Social Media Analytics:  A Guide on What and How to Measure

The Social Media Analytics Compass: What and How to Measure

Social Media Analytics- A Guide on What and How to MeasureAre you using the right social media analytics tools to monitor, assess and improve your social media performance?

What social media analytics are you measuring and what should you be measuring in your social media tracking?

Monitoring your social media analytics can make the difference between the success or failure of your social media presence.

In this article, we outline what you need to be monitoring and outline a range of tools for social media analysis and reporting.

Download a summary of what social media analytics you need to keep track of and a summary table of tools to use. Bonus: We outline what tools we use to keep track of social media.

The Social Media Analytics Compass

The compass contains the essential areas that you need to monitor for your social media channels.

It’s not possible to monitor everything across every channel due to limitations of the tool and it’s not essential to monitor everything depending on the business.

From this compass pick out what’s important for your business and identify a relevant tool to provide the relevant reports.

Social Media Analytics Compass


Let’s look at each section of your compass (Note: you will need to differentiate between paid and unpaid).

Audience Size

Does the size of your audience matter? Yes, of course it does….if you are building a relevant audience (see audience profile).

You need to continuously build your audience. Your audience typically grows gradually unless you use tools or paid advertisement to grow. There is nothing wrong in investing in audience growth tactics if you have a process of converting that audience (see our PRISM funnel)

On a weekly basis assess your audience growth and compare this with your competitors. Also, assess the people that are unfollowing you where possible.

Audience Profile

As you are growing your audience you need to make sure you have the right audience profile.

On Twitter, you can run a report to see what categories of people are part of your profile. For example, are they entrepreneurs, marketers etc.

On Facebook, you can set up an ad (you don’t have to run it) targeted to your Facebook fans and then change the targeting options to work out the profile of your audience. For example, add an interest and see how many of your fans have that interest.

With a bit of smart thinking, you can do this analysis across other platforms. If you can’t do the analysis with the tools you can always run a survey on your audience.

Reach and Engagement

How much of your audience are you reaching and how much are engaging with your content?

Reach without engagement is still important because a lot of people pay attention to your content but don’t respond to it. This doesn’t mean to say they are not interested and they won’t buy from you.

Engagement is also important to monitor because you expect that some of your audience will engage with your content. If no one is engaging with your content you have either the wrong content or the wrong audience!

In an audience you will typically have the following:

  • Lurkers – People that monitor what you share but don’t interact. This is usually the majority of your audience
  • Influencers – These are people that have access to a larger audience and have the potential of influencing this audience.
  • Engagers – These are people that are more active in your community and you’ll start recognizing some of the names


Typically you will want to generate traffic back to your website from content you share and you’ll need to measure the impact of that traffic.

For some companies traffic is enough. For example, if you are media site you get paid for advertisements and more traffic means more money!

For most of the rest of us you want to generate leads and sales.

Content Analysis

Creating and sharing content is an expensive task. On a regular basis, you need to analyze your content to see what’s working/not working.

  • Are videos, pictures or text updates working best?
  • Do you have the right mix of content?
  • Are you getting engagement on your questions?
  • What changes have happened on the platforms that mean you need to change? (e.g. changes to profile images).

You’ll need to monitor this on an ongoing basis.

Community Responsiveness

If you’re not responsive to your community they’ll stop interacting so it’s important to measure this. This is particularly important if you are using social media as a customer service channel. The response rates are going to be equally important as an email support request.

Competitor Benchmarking

We should all learn from our competitors as they are probably learning from us!

Do a comparison of your account versus your competitors.

What are their engagement stats like, audience profile, audience size growth, etc.

This active monitoring will give you ideas. Things to learn from and things to avoid!

Sentiment Analysis

This is where you analyze positive, negative, or neutral mentions of your brand, product or service. A social media monitoring tool like Brand24 will measure and report on the sentiment of your social mentions. Sentiment analysis tools are not 100% reliable but they can give you a good indicator when there’s a problem.

Here’s a full description of sentiment analysis taken from Wikipedia: “Sentiment analysis (also known as opinion mining) refers to the use of natural language processing, text analysis, and computational linguistics to identify and extract subjective information in source materials”

When you are going through all your analytics you’ll need to start splitting out paid and unpaid media. All social media channels will require some paid media over time but this will affect your statistics.

NOTE: Thanks to the following people for contributing to the social media compass: Brian Carter, Mark Schaefer, Lilach Bullock, Dan Purvis, Martin Jones, Mark Fidelman, Steven Eisenberg, Stephan Hovnanian, Julia Bramble, Emeric Ernoult, Gregory Bailey, Beatrice Hunt,


How to track product/service campaigns

Creating a campaign to sell a specific product or service on your website needs a special mention.

If you want to track sales from various channels, shared in various ways (e.g. post, ad, pinned post etc.), you’ll need to use unique tracking links.

For example, I ran a conference with Mark Schaefer on Content Marketing in Dublin and we wanted to see where the sales are coming from.

This is handled through a combination of setting up goals in Google Analytics and setting up UTM tracking, which adds additional information to the links you share so they can be tracked in Google Analytics.

This level of tracking means you can go to the campaign section of Google analytics and track exactly what happened to your traffic.

What type of tools can you use?

To track all the analytics, you may need to use different types of tools.

Platform analytics

There are some great analytics tools provided by each of the platforms. For example, Twitter analytics or Facebook Insights. These tools have evolved over the years and provide some really useful functionality.

Your starting point should be platform analytics because they are free and you are getting analytics straight from the horse’s mouth!

Management tool analytics

There is a wide variety of social media management providers that provide analytics as part of their solution. As the tools continue to mature, the analytics get better!

Check out tools such as Agorapulse or SproutSocial who provide very good analytics as part of their platforms.

Standalone analytics

These are social media measurement tools that only provide social media analytics functionality. As their entire focus is analytics, you can find some great functionality as part of these platforms. The only thing to consider is that they are accessing platform analytics so their analytics can be only as good as the data provided by the platform!


Social Media Analytics Software

In the following we have focussed on tools that are dedicated to social media analytics.

1. Simply Measured

Simply Measured provides a very comprehensive social media reporting platform that supports a broad range of social networks.

How much will it cost you?

To give you a taste for the platform, you can start off using the free reports, which are quite useful.

To access the paid reports, pricing starts at $500 per month for 10 social profiles with an audience of up to 250k. After this, the pricing is tiered e.g. $1,500 per 20 social profiles, $2,500 for 50 social profiles. If you are an agency you will need to get a quote.

What are the main features?

  • Supports – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vine, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Wide range of standard reports are available for each platform
  • Web traffic and conversion analysis – You can connect to Google Analytics and view detailed information
  • Competitive analysis and benchmarking – Run reports against your competitors to review your performance
  • Influencer and Trend Analysis – Figure out who the key influencers are who you need to connect with and track trends
  • Brand, Keywords and Hashtag monitoring – Get email alerts based on criteria you set
  • Professional reports, all of which are available in Excel and Powerpoint
  • Multi-channel analysis so you can compare many accounts at the same time – for example, compare multiple Twitter accounts
  • Scheduled reporting – Get reports delivered to you automatically.

How does it work?

When you connect your social profiles, you have a choice of a wide range of standard reports. On the left-hand side, select the category you want. For example, select Twitter if you only want to view reports that are relevant to Twitter.


As an example, when I selected the Twitter Account Report, it brings me to a screen where you can provide details of your Twitter account. You can then name this ‘collection’ and assign any tags that further describe what the report is about.

Simply measured create collection
Specify the details of the report

You then specify the type of report you want to run. You’ll see there’s also a menu option for alerts. This allows me to set up monitoring on this account and get alerts.

Simply Measured Alerts
Specify the alerts you want to receive

There is good configuration on the alerts, where you can set up options such as only delivering alerts based on someone having a high number of followers or Klout score.

When you run a report, you can either view it online or as an Excel report. The reports are very visually appealing, well designed and full of great content.

If you don’t like the black background there is also a light-colored theme.


What I love most about the Excel reports is that it’s not just the graphs that are exported to Excel. It also creates multiple sheets that contain all the data that back up the graph.

Having the data means you can analyze it even further and maybe start changing the data to predict future results.

excel reports
There are many sheets of data provided for each report

As well as social media accounts, you can also run off reports from your website. For example, this is one of the charts in a report that shows you the Twitter users who are driving the most traffic to your site. This is very useful to know as these are people you need to engage with more.

Traffic Report
View detailed reports on website activity as a result of social media activity

Overall Opinion

Simply Measured is a really powerful social media analytics platform that provides an extensive range of really nicely designed reports that are available either online, or through Excel and Powerpoint.

Their free reports are a great starting point and definitely worth using.

The fact they support such a broad range of social media platforms, together with their high starting price point, means that it’s really suitable for the larger brands, and they do have some very large brands already as clients.


2. Rival IQ

Rival IQ is a social media competitive analysis tool. You create one or more landscapes of competitors or clients and track their performance across both social media and the web.

The platform is really nicely designed and easy to understand so you’ll get benefit from it very quickly.

How much will it cost you?

Pricing starts at $199 for 15 tracked companies and up to 90 social profiles. For $299 this goes up to 25 tracked companies and 150 social profiles, with additional functionality.

What are the main features?

  • Supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+, Pinterest and YouTube
  • Tracks multiple markets or clients through the use of landscapes
  • Monitors social metrics across all channels supported
  • Analyzes data relevant to SEO
  • Monitors and improves on social bio information
  • Monitors the best-performing content shared by you or your competitors
  • Monitors AdWords traffic generated.

How does it work?

You connect your social profiles on Rival IQ and also add on any competitors you want to track.

You can group companies into different landscapes (e.g. partner, competitor etc).

Here’s an example of a landscape showing the most engaging tweets for companies in that landscape:

View the most engaging content for the landscape

Your can create reports based on all this information.

I have set up a weekly report from Rival IQ, which gives detailed information on our performance across channels and against competitors.

One other area that is really useful is the alerts. Here are alerts when people in the landscape update their profile descriptions:


The SEO section provides some basic information related to SEO. While this is certainly not a replacement for an SEO tool, it does provide you with some valuable, high-level information.

Any of the reports can also be exported to a Powerpoint presentation, enabling you to produce some great management reports that contain nice graphs and statistics for each of your competitors.

Overall Opinion

This is a very intuitive platform with good social media analytics. I’d like to see integration with Google Analytics as it would also be great to see the traffic generated and results achieved from your social media interactions. I’d also like to see more detailed SEO analytics, for example, being able to drill down on the most popular external links from competitors. This is a nice-to-have feature as opposed to an essential feature!

A very useful platform well worth considering.


3. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a very comprehensive web analytics tool that most of us are familiar with to some degree, but it also provides some analytics that we quite often overlook and don’t spend enough time on!

How much will it cost you?

This tool is completely free.

What are the main features?

Here are some of the main features in relation to social media analytics.

  • Track traffic from social platforms – You can drill down by referrer and look at the traffic generated from each of the social platforms. If you use a custom URL, you can track traffic generated from a specific link you shared.
  • Isolate traffic using a segment – If you want to drill down on traffic for a particular channel, you can create a segment and view information just related to that channel.
  • Social media dashboard – Create a graphical dashboard that shows a summary of your social media activity and the results of traffic generated.
  • View real-time traffic – When you share out content on social media, you can view your website traffic in real-time. While you’re not going to do this all the time, you may have an important campaign that you have want to track more closely in the early stages, and monitoring the real-time statistics can be useful.
  • Social media conversions – You can set up goals and track the conversion rates of these goals broken down by social channel.

How does it work?

Assuming you already have Google Analytics installed, the only additional set up is as follows:

Under the acquisition -> channels section of Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see traffic from each social channel and conversion of that traffic.

If you want to set up an analytics dashboard, here’s one provided by Koozai.

In the Acquisition > Social section, there are other social media analytics worth considering. For example, in the Data Hub section you can view the conversations related to your content that happened on various social channels.

Google Analytics Data Hub
View conversations, which can be filtered by social network

There are other areas within this section that are also worth looking at.

Overall Opinion

As well as tracking the activity on social media channels, you also need to track what happens when the traffic comes back to your website. Google Analytics is a useful tool for this.


4. Zuum

Zuum is a social media analysis tool used for benchmarking performance against competitors, finding the most engaging content and identifying key influencers.

How much will it cost you?

Pricing starts at $249 per month, which gives you access to all platforms, unlimited fans and up to four competitors.

What are the main features?

  • Analytics support for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+, Pinterest and Instagram
  • Compare your posting activity with your competitors and also analyze their paid posting strategy
  • Leaderboard showing your performance in comparison with your competitors
  • Discover the posts driving the highest engagement so you can determine the topics you should be writing about
  • Create a social media benchmarking report
  • Influencer report showing the most influential users, which can be sorted by likes, engagement, shares etc.
  • Integration with Google Analytics
  • Set up daily,weekly or monthly email reports.

How does it work?

When you login, the menu on the left allows you to select the social media channel and area you want to view analytics for. The initial screen shows a dashboard showing fan/follower count for each competitor across all channels supported. This leaderboard table is available for all platforms supported.


If we take Facebook as an example, this is broken down into the following:

  • Benchmarking – See how your brand is doing in relation to your competitors – fans, engagement, share of voice, trending content, etc. Here’s an example of the share of voice section.
Share of voice
View how your brand is doing against competitors on Facebook
  • Publishing – What content is working, when is it working, what is getting the most likes/comments/shares? Here is an example of Twitter posting volume. The larger circles indicate when most activity occurred. This is a view for a particular brand but you can also view overall stats to show you and your competitors all on the same chart.
Twitter Posting
View an overall chart or drill down on a particular brand
  • Community – This shows you the most engaging content shared by fans, the key influencers, what the community are talking about, the content fans are posting, etc.

For Twitter analytics, benchmarking and publishing analytics is supported but there is no option for ‘community support’ feature. For YouTube channels, only the benchmarking analytics is supported. For Google + and Instagram, the only supported functionality is leaderboard analytics.

Overall Opinion

Zuum provides you very good Twitter and Facebook analytics that allow to figure out what is working/not working on your accounts. Good, detailed analytics that is very easy to use.

Currently, there is less support for YouTube, Google+ and Instagram but this is being added (I have a release that will be out next week that now has this functionality).


5. SoTrender

SoTrender provide analytics for Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. As well as providing the analytics, it gives you recommendations on how to resolve some of the issues, which is useful.

How much will it cost you?

Price starts at $15 per month and you get access to all analytics for up to 10,000 profiles for one brand. At $70 per month, you can analyze up to 100,000 profiles, you get competition tracking and can analyze three brands. There is also a platinum and gold version.

What are the main features?

  • Support for Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter
  • Data-driven tips and recommendations – based on your analytics, you can access tips to improve the results
  • Highly customizable reports
  • Competition tracking and industry benchmarking
  • Workflow management via tasks

How does it work?

You connect your relevant social media accounts to your SoTrender account and allow it a few hours to gather data. Then, you can start to look at your analytics in the form of charts and graphs.

Here, we see the engagements stats…


And here, the days of the week on which we get the most engagement.

These can all be accessed in the left-hand menu on the page.

Which days of the week are your Facebook fans the most engaged?
Which days of the week are your Facebook fans the most engaged?

SoTrender also offers users tips to improve their social media accounts, an analysis of the types of posts you share, and a summary of your fans’ demographics.

There are some beta features, too, that look like they could be promising in the future.

Beta functionality for SoTrender
Beta functionality for SoTrender

Overall Opinion

If you want a way to look at your analytics in a way that is nicely presented and accessible, SoTrender is a good, affordable option. It may not be as high performance a some, but it will give you a new perspective on your social media stats and help you to improve your performance and engagement.


6. Quintly

Quintly provides analytics for Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter. The information is laid out in customizable dashboards where you can add widgets for data or stats you want to monitor. A list of standard widgets are provided.

How much will it cost you?

There’s a free option with limited Facebook analytics and then a starting price of $69 per month that includes analytics for the 4 platforms and 7 profiles (each account/page is a profile). Further options are $199 for 20 profiles and $399 for 45 profiles.

What are the main features?

  • Analytics provided for Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn company pages
  • Create multiple dashboards that contain a different set of clients or customers
  • PDF reports that are nicely formatted and presented
  • Competitive analysis reporting.

How does it work?

When you add your social profiles (and those of any competitors), you are presented with a customizable dashboard with widgets containing graphs/data. You can also set up multiple dashboards.

Here is an example of the graphs.

Quintly Charts
An example of charts provided by Quintly

You can customize the dashboard according to your needs by adding/removing any widgets.

Quintly Widgets
Select from a good variety of standard widgets

Reports are available as PDF, JPG, PNG, XLS or CSV.

Overall Opinion

A nice, easy user interface is provided by Quintly and I particularly like the dashboard approach where you can customize your own widgets. It comes in at an attractive starting price for your social media analytics.

Download a summary of what social media analytics you need to keep track of and a summary table of tools to use. Bonus: We outline what tools we use to keep track of social media.


As your social media presence grows, you will need to consider investing in some 3rd-party analytics tools. Ideally, you want a cross-platform tool with good competitive analysis. The selection of social media analytics tools we have covered gives you some good options.

What is your experience with the tools? What works best for you?


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