Although content creation can be a self fulfilling activity, it often can be rendered less impactful if it’s not seen. Being able to tell if your work is successfully reaching audiences is an incredibly important concept with a surprisingly easy solution: social media analytics.
Social media analytics is the process of collecting and analyzing data from social media networks. This not only includes platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, but also blogs, websites, and forums. Programs called web crawlers browse the internet through a search engine for certain keywords. The retrieved data is then put into a database, categorized, and interpreted to gain insights. This allows access to valuable consumer information including content performance, engagement levels, and best times to post. Most media platforms offer their own analytics tools, although they generally offer similar data. Here are a few examples:
Facebook Page Insights
To access Facebook’s offered analytics, go to the left tab of your News Feed and click Pages (indicated with a flag icon). Once at your page, click Insights on the left menu to access information of the past 2 years. There is a general overview of your page that shows you:
- Page Views: the number of times people, both who are logged in and those who aren’t, have viewed a Page’s profile. You
- Page Likes: the number of times people have liked your page.
- Post/Story Reach: an estimated number of how many people have seen any content from a Page/Story or about a Page/Story.
- Engagement: the number of times someone has reacted, commented, or shared your page.
- Page Followers: keeps track of the amount of followers you’ve gained and lost.
- Video: number of views
For each post, you are able to see:
- The number of people reached
- The number of clicks
- Amount of views and viewer behavior
- Reaction, comments, and shares
You are also given access to the amount of viewers that are online per day and time. There are tabs for Likes, Reach, Page Views, Actions on Page, Followers, and Posts that give more in depth information, including a demographic breakdown by age, gender, country, city, and device. Facebook also shows similar pages to watch for as well as their engagement levels.
Twitter Analytics offers a 28 day review of your activity divided under three main dashboards.
The Account Home Dashboard shows a summary of your Tweets including:
- Number of times you’ve Tweeted
- Profile Visits
- Tweet impressions: number of times people have been given your Tweet in their timeline, from a search, or from your profile.
- Number of new followers
- Twinks linking to you: number of times you and/or other people Tweeted your Twitter Card
- Shows various Tweets with the highest amount of impressions including: Top Tweets, Top media Tweet, Top Card Tweet, and Top mention
- Shows Top follower: account with the highest number of followers that also that follows you
The Tweet Activity Dashboard shows metrics for each Tweet, including numbers of impressions, engagement, link clicks, Retweets, likes and replies. Similarly the Video Activity Dashboard shows viewer retention rate, view rate, and completion rate. Instagram, which has the same parent company as Facebook, has a similar analytics tool called Instagram Insights.
Under the Overview tab of YouTube’s analytics, you can find a summary of your general video and channel performance. You will be able to see views, watch time, and subscriber data.
- Typical performance: compares your latest video with the typical performance of your other videos.
- Top videos: ranks your recent videos by views.
- Realtime: shows performance over the last 48 hours or 60 minutes.
- Latest videos: shows performance of last 10 videos.
- Stories: shows performance of stories from the last 7 days.
The Reach tab shows reports on how audiences were able to discover your content. This includes traffic from suggested videos, playlists, and the YouTube search bar. It also external traffic from sites and apps that embedded a link to your channel. Additionally, it tells impressions (how many times your videos’ thumbnails were shown to viewers) and watch time.
The Engagement tab displays average watch time and viewing duration. The Audience tab gives a summary of your viewers, such as age, gender, location, other content and channels they consume, and time.
If you are a part of the YouTube Partner Program, the Revenue tab helps track your estimated revenue, RPM, and CPM.
How this helps
Now that you have all this information, what do you do with it? Generally, this data guides you through determining how to adjust your content to maximize your social media platforms. You can test out various marketing tactics and get clear feedback of what resonates with your viewers.
Understand your audience
By knowing more details about the demographics of your audience, you can cater content more specifically towards them. For example, knowing the average time periods your viewers are primarily online can help you plan when to post. This can thus guarantee farther reach and higher rate of engagement and viewership.
Social media analytics can offer valuable insights on the effectiveness of your marketing and reach. It can show you directly what is and is not working, which you can then extrapolate to improve your ROI. For example, it can reveal which posts and marketing campaigns were successful based on data such as number of clicks, views, or mentions. You can then continue to expand on those strategies to up your marketing performance.
Compare against competitors
Most social media analytics not only offer insight into your own channel but also similar creators. Being able to keep tabs on competitors allows you to learn what works for them and what doesn’t. Of course, keep in mind that effective strategies for others may not also reap the same results for you. However, it offers valuable perspectives since generally related pages will often overlap with your audiences.