It’s one of those things you know you should be doing: tracking your Twitter metrics and analyzing the data they provide. After all, Twitter users interact with businesses in important ways on the network, and if you’re not analyzing the results of your own tweets, you’re missing out on key Twitter insights that could help you refine your strategy and maximize ROI.
So, how can tell you tell what’s working and what’s not when it comes to your Twitter marketing strategy? Enter Twitter analytics.
Bonus: Download the free strategy guide that reveals how Hootsuite grew our Twitter following to over 8 million users and learn how you can put the tactics to work for your business.
What are Twitter analytics?
Your actions on Twitter, along with the actions of all the people who follow you, engage with your tweets, or otherwise interact with you, create a rich set of data you can use to track various Twitter metrics.
Twitter analytics tools allow you to analyze that data and measure your performance for Twitter metrics over time, so you can learn what works, what doesn’t, and how to get the most from the time and resources you put into posting on Twitter.
Benefits of Twitter analytics
Twitter analytics provide great marketing intelligence that will allow you to hone your Twitter campaigns.
1. Learn about your audience
It’s impossible to conduct a targeted Twitter campaign if you don’t know who you’re targeting. An understanding of the overall demographics of Twitter users is a good place to start, but it’s important to get a clear picture of exactly who your followers are, rather than just who uses the network in general.
Using Twitter analytics, you can dive deep into your follower demographics, learning what languages they speak and how they’re divided along gender lines, as well as their age, country of residence, and even household income. You can also gain valuable intel about their interests and online purchasing behavior.
All of this information together paints a detailed picture of your typical follower, so you can craft a Twitter presence that speaks directly to the people who actually follow you on this particular network—which may be different from the audience that follows you on other social networks, or that you target through traditional media like print or radio ads.
2. Find out what content resonates with your audience
Twitter analytics provide engagement numbers for every single tweet you post, so you can clearly understand what types of content get a response from your audience.
In general, tweets with photos get 313 percent more engagement. But is that true for your audience? It’s something you can test by tracking engagement through a Twitter analytics report. If it is true, what kind of photos do they want to see—do photos of people work better than, say, charts and graphs? By keeping an eye on your engagement Twitter metrics, you can learn precisely what connects with your followers, so you can develop a Twitter voice that speaks directly to them.
3. Post at optimal times
As we explain in our blog post on the best times to post on each social network, opinions vary about the optimal Twitter posting time. An analysis of more than 40,000 @Hootsuite tweets shows that for the B2B Hootsuite audience, 3 p.m. Monday to Friday is the optimal posting time, but others have seen different results.
Part of the variation is based on geography. After all, 3 p.m. in Vancouver is 6 p.m. in New York, and 11 p.m. in London. If your audience is primarily in the U.K., and you’re on the West Coast of North America, posting at 3 p.m. your time is likely not ideal. Using Twitter analytics, you can determine where most of your followers are based, so you can post at times that make sense based on when they’re likely to be online.
You can then further refine your timing strategy by looking for trends in the engagement levels with tweets posted at different times of day.
4. Determine if ads are working
When you’re investing money in promoted tweets, you want to know if you’re making good use of your advertising dollars. By using Twitter analytics for business insights, you can compare organic and promoted impressions to get a sense of how far your promoted tweets are expanding your reach.
You can also set up conversion tracking to measure return on investment (ROI) by tracking sales and revenue from your Twitter campaigns.
5. Replicate success
Using Twitter analytics allows you to see which of your tweets perform best in terms of the metrics that matter most to you, whether that’s engagement within the network or clicks through to your website.
Carefully tracking your top tweets allows you to look for commonalities in the tweets that get the best results, while tracking your poorest performing tweets can provide hints about what your audience does not want to see. Knowing what works—and what doesn’t—sets you up to replicate success while learning from misfires.
How to use Twitter analytics for metrics that matter
The Twitter metrics that are most important for business accounts can be broken down into account metrics—which apply to your overall Twitter profile and your follower base—and individual tweet metrics, which track the engagement numbers for specific tweets.
Account metrics are tracked monthly and provide a good record of your Twitter activity over time.
What it measures: The tweet that earned the most impressions in a particular month.
Why it matters: This tells you at a glance which one of your posts gained the broadest exposure for the month—an important record to track over time. Your top tweet is also a good candidate for testing a promoted tweets campaign.
What it measures: The tweet with the most impressions in which another Twitter user mentions your username.
Why it matters: The Twitter user who expanded your reach the most is someone you should definitely reach out to. Look for opportunities to connect and work together, possibly through an influencer campaign.
What it measures: Your follower with the greatest number of followers of their own.
Why it matters: While this person has not necessarily shared your content yet, they have the largest potential audience. This is another key stat for finding connections and potential influencers to reach out to.
What it measures: How many new followers you gained in a given month.
Why it matters: Tracking this over time and mapping any changes to your activities on Twitter will show how your various campaigns and posting strategies affect your overall follower count.
Individual tweet metrics
What they measure: Click statistics include embedded media clicks (how many people clicked on a photo or video in a tweet), link clicks (on a URL or card in the tweet), and user profile clicks (on your Twitter name, @ handle, or profile photo).
Why they matter: These Twitter metrics measure how much people want to know more about you and your business. Watch especially for clicks through to your website to measure how effective your posts are at driving traffic.
What it measures: In addition to clicks, engagement includes the number of times users interacted with a tweet by retweeting, replying, following, or liking.
Why it matters: If you’re not getting engagement, you’re talking into a void. Tracking which tweets generate the most user response is a good way to know what’s working for your brand.
What it measures: The number of engagements with a tweet divided by impressions.
Why it matters: While the number of engagements is a valuable metric in itself, engagement rate gives a clearer picture of how engaging a tweet is because it also factors in how many people saw the tweet. Plug the Twitter analytics impressions and engagement numbers into a spreadsheet to track this metric over time.
Tweet reach percentage
What it measures: How many of your followers saw any given tweet. To calculate, divide tweet impressions by your total followers.
Why it matters: Knowing what percentage of your followers tend to see your tweets will allow you to plan a strategy of reposting the same content in different ways to maximize exposure.
Twitter analytics tools
Now that you know which Twitter metrics to track, how do you go about finding and tracking them? You have a few options for Twitter analytics tools.
1. Twitter Analytics dashboard
Integrated into the Twitter platform, Twitter’s analytics dashboard uses various tabs to highlight the most important metrics.
The home tabs shows monthly account metrics like top tweet and top mention, along with a 28-day summary overview of how impressions, profile visits, and mentions have changed.
The tweets tab provides individual tweet metrics, including engagement and organic versus paid impressions. You can click on each tweet for more detailed metrics, including detail expands and media engagements. The audiences tab provides detailed information about your followers, including demographic information and top interests.
2. Hootsuite Analytics
Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.
The free version of Twitonomy provides a robust set of Twitter analytics tools, showing figures like average tweets per day, @ mentions, and most retweeted and replied to Twitter users for all time or for a specified period. You’ll also see how your own tweets perform, with your most retweeted and liked tweets listed.
Twitonomy also provides charts showing how often you post on the various days of the week, and even the specific hours of the day.
TweetReach tracks estimated reach, impressions, and other key data based on a search by username, keyword, or hashtag, so you can track your own top Twitter metrics as well as get a peek at what your competitors are up to and what’s working for them.
For more valuable Twitter analytics tools that can help you track key metrics, check out our post listing 33 Twitter tools to use in your marketing strategy.
Gain insight into your Twitter efforts—and your other social media endeavors— with Hootsuite Analytics. Try it free today.
With files from Kaylynn Chong.