. You can compare demographics across networks, or look at the aggregate picture of your audience for all networks combined.
All of this information gives you a clear picture of how people feel about your brand. This is critical information for an effective social media analytics report. This is the data that tells you whether a spike in mentions is a victory or a disaster.
Why analyze the social conversation about your brand? It reveals key opportunities to reach your audience where they already spend time online talking about your brand and your products.
You can also use Hootsuite Insights to conduct a market analysis. The tool tracks conversations on news sites, forums, and blogs, as well as social networks. This gives you a full set of analytics data from across the social web.
Key benefits: Track how organic and paid social impact real business goals and get recommendations for how to improve
Hootsuite Impact provides an in-depth look at the performance of your organic and paid social posts. It then compares that performance to specific business goals, like sales and leads generated. Next, it recommends actions to improve your results.
Hootsuite Impact integrates with tools like Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and your ad accounts on the various social platforms. This gives you a full picture of your post and campaign results, all in one place. With organic and paid analytics side-by-side, you don’t have to gather data from separate tools to create a social media analytics report.
Instead, you see exactly how much revenue all your social efforts generate, so you can prove your social ROI. Keep in mind that ROI is not only about sales generated. Hootsuite Impact uses a custom ROI formula developed specifically for your business. This gives you the most relevant and realistic analytics data for your organization.
You’ll also get a clear breakdown that shows you exactly how to replicate your successes and improve in the areas where you’re falling short.
To get the best insights from social analytics, you need to understand how other businesses in your industry compare. Hootsuite Impact shows how your results stack up against your competitors, so you can spot opportunities to improve.
Facebook actually offers three built-in social media analytics tools. Since they all cover aspects of Facebook Page analytics, we’re treating them as one tool in this post.
Here are the key data points you can collect from each of the three in-platform Facebook analytics tools.
Facebook Page Insights: Page and post engagement, post and story reach, recommendations, responsiveness, video views, follower growth, orders and earnings, when your audience is online, and competitor benchmarking.
Facebook Audience Insights: For both your existing audience and the overall Facebook audience, track demographic factors like age, gender, job title, and relationship status; interests and hobbies; life events; and which other Facebook Pages they like.
Facebook Ad Center: Ad spend, people reached, post engagement, and link clicks.
Twitter analytics is divided into three main sections. There’s the “Account home” overview, the Tweet activity dashboard, and the campaign dashboard. Here’s what you can track in each section:
Account home: This screen offers monthly highlights. You’ll find your account’s top tweet, top follower and top mention. It’s a good place to get a snapshot of your best performing content and identify potential influencers or brand ambassadors.
Tweet activity dashboard: Track the engagements and impressions on your tweets over a selected period. You can click on any Tweet to get more data, including video views, link clicks, retweets, replies, and more. Click Top Tweets to get a list of your best performing Tweets with all of their metrics.
Campaign dashboard: Track your Twitter ads. Metrics include impressions, reach, engagement rate, and cost per action. If you set up conversion tracking, you can also get details about how your Twitter ads drive conversions on your website.
Key benefits: Understand the reach of your Snapchat content and learn more about your audience
Free tool, only available to Snap Stars and those who have a large number of followers
Snapchat Insights are only available to users with a high number of followers. Snapchat doesn’t define this number specifically. To check if you have access, go to your profile screen and look for the Insights option.
Here are the key metrics you can track with Snapchat Insights:
Views: Find out exactly how many people are viewing your snaps, and for how long, broken down by week or month.
Reach: How many unique views your receive per day, plus average view time and completion rate.
Audience: Learn about your audience’s top interest and lifestyle categories, as well as the top regions where they’re located.