May 2017 Update: We’ve added even more tools for 2017, check out our updated list of social media analytics tools below.
When it comes to measuring and reporting social media analytics, finding the right tool for the job is incredibly important.
Luckily, for most social professionals, the industry is overflowing with a variety of analytics platforms ranging in price, user experience, effectiveness and niche.
With options abounding, we have compiled a comprehensive list of social media analytics tools to help you determine what’s the best fit for you, your team and your clients.
Before you review the list, we wanted to take a moment to define social media analytics if you’re a little green. (Experts, feel free to skip directly to the tools section)
What is Social Media Analytics?
At NetBase, we define social media analytics as gathering data from social media platforms and online content to guide business decisions. It takes many forms, but is all about gaining actionable social insights to help guide your marketing strategy.
Even though social media analytics can get rather complex, at its core there are three main parts:
1. Identify your primary business goals.
Whether it’s growing traffic, increasing downloads or building positive brand perception, setting clear business objectives gives analytics its purpose.
2. Determine social key performance indicators (KPIs).
Deciding what engagement metrics to be measure including:
- Shares, retweets, follows, likes
- Comments and replies
- Clicks on post content and links
3. Measure & Analyze Social Data.
By collecting and analyzing the vast amounts of social data (probably with one of the tools below), you can determine how social media is impacting your business objectives and adjust from there.
Sections in this Article
Without further ado, we present our list of social media analytics tools. Please jump to your preferred section with the links below or start scrolling through the entire list.
5 Built-in Social Media Analytics Dashboards
First are the analytics built into some of the top social networks themselves. These tools are an excellent starting point toward understanding your audience.
It’s not just insights on your own page Facebook offers – it’s social media intelligence on competitors’ pages as well. Yes, you can see how many people saw your posts, and actions they took on your page, like whether they clicked for directions, or to visit your website. You can see gender and location demographics on your page’s followers. But the most useful metric just might be the Pages to Watch area, which lets you see what posts are succeeding for your competitors. After all, if it’s working for them…
Twitter’s built-in analytics tell you a lot about which tweets are succeeding and to what degree – even if they don’t tell you why. The audience metrics break your audience into percentages based on interests, occupation, gender, household income, and net worth. And the events tab clues you into which current events – like Comic Con and Lollapalooza – have everyone abuzz. Popular recurring hashtags are also highlighted, arming you with the means to be on trend with your posts. Missing is the ability to target individual audience segments with messaging just for them. But you at least have an idea of where to aim to please the majority of your audience.
You need a business account to use Pinterest’s analytics, but you can convert a personal account for free to see what users love about your Pinterest profile and what visitors like to save from your company’s website. New audience metrics let you see what your followers are into, and who else they follow – so you have a better idea what to pin. And knowing what your audience wants is half the battle.
Start by converting your profile to a free business profile – if you haven’t already. Once you do, access Insights by clicking the icon resembling a bar graph at the top left – between the “person” icon and the three dots that bring you to the Options menu. From there you can view impressions, reach and profile views for the past week, as well as demographic info about your followers, and the average days of the week and times of day they’re active on Instagram. You can also view insights for your Stories and any active promotions.
Instagram’s 200 million daily active users already make the network appealing to marketers. Insights into those users just ups the ante, while helping pinpoint “which posts worked to convert users to followers, or which posts may have spread virally.”
Speaking of viral, video is one of the most engaging types of social content out there, so understanding what works and what doesn’t is crucial. YouTube’s analytics show you where traffic is coming from, but also has filters so you can see if videos are more popular in a specific region, or over a specific date range. Earnings reports show you which ad formats drive revenue, while audience retention graphs illustrate which videos are holding viewer attention – and being liked/shared – and which are not. Use your Average Watch Time as a guide for front-loading key information in your videos.
Beyond the Built-ins
Not every social platform offers its own analytics – note the absence of Tumblr, for example.
And these insights aren’t necessarily the most in-depth available. The more social networks your brand interacts on, the less these built-in analytics make sense to use. It’s takes too much time and effort to look into multiple places to understand what’s happening with your brand across the social web.
Luckily there are also free tools that span multiple platforms, or offer deeper insights – or both.
15 Free Social Media Analytics Tools
For those with smaller Twitter accounts – i.e., a community of 5000 combined followers and those you follow – Audiense offers a free Twitter analytics tool. Find out your best time to tweet in the next day or week, along with data about your followers’ geographic location and language, interests, and their level of influence. Plans for larger Twitter communities start at $31.15/month.
Scheduling posts is Buffer’s primary function, but that’s hardly its only merit. The free version allows for scheduling of posts to one account each on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram – up to 10 posts in your queue at a time, per network. Though that means you need to schedule more frequently, you do get the benefit of seeing which posts in the past 30 days were most – and least – popular, got the most clicks, mentions, and retweets, etc. To monitor more accounts or see more complex analytics, upgraded plans start at $10/month.
Cyfe is an all-in-one dashboard that monitors and analyzes data found across all your online services, including Google Analytics, Salesforce, AdSense, MailChimp, Amazon, Facebook, WordPress, Zendesk, and social feeds from one single location in real-time. The free version is limited to 5 widgets, but there’s a ton of flexibility to how you assemble those five. You could pick the social media networks you’re most focused on for a widget or two, and then additionally monitor your blog’s performance, an email service like MailChimp, or SEO to round things out. Of course if you are active on a number of social accounts, free may not be enough to give you all the insights you want. But the ability to visualize data is nice. Unlimited dashboards/widgets and more start at $14/month when paid annually.
If your need for social data is limited to Twitter, you can connect a single profile with Followerwonk and get insights on social authority rankings, as well as view your followers, their locations, and when they’re active. You can search Twitter profiles, as well as search bios for keywords – with limitations. You get more if you subscribe, but if you need somewhere to start, this is bare bones and simple. Subscriptions start at $20/month.
While you’re shopping for more in-depth analytics solutions, Google Alerts keep you informed whenever your brand – or your competitors – are mentioned online, based on the alerts you set. Along with letting you know when you’re making headlines – important if it’s in a bad way especially – it’s also perfect for discovering topical content to share with your audience.
Considered one of the top social media management systems, Hootsuite is a web-based dashboard that enables your business or organization to execute campaigns across multiple social networks. In addition to being a scheduling tool, Hootsuite helps you identify audiences, distribute targeted messages, launch marketing campaigns, streamline workflow and much more. It also provides weekly reports on your social analytics. Social network integrations include, among others, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Start with three social profiles for free, or upgrade starting at $19/month.
Enter your brand’s name into the search field and have instant access to your brand’s “magnitude.” What’s that? “An indication of the level of activity around a brand during a given week. The range is from 0 to 10.” In addition, see your brand magnitude across 12 social networks, including LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, YouTube and Reddit. It’s about the easiest way to see which of the 12 your brand is succeeding best on – and where you need to rethink your strategy. Doesn’t tell you what you’re doing wrong, though – or how to fix it. Go Pro for $9 per three months and up.
Simple, real-time stats for Twitter and Instagram is what you’ll find on Keyhole. Search on hashtags, keywords, @accounts/@mentions, and URLs for a nice snapshot that includes number of posts/users, reach, impressions, a timeline of post activity, top posts, related topics, most influential (by engagement, Klout score, and frequency), recent users, top sites, location, share of posts, sentiment, top sources, and demographics. For continued tracking of multiple hashtags/accounts, upgrade starting at $132/month billed annually.
There are a number of free tools to choose from – whether you want to find Twitter or Instagram influencers, or view Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook page analytics revealing your level of influence based on posting activity. If you want more, their start-up plan is $250/month.
Your Klout Score measures your impact online, while also telling you where you stand with regard to your expert topics. Clicking on each topic shows you relevant content to share, as well as top authors to follow, so you can increase your Score by posting what your audience is looking for.
If you want to “set it and forget it,” you can receive free weekly reports from Peakfeed for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Klout, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn. It’s a time-saving idea for those who want a quick look at the basics, though not having real-time data is a big disadvantage when things go sideways. What is nice is being able to quickly see which accounts are gaining followers and engagement, and which aren’t – which tells you where to focus your efforts. Peakfeed is still in beta, so new users are only let in “in batches.” But you could get a free account for life – which is pretty cool.
Quickly see Twitter or Instagram stats like your average number of retweets and likes, as well as most-used words, hashtags and emojis, for both your followers, and those you’re following. Filter both to see who is most engaged, most valuable, and who is your best follower. Also see top follower locations, when followers are most active, and what types of posts they share (photo/video/non-media). Popular words and hashtags let you know what your followers are talking about so you can join the conversation. Upgrade to Premium for $49/month to do more.
SumAll has reverted to making their daily and weekly email digests free again, which at the moment lets you connect Twitter and Instagram to receive stats via email. Facebook pages, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest are coming soon, allowing a quick glimpse of multiple network data in one place. You can connect as many accounts as you like, and it is free “however you spin it. Pinky swear.”
For a quick snapshot of your Twitter account, specified hashtags, or keywords, TweetReach – part of Union Metrics – is about as simple as it gets. Enter your terms in a search box like Google, and voila! You’ll have an instant look at your estimated accounts reached, “exposure” based on impressions, top contributors, and most retweeted tweets. A nice plus – you can search any account, which is great for competitive intelligence. Data returned is limited to 100 tweets, however. Purchase a snapshot of up to 1500 tweets over 7 days for $20, or upgrade your plan to include more insights, extending to Instragram and Facebook, starting at $99/month.
This platform is all about getting more exposure for your Pinterest profile and Pins. Following other users and repinning earns you points which can be applied to promoting Pins. The free version allows for uploading of only three Pins at a time – so posting original content becomes a bit of a challenge, but repinning via their automation tool keeps you engaged. Basic analytics like Spam and SEO Check and Best Pinning Time are on offer – all of which is great if Pinterest is your primary or sole social platform. You’ll need to seek out a secondary tool for anything else. Upgrades start at $10/month and provide access to their Pin scheduler, which also lets you schedule Instagram posts.
4 Paid Social Media Analytics Tools
Free can get you a lot – but most, if not all, the above platforms offer even more when you upgrade to a paid plan.
If you have the budget for something with a little more “oomph,” the following tools have either free trial periods, or one-on-one demos available – so you can try before you buy.
With a focus on consumer sentiment – the driving force behind all social posting – NetBase is a cut above many social media intelligence offerings. This industry-recognized platform deciphers multiple languages, as well as online “slanguage” and emojis, and even logos within images. Real-time monitoring of social networks including Twitter, Tumblr, and more means brands can be immediately alerted to reputational threats, and keep brand health at a maximum. Use Instant Search for insights as easy as a Google search, or go more in-depth with additional tools.
Price: Varies depending on your needs – ask us!
This Pinterest- and Instagram-focused app makes scheduling Pins, repins, Instagrams and regrams a snap, while providing critical data on repins/regrams, likes, comments, traffic and revenue on scheduled Pins. Analyze trending topics and branded content insights to deliver what your audience most desires, or monitor competitors to find out what’s working for them. You can see trending topics in context, and measure brand and industry share of voice across Pinterest/Instagram.
Price: Starts at $9.99/month when billed annually.
Schedule and monitor social posts using Sprout Social, and gather the insights you need to prove social marketing ROI to the C-Suite. Track social messages in a single stream via the Smart Inbox, and use Twitter keywords and Instagram hashtags to engage. Salesforce integration and other team tools make this a smart choice for varied budgets.
Price: Starting at $99 per user/month.
As an “official Tumblr Preferred Data Partner,” Union Metrics has a lot to offer businesses tracking engagement across the popular blogging network – like ability to analyze your brand, industry, events, competitors, and campaigns. But you don’t have to limit yourself to Tumblr. Their Social Suite Plans allow for monitoring of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram too – for brands with a more robust social presence.
Price: $99/month and up.
Finding your fit
This list is hardly comprehensive, but it’s proof enough there are numerous options for tracking consumer attitudes, opinions, sentiment and behaviors online.
The more you can learn about what your audience wants, the better you’ll be able to engage them – so choosing some platform is vital to your brand’s social marketing success.
Which platform is the right one? That’s up to you. There’s something to be said for the idea that you get what you pay for – but sometimes you get a lot more. And sometimes you can get by – at least for a time – with something completely free.
Each of the platforms listed here offers a portion of what’s needed to gain a dimensional picture of your audience – but few of them “have it all.” In those cases, what you save in cost might be lost in efforts to cobble together insights from multiple sources.
Either way, applying social media analytics tools is a step in the right direction for all forward-thinking brands – and any of the above would be a good place to start.
Ready for a social listening platform that has it all? Reach out to schedule a demo today!
Image from Jason Howie