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Data is the currency of social media marketing.
It’s the lifeblood of your campaigns. Without it, there’s no way to properly analyze your audience or measure your results.
Data is what justifies the time we spend writing posts, crafting campaigns, and connecting with our audiences.
Understanding social media analytics is essential for making data useful. Modern analytics tools provide power that marketers could have only dreamed of just a decade ago.
However, tools are only as effective as our ability to use them. In addition, data is only valuable as the insights we can extract from it.
In order to apply the advice in this post, download the kit below. It includes:
The challenge thus facing social media marketers is threefold. Successful practitioners must understand each of the following:
In this post, you’ll learn exactly how to slice and dice data like a social analytics ninja.
Bring your social media data together, all in one place, with CoSchedule. With our new Social Analytics capabilities, you can:
See Social Analytics in action:
This term can mean different things to different people. Are we talking about overall performance on social media? Or, perhaps we could be referencing social media content analysis? Could we even mean social media audience analysis?
This topic gets complex fast, and any of the above answers could be correct. To make things simple, this post will focus on how to understand three things:
Every good craftsperson has a quality set of tools. Here are the options we recommend for doing social media analytics work:
There are certainly more tools available. However, these are the options we’ll use for the purposes of this post.
You need a purpose for gathering and analyzing your data.
This means you need to set goals. After all, how are you supposed to hit your target when you’re unsure what you’re aiming for?
Let’s outline five basic social media marketing goals you could potentially establish:
It’s also important to tie social media goals to overall business objectives.
Follow this visual guide to map your metrics to your bottom line:
Google Analytics provides so much data, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Before we dive into each specific network, let’s look at how to use this tool to find two key metrics (which apply to all networks):
Here’s how to find each of these pieces in Google Analytics.
1. Visit your Google Analytics account. Then, click through Overview > All Traffic > Channels > Social.
2. Here, you’ll find data from your referral traffic from every social network.
3. Next, let’s help you figure out how to find conversions from your social media referral traffic. This requires setting up a Goal in Google Analytics. Once this step is completed, you’ll see Conversions here:
If you haven’t set up Conversion goals for your site or blog, this official video from the Google Analytics team will show you how to do this:
Every social media network has unique purposes and strengths. Before we dig into understanding analytics on each one, let’s ensure you’re using the right platforms to achieve the right goals first.
Facebook’s declining organic reach has made the network tougher than ever for marketers. Here’s how to find the data you need to ensure your posts are laser-focused on the right audience:
Here’s how to use each tool in your box to gather this data.
The Facebook Insights tab on your company’s brand page is an easy place to start. It provides an incredible amount of data completely for free.
1. Find your Facebook Insights tab.
2. Next, you’ll see your Overview page. Here, you can get a quick glance at:
You’ll also see an option to Export Data to an Excel or .csv file. This makes viewing detailed Page Data, Post Data, and Video Data a bit easier.
3. Beneath the Overview tab, you’ll find access to more detailed data:
Here, you can find everything you need to know when it comes to your page engagement data.
Twitter analytics are only slightly simpler than on Facebook. Here are the metrics you should monitor for Twitter:
Twitter offers fairly robust analytics within its web app.
1. Log into your account and visit Twitter Analytics.
2. The first page you’ll see if your Analytics Home page.
Here, you can find (as you’d expect) a high-level overview of your performance for the last 28 days. This includes:
You can also quickly see your top performing tweets. All in all, this is a fair amount of data (for free).
3. Next, click the Tweets tab.
At the top, you’ll find your daily tweet impressions for the past 28 days.
Below that, you’ll find impression and engagement rate data for all your individual tweets. These can be sorted to include All Tweets, Top Tweets, and Tweets And Replies together. The right-hand panel also provides:
4. Now, bounce over the Audience tab.
The level of data Twitter provides here is almost astounding. You can quickly find out what your audience is most interested in, their household income, what kinds of products they buy, and more.
Pinterest is interesting (or shall we say, “pinteresting” … sorry, we’ll leave jokes to professionals from here on). These are the metrics that you should be monitoring:
Simply log into your company’s Pinterest account. Next, check out your Overview page. Here, you can find daily and monthly viewer and impression data:
Clicking the More > button drills deeper into each top-level section.
Your Pinterest Profile:
This view displays more data from your top performing pins and boards. It’s worth noting that adjusting the dates allows you to view progression going as far back as you’d like.
People You Reach:
This view under the Demographics tab provides a simple breakdown of your audience based on location, language and gender.
Clicking the Interests tab yields interesting information about what your audience likes. This can be immensely helpful for guiding which content you should pin:
The Activity tab is useful for getting specific data on which pins from your website are driving the most engagement. This is extremely useful for gauging blog content performance on Pinterest.
This video provides a good oversight of how Insights work for company pages on LinkedIn.
There are two ways to gather this data:
Let’s check out the Analytics tab. Start by visiting your company’s profile and clicking here:
Scroll down and you’ll find your Reach and Engagement data:
The Reach tab is particularly useful for understanding exactly how many people see your posts. Take some time to click each tab under Engagement as well. This can give you a detailed view of how your content is performing across the following metrics:
Google+ makes it possible to analyze performance both within Google Analytics and your Google My Business dashboard (both for Local Pages and Brand Pages). Between these two resources, you can get a decent look at how well you’re performing (even if the process of analyzing Google+ performance is slightly more complex, and just a touch less in-depth, than other networks).
Fortunately, the folks at Online-Behavior.com have built an excellent guide on the technical intricacies of analyzing Google+ performance using Google Analytics. Plus, our friends at Steady Demand have written what might be the most authoritative post on analyzing Google+ marketing that we’ve seen. We’ll defer to them for this section.
Instagram doesn’t provide much data to analyze (yet). However, it’s worth monitoring some basic metrics to ensure you’re getting the most brand awareness for your time spent on this visually-driven network. Here are some of the metrics you should be monitoring:
As of this writing, Instagram is promising to roll out several new analytics features. Head over to the Instagram for Business Blog to learn more.
For now, the team at Simply Measured offers a free Instagram Analytics Reporting tool. You’ll need to provide an email address, but it’s a quick and easy way to get some useful data. These reports can be exported as Excel files or PDFs.
Lastly, let’s discuss blogging analytics. This may seem like an odd fit in a post about social media analytics. It’s also a much deeper topic than we can cover completely here. However, if you run an active blog, it’s important to monitor how your blog content is performing on social media. These are some of the things you’ll want to be monitoring:
If you’re using WordPress (or another blogging platform), it’s likely your blog CMS includes an analytics section somewhere. Google Analytics is also essential here. If you’re looking for a Google Analytics alternative, Piwik is another similar option to look at.
Cyfe is a data aggregating web app that brings together data from tons of other sources and services. It accomplishes this by enabling users to create custom data dashboards using widgets.
This is extremely useful for doing social media analytics work, allowing you to create dashboards for most major social networks and view your data in one place.
A free account allows for five widgets, which may provide enough basic functionality to be useful. Stepping up to a paid account at $19 a month unlocks unlimited dashboards and user accounts.
Follow Cyfe’s guide to building a custom social media dashboard to get started.
If you’re a CoSchedule customer, you have one more option for finding social sharing data. Every blog post within the calendar interface features integrated social sharing stats:
You’ll notice Twitter sharing stats are missing due to restrictions with that platform’s API. However, this is otherwise one more useful option to quickly get a bit more insight into your social media performance.
You now know where to find data from your social media channels. That means it’s time to figure out how to make use of that data. We’ll do that by building a social media analytics report.
For our purposes, we’ll focus on our five main social media goals. These are:
These aren’t the only goals you could conceivably aim toward. However, they’re the ones we feel the majority of content marketers and social media managers may value most.
We also know you’re likely hard-pressed for time. That’s why we’ve built the included Social Media Marketing Performance report template to be simple to use for quick analysis. It looks something like this:
This template is designed to allow you to track your data all year. Bringing all your metrics into one place makes it easier to view progress over time. The Excel sheet includes some fields pre-filled, but is intended to be easily editable to suit your own selected metrics and purposes.
For each channel, select metrics that best support your business goals.
Then, set a baseline for performance for each metric on each channel.
Your baselines are expected standards for performance. If you fall below your baselines consistently, you know you’re underperforming. Likewise, if you consistently beat your expectations, you’re on the right track (and may need to readjust).
Set baselines for every metric following these two steps:
1. Find your average performance for a given metric for the past 90 days. If you’re not a mathematician, use the calculation here.
2. Set goals within a reasonable range upward from there.
The next step is understand the why behind your social media content performance. This requires some subjective analysis of your posts.
1. Look for spikes and valleys in your data.
2. Identify which content was published on or around the days and months where activity rises and falls.
3. Perform a quick content analysis. Look at the content you posted on days where performance spiked (or dipped).
Then, find your top three performing posts overall (on a single network) and analyze the following points:
[ ] How long is this post?
[ ] Does this post pose an open-ended question?
[ ] Does this post pose a close-ended question?
[ ] What day and time was this post published?
[ ] What kind of emotion does this post aim to elicit?
[ ] Is this a design image or a photograph?
[ ] Is this a single image or an image gallery?
[ ] Is this image consistent with the company brand and style standards?
[ ] Is this image an optimal size for its given social network?
[ ] Does this image feature text?
[ ] Is the content linked to high-quality?
[ ] Are the copy and image relevant to this link?
[ ] Do links use URL shorteners for data tracking?
[ ] Are link descriptions (if applicable) accurate?
[ ] Does the on-page content on the linked page clearly connect to this post?
Use these insights to guide future content creation. If something works well, do it more often. If something negatively impacts performance, stop doing it. It’s as simple as that.
Over time, you’ll get better at understanding which factors influence which behaviors in your specific situation.
If you’d like to keep your social media content and analytics in one place for easy analysis, use the Social Media Content Analysis template included in this post download. It looks like this:
This template makes it simple to create and store your content assets (copy, images, URLs, etc.) in one document. Then, store your post performance data in the Measurement section.
It’s designed to be edited easily, so feel free to add or delete rows, columns, or sections to suit your needs.
Data is most useful when it helps you create better content your audience loves. However, how do you actually execute better content marketing?
Start by applying the data you’ve gathered to refine the topics and tactics that perform best. These posts on our blog will help you sharpen your skills too:
Each individual social network offers useful analytics functionality. However, CoSchedule will soon let you bring more of that data together, all in one place. With our new Social Analytics capabilities, you’ll be able to see what is (and isn’t) working, prove ROI, and understand the impact of your efforts across all your networks.
There you have it! You now have a basic social media analytics framework to help you find the data you need fast. In addition, you’re able to store, analyze, and present useful insights from that data to impress your boss and create better social media content.
Hopefully, this will help you do more efficient and effective analysis and reporting. We wish you the best of luck in your efforts.
Drop your questions below!
This post was originally published on Aug. 8, 2016. It was republished with new information on Oct. 24, 2016.
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