How to Use Twitter Analytics: The Complete Guide for Marketers

By Katie Sehl

Social

Image via Unsplash under CC0 1.0

There’s no sense tweeting into the void when you can take advantage free and easy Twitter analytics tools.

Whether you’re developing a social media strategy or running a marketing campaign, Twitter analytics can help you support your ideas or refine your approach. In a Twittersphere filled with upward of 500 million tweets a day, knowing how to translate Twitter analytics into actionable Twitter insights is key to standing out and reaching a wider audience.

In this complete guide, find out why you should be using Twitter analytics, which stats to track, and what tools to track them with.

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.

Key benefits of using Twitter Analytics

In case the benefits of digging into Twitter metrics aren’t obvious, here are a few reasons you should get tracking.

Learn about your audience

Know thy audience should be one of the first rules in the playbook of every social media marketer. An appreciation of demographic variables such age, gender, household income, language, and geography goes a long way to crafting content that will connect.

With any platform, it’s good to start by familiarizing yourself with overall audience demographics. Doing so will help you understand where sites like Twitter fit into your larger social media marketing strategy.

For instance, knowing that 73 percent of Twitter users are also on Instagram might convince a brand to get on both platforms. But it should also prompt them to stop cross-posting the same message on all channels (tsk, tsk!).

After forming a basic overview of Twitter’s demographics, you can use these insights to benchmark against your own audience figures. For example, 57 percent of global Twitter users are men. If 65 percent of your audience is men, the gender split is more meaningful when compared with the global or national average.

You’ll find follower information in Twitter’s Audience Insights dashboard. In addition to core demographic categories, Twitter allows brands to target audiences based on interests, what device they use, behaviour, and keywords. Audience info can also be used to find other followers of relevant accounts who may be interested in what you have going on.

Find out what content resonates

Twitter may have boosted its character limit to 280, but the platform still recommends that brands keep tweets short and sweet. Twitter data also shows that people are three times more likely to engage with tweets that contain videos and photos. So, including visuals tends to be a good rule of thumb on the platform.

Beyond best practices, however, Twitter analytics tools will help determine what kind of content your audience really likes. Say you’re a pet clothing brand. Maybe your cute photos of puppies and kittens always perform well, but felines consistently edge out canines when it comes to engagement. This might mean you have more cat people followers and should up your kitty content.

Post at optimal times

Once you’ve released a tweet into the Twittersphere, it typically has about a 24-minute half-life, finds Wiselytics. That’s four times shorter than the average post on Facebook. This means tweeting at the right time can often be the difference between a viral post and a flop.

As we explain in our blog post on the best times to post on each social network, there’s no consensus on the most optimal time tweet. In Hootsuite’s case, posts made around 3 p.m., Monday to Friday tend to perform best with our B2B Twitter audience.

But your own specific audience geography data will help inform your Tweeting schedule. If most of your followers are in Japan, then you may want to think twice about posting at 3 p.m. eastern standard time. Twitter’s official partner Union Metrics will also analyze your stats and tell you what time has worked best for your tweets in the past, so you can make sure you’re posting when your followers are actually online.

In terms of cadence, we recommend tweeting at least once a day to attract and engage followers. As a general rule, maintaining a consistent frequency establishes a predictable rhythm for your followers. If you do experiment with frequency, be sure to track Twitter analytics (especially follower count) to see how your followers react.

See if your ads are working

If you’re putting your money where your tweets are, then you’re going to want to know if it’s paying off.

Whether you’re running Twitter Ad Campaigns or boosting a few tweets in Promote Mode, comparing the results with organic posts will help you understanding how much bang you’re getting for your buck. Cost per result metrics and conversion trackers will also help with that (find more on these stats below).

Replicate success

Twitter’s Analytics Dashboard provides a pretty good overview of what’s working and what isn’t. Your top tweets will tell you what you’ve been doing right, so look for the commonalities between them.

Meanwhile, use your worst performing tweets as examples to learn from by trying to pinpoint what went wrong. You can use these findings when crafting your next tweet, creating a brand’s social media guidebook, or developing a campaign strategy.

10 Twitter metrics that matter to marketers

Knowing how to use Twitter analytics effectively will help you make the most of them.

Best Twitter account metrics to track

Displayed monthly from your Twitter analytics dashboard, these account metrics provide a snapshot of standout activity.

1. Top tweet

What it measures: The tweet that earned the most impressions for a given month.
Why it matters: Since this tweet reached your largest audience, it’s a good example of what you’re doing right. That could be tweeting at the right time of day, hashtag use, content that resonated, or all of the above. You may want to consider Quick Promoting this tweet as well.

2. New followers

What it measures: The number of new account followers in a particular month.
Why it matters: Very often followers are people who have seen your content and want to see more of it. A follow is a longer-term engagement than a favourite or retweet, so if you see your follower count climbing, it’s a good overall sign. If it’s fallen, on the other hand, take note of potential causes and try to correct them.

3. Top follower

What it measures: The top follower of the month, with the highest number of their own followers.
Why it matters: Your top followers hold the greatest potential to broaden the exposure of your tweets through retweets and favourites. They are also good connections to have when it comes to finding influencers.

4. Top mention

What it measures: A tweet with the most impressions in which another Twitter user has tagged your username.
Why it matters: This Twitter user obviously has a noteworthy amount of social clout, so consider reaching out to them or keep them in mind for the next time you’re running an influencer campaign.

Best Tweet metrics to track

After a high-level analysis of your account’s performance, these are the analytics you should focus on to drill down on individual tweets.

5. Engagements

What it measures: anything a Twitter user has clicked on from your tweet, including photos, videos, links, avatar, username retweets, replies, likes, and expansion.
Why it matters: These clicks mean that, after seeing your tweet, someone wanted to learn more about your brand or engage more with your content. If one of your objectives is to drive traffic to your website, keep an eye on this stat and use it to determine how well your call-to-actions are performing.

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.

6. Engagement rate

What it measures: the number of engagements divided by the number of impressions a tweet receives.
Why it matters: When comparing tweets, this metric provides a more balanced view on engagement. Looking at engagement figures alone can be misleading without factoring in how many people have seen each tweet. For example, a tweet with four engagements may seem low compared to one with 100, but if only five people saw the first tweet and a million people saw the second… the math does itself.

7. Twitter reach percentage

What it measures: How many of your followers saw any given tweet. You can calculate this by dividing tweet impressions by your total followers.
Why it matters: This pretty much comes down to timing. Knowing how many of your followers are seeing your tweets is a good indicator of whether or not you’re tweeting at the right times.

Best Twitter ad metrics to track

As with Tweets, impressions and engagement rates are stats to track with your Twitter ads. But there are also a few other KPIs and customizable variables to take into account as well.

8. Results

What it measures: Results are the desired actions tied to your ad’s customizable objective. Twitter ad results can track a range of objectives, including impressions, followers, engagements, video views, website clicks and conversions, and more.
Why it matters: This is the essential metric for determining whether or not your ad is delivering on the desired outcome of your Twitter campaign. Your results rate or engagement rate is the number of impressions your ad receives divided by the number of results.

9. Cost per result (CPR)

What it measures: An average of how much you’re paying for each action users take after seeing your ad.
Why it matters: Each campaign objective is tied to a billable action that’s only charged when the action occurs. For example, if your campaign objective is video views, you’ll only be charged when someone views your video. Tracking CPR will help you manage your budget and factor into your return on investment (ROI) calculations.

10. Key conversions

What it measures: As Twitter explains, “Conversion tracking starts where Twitter stops.” Conversions allow you to track what actions people take after seeing your Twitter ad on your website and across devices.
Why it matters: This figure will provide you with a more holistic view on the path users take from your Twitter ad to your site. From your ads dashboard, you’ll be able to drill down into post-engagement and post-view conversions, transaction values and total sales. It’s where you’ll mostly clearly see where your tweets deliver on ROI.

You can monitor these analytics from your Twitter campaign dashboard. For more on how to set up Twitter ads, read the complete guide for businesses on Twitter.

Twitter analytics tools

Now that you know which analytics to track, here’s the lowdown on the tools and interfaces you’ll use to track them.

Twitter Analytics

Twitter has several easy-to-navigate dashboards for tracking account, tweet, and ad performance metrics.

Image via Twitter.

How to use it:

1. Account Home: Click on your avatar and select Analytics to monitor your month-by-month Twitter account highlights. You can also get here by logging in at analytics.twitter.com.

2. Tweet Activity Dashboard: Navigate to this section via the upper left Tweets tab, or by selecting View all Tweet activity under your Top Tweet of the month. From here you can track tweet analytics, customize date ranges, and export data.

3. Audience Insight Dashboard: Click on the Audiences tab to learn about your followers. Here’s where you can gather intel on your audience’s interests, gender, geography, and more. You can also add comparison audiences to see how your followers compare to other users.

4. Ad Campaign Dashboard: To obtain access to a campaign dashboard, you’ll need to first Quick Promote a tweet, start a campaign or login to your Ads account. From here you can track the results of your campaigns with customizable filters and metrics (which can be saved for future use). After analyzing these results, you may adjust your campaign structure by pushing out the end date or increasing the budget, for example.

Hootsuite Analytics

With Hootsuite Analytics, Hootsuite Professional users can analyze Twitter metrics and generate customizable reports.

How to use it:

1. Analytics Overview: Login to Hootsuite and click on Analytics in the left sidebar. From the Overview tab you’ll see an aggregate snapshot of your social profiles.

2. Select Settings: Make sure you select the Twitter icon in the upper left corner. If you manage multiple Twitter accounts, select the correct one. Then, customize the date range you want to analyze.

3. Main Metrics: Above the fold you can track tweets, followers, engagement, and traffic. The + or – number compares your custom date range with the previous or custom period and helps to measure account growth and identify trends.

4. Additional Insights: Scroll down to find more detailed analytics, including Inbound Messages by Sentiment and Engagement by Posted Tweets. You’ll also find engagement and traffic data displayed in handy charts and graphs.

Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

TweetReach

TweetReach is a great tool to estimate and benchmark against competitors. Its snapshot reports track estimated reach, impressions, and other analytics based on username searches. Reports rely on social intelligence from Union Metrics (Twitter’s official partner), so you know it’s legit.

How to use it:

For a free TweetReach analytics report, simply enter the hashtag, username, or keyword you’d like to track, authorize the app, and you’re ready to go.

If you’re still looking to add a few more tools to the kit, our list of 40 Twitter tools for marketers should have you covered for your next Twitter analytics report.

Gain insight into your Twitter performance—and the performance of all your other social media platforms—with Hootsuite Analytics. Try it free today.

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