Sometimes attributed to English philosophers Francis Bacon or Thomas Hobbes, the age-old wisdom that “knowledge is power” still rings true today. For social media advertisers and marketers, that knowledge comes from social media analytics.
While it might not be the most glamorous or creative part of your job, understanding how your ads and posts contribute to overarching business goals is the key to building and refining a successful social media strategy.
But just collecting this data isn’t enough. Social media analytics are useless if you don’t know how to put them in context.
And with so many different social media analytics tools to choose from, each touting their platform as the most comprehensive or most intuitive way to contextualize that data, how do you choose?
You can start with the social media analytics tools we picked for you! And we’ll also tell you how to get the most from your social media analytics.
We recommend the following three tools because they work together to build a cohesive picture of how your social media efforts work across a number of important business metrics.
Whether you’re tracking ROI on your ads, observing what types of content drive the most traffic to your site, or trying to build a wider (but still interested) audience for your brand, you can’t do it without them.
When you understand how these three tools present data about your social media marketing and advertising, it helps you put things in context.
There’s no better way to show off your success or learn from your mistakes.
Let’s get this out of the way first — if you’re not already using AdEspresso to analyze your Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads, you’re missing out.
Learn more about how our platform helps you automate how you gain insights into your social media advertising.
Social Media Analytics Tool #1: Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that controls all of your profiles and networks from a single location. Their analytics platform provides valuable insights into your social media analytics from both a high-level and granular perspective.
With Hootsuite, you build dashboards that show how campaigns perform across platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Each one pulls in information from any number of different social media profiles.
Users can customize this dashboard to show their most important platforms and create custom reports for any goal. These reports are some of the best assets you have for proving ROI and showing your team how well they perform.
If you need more granular detail on any of these platforms, dig deeper. The following example highlights how Tweets, Followers, Engagement, and Traffic have increased over a designated time range:
Hootsuite also gives you the ability to track performance and audience engagement on a post-by-post basis; it breaks down followers by demographics and geography, and helps you see how well your team performs from an internal perspective.
They offer several different pricing tiers based on your specific needs, starting at $29 per month for Professional and going all the way up to $599 for Business.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out their 30-day free trial.
Social Media Analytics Tool #2: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the go-to analytics tool for your website. You’re probably tracking lots of important data through their free service already. But while their platform can sometimes feel overwhelming, it provides a lot of valuable information about how your audience interacts with your company online.
One of the best places to find this information is in the Social Pages report, which gives you a list of the pages on your site that get the most attention from social media traffic.
This view breaks down which social channels drive the most traffic to your website. From there, calculating your advertising ROI is simple. Use these analytics to find which channels are best at driving high-converting traffic to your landing pages, as well as which pages perform best for social acquisition.
Google Analytics also helps you track which types of content perform best in these different channels. When you use UTM parameters for your ads, as well as your posts, you can build reports that track your audience all the way from ad to website (and everywhere in between).
This guide walks through how to set up your Google Analytics account, so you can start tracking and measuring your campaigns today!
Social Media Analytics Tool #3: Audiense
Audiense is a more targeted tool than both Hootsuite and Google Analytics. It’s built to help you understand your Twitter audience better and create more targeted campaigns, more appealing ads, and better overall content that appeal to their needs.
These audience insights break down your followers based on their geographic location, their interests (found through machine learning and data mining), as well as their careers, age, and more.
This data can be used to create segmented audiences for more targeted advertising and content promotion. Audiense also uses these audiences to flesh out potential new audiences for your brand. They expand on your current followers and put together a list of people you can reach out to who share similar interests.
Another great aspect of this tool is the ability to track conversations and brand mentions both historically, as well as in real time. This helps you keep a finger on the pulse of what people think about your brand.
With a freemium plan, you can get started using their product right away. From there, it’s easy to upgrade to either their Starter plan at $10 a month or their Standard plan for $99 a month.
How to Get the Most From Your Social Media Analytics
Social media analytics give you a clear understanding of how each marketing and advertising campaign performs. Now that you know which analytics tools to use to get started, it’s time to see how you can use these insights in your everyday tasks. With the right data, it’s easy to track your success, optimize current campaigns, and redefine your goals.
Up first, Hootsuite!
With engagement and post-performance metrics, you get granular data on how every piece of content you publish performs. Use that information to learn more about the types of content that resonate with your audience.
For example, let’s say there’s a pet food company that’s running a campaign for their subscription delivery service. One ad shows the package arriving at the customer’s door and another shows the mail carrier delivering that package to a cute, but overexcited, Border Collie.
In Hootsuite, they can see that the ad featuring a dog has a 25% boost in engagement. For their next round of ads, it would make sense to feature a bunch of different dogs receiving their monthly package. (Our recommendation would be an Italian Greyhound, but the breed is really up to you!)
If you’ve created a dashboard for this ad campaign, it’s easy to create a social media report that explains why the next campaign should include more dogs.
Example dashboard via Hootsuite.
Now, Google Analytics!
Use it to find out which landing pages have the highest conversion rates. Then dig into why those pages are more successful and apply your learnings to other parts of your site.
Google Analytics also shows which social media channels drive the most traffic to your website, which helps you optimize your advertising and marketing spend for maximum impact in the right place.
Let’s go with the pet food company example again. For this campaign, they’ve updated their ads to feature a bunch of adorable pups, and followers who click through are directed to one of two landing pages. Landing page A is the pricing page, which walks through what’s available on each plan, and landing page B is the same page with video customer testimonials before the pricing information.
Looking at their Google Analytics traffic information for the past month, the pet food company can see that landing page B is converting about 10% more than landing page A. Using that information, they can start including a video testimonial on more landing pages for their ads.
Example Google Analytics report via Shopify.
The most successful page is listed in the first row, with each subsequent page in descending order. Each one can be manipulated to show top-performance across any metric.
Last up: Audiense!
Use this tool to find audiences outside of your network that share interests with your current followers. Then, promote similar content to those people or create a custom audience for future ad campaigns.
Example community breakdown via Audiense.
Imagine the pet food company has hired a new lead generation specialist and wants to find out how to expand the company’s network. Using an Audiense community report, they’re able to see which Twitter profiles share characteristics with their current audience. A common theme is that these followers often share pictures of their own pets on social media.
For the pet food company’s next campaign, they could create an account that takes photo submissions of customer pets enjoying the product. Or, they could drive engagement with a contest for the cutest dog picture, where new leads receive a discount on their purchase for first, second, or third place.
Audiense’s conversation history also helps track how brand perception changes over time, which they could use to see how these contests and a new campaign impact what people say about their company.
When you build social media analytics into your campaign creation, it becomes much easier to build campaigns that really work. Instead of focusing on what you “think” might resonate with your potential customers, you’ll know what’s worked in the past and how to extrapolate that data into something new.
Start Using Social Media Analytics Now!
Tracking performance with social media analytics is your not-so-secret weapon for better advertising and marketing campaigns. If you’re not tracking these metrics, you’re putting your company at a disadvantage. With the tools we’ve talked about today, you’ll always know how best to move forward with new content.
And knowing is half the battle!
What do you think? Do you use any of these tools? Which is the one (or more than one) that you can’t do without? Or the one you wish you had? Leave us a comment and let us know!