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Starter Guide to Social Media Analytics

Track all of your social media analytics in one place. With a self-serve, lightweight BI tool like PowerMetrics, you can supercharge your social media strategy with the data and insights to make better business decisions.

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Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with your audience and promoting your brand. To make the most of your social media efforts, you should leverage the data you get from each platform to get useful insights into your audience's behavior and preferences. 

Let’s explore what social media analytics entails, why it’s important, what metrics you should track, and what tools you can use for your analytics. 

What is social media analytics?

Social media analytics is the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data from social media platforms. This involves tracking metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and follower growth to understand how users interact with your content. 

With this type of analytics, you can measure the effectiveness of your social media strategy and make decisions based on concrete data to improve engagement and reach.

Why is it important to track social media analytics?

Tracking social media analytics helps you know who to reach and how well your campaign engages followers and your target audience. It also tells you whether your social media marketing efforts are yielding positive returns. 

Let’s discuss these reasons in depth.

Understanding your audience

When you analyze data from platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can see which types of content your audience responds to the most. This includes likes, shares, comments, and more. 

By understanding what your audience likes, you can create content that resonates with them, leading to higher engagement rates.

Measuring campaign performance

Social media analytics lets you stay on top of various metrics such as engagement rates, follower growth, and conversion rates. This data helps you determine which campaigns are successful and which ones need improvement.

Optimizing your strategy

As you measure campaign performance, you get to optimize your social media strategy for better results. For example, if you notice that videos receive more engagement than images, you can focus more on creating video content.

Similarly, if posts published at certain times of the day get more interactions, you can adjust your posting schedule accordingly. Social media analytics tools make it easier to identify these trends and make data-driven decisions.

Demonstrating ROI

By tracking metrics such as conversions and revenue generated from social media campaigns, you can show how your social media activities contribute to the overall success of your business. This information is crucial when justifying your social media budget and resources to stakeholders.

Enhancing customer engagement

Social media analytics tools provide real-time insights into user behavior, allowing you to respond quickly and effectively to your audience. This not only improves your relationship with your customers but also boosts your brand's visibility and reputation on social media platforms.

Identifying trends and opportunities

Social media analytics enables you to stay ahead of industry trends and capitalize on emerging opportunities. You can also get insights into what your competitors are doing. This information allows you to adapt your strategy to stay competitive and relevant in today’s ever-changing digital times.

Enhancing customer service

As you monitor comments, mentions, and messages, you can quickly identify customer concerns and address them promptly. Social media analytics tools provide real-time alerts and insights into customer interactions, allowing you to respond efficiently, improving customer satisfaction, and strengthening your brand's reputation for excellent customer service.

Best social media metrics to track

From the number of likes and followers to tracking web visitors by traffic source and ad impressions and reach, here are the best social media metrics you should monitor:

Likes

Likes are a basic yet important metric in social media analytics since they indicate how many users appreciate your content. With this metric, such as Facebook Likes, you can check the popularity of your posts and understand what type of content resonates with your audience.

Tracking likes also provides insights into user behavior over time. You can see trends and patterns in what content works best during specific times of the day or days of the week.

This helps you schedule your posts for maximum engagement. Likes, while simple, are a powerful indicator of user interest and can significantly influence your social media strategy.

Engagement

Engagement includes likes, comments, shares, and other interactions users have with your content. High engagement rates indicate that your content is interesting and relevant to your audience.

Analyzing this metric, like post engagement, allows you to improve your social media presence by focusing on the types of content that drive the most interaction. Aside from likes, you also want people to share your posts or comment on them since this makes it more likely that your content is relevant to them. 

Followers growth

A steady increase in followers suggests that your content is attracting more people. This metric is important for understanding the overall reach of your social media presence.

Understanding the sources of your followers can also provide valuable insights. For example, if a significant number of followers come from a particular campaign or promotion, you can analyze what worked well and replicate that success in future efforts. 

Traffic conversions

Social traffic conversions are the number of people who sign up for a newsletter, make a purchase, or download a resource. Tracking this metric allows you to see the direct impact of your social media campaigns on your business outcomes.

Take note that not every conversion is, take note that not every conversion is equal and some may hold more value for your business than others. This data can help you refine your campaigns, target the right audience segments, and optimize your content to increase conversions and ultimately achieve your business goals.

Social interactions

Social interactions encompass all the ways users engage with your content, including likes, shares, and comments. Monitoring these elements as a whole shows you whether you’ve established a strong connection with your audience or not.

Social sentiment

Social sentiment analysis involves checking the emotions and opinions expressed in user comments and posts about your brand. With this, you can assess public perception of your brand and identify areas for improvement. Positive sentiment can boost your brand image, while negative sentiment can highlight issues that need addressing.

Social shares and social media mentions

Social shares indicate how often users share your content with their followers. High share rates suggest that your content is valuable and worth spreading. Social media mentions refer to the number of times users mention your brand in their posts. Both metrics help you understand the reach and impact of your content.

Web visitors by channel source

Tracking web visitors by channel source helps you see which social media platforms drive the most traffic to your website. This way, you can optimize your social media strategy and focus your efforts on the most effective channels.

For example, if a significant portion of your web traffic comes from Instagram, you might invest more in Instagram marketing. This data-driven approach helps you maximize the impact of your social media efforts.

Ad impressions and reach

Ad impressions refer to the number of times your ads are displayed, while reach indicates the number of unique users who see your ads. Tracking these metrics, such as Facebook ad impressions and reach, helps you understand how widely your ads are seen on the platform and how many users they reach.

Optimizing your ads involves comparing the performance of different campaigns and ad placements. Make sure to A/B test and analyze the data to refine your targeting and messaging for better results. 

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

MQLs are potential customers who have shown interest in a company's products or services through marketing efforts. You can measure these leads based on specific criteria such as demographic information, behavioral data, engagement level, budget, and timing. 

It’s important to track MQLs since they’re more likely to become customers compared to general leads. This is because they have taken actions like downloading a white paper, attending a webinar, or requesting a demo. Identifying MQLs involves analyzing data and scoring leads based on their likelihood of success.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

Unlike MQLs, who still need more nurturing, SQLs are more ready to make a purchase. They have typically gone through further qualification by the sales team, often through direct communication, and are closer to making a buying decision. 

Tracking SQLs is crucial for sales teams because they help prioritize efforts on leads most likely to convert. Identifying SQLs involves evaluating factors like budget, authority, need, and timeline (BANT) to make sure they’re genuinely interested and capable of making a purchase.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS is a metric used to measure customer loyalty and satisfaction. You calculate it based on responses to the question, "How likely are you to recommend our product or service to a friend or colleague?" 

Customers respond on a scale of 0 to 10, with 9-10 being "Promoters," 7-8 being "Neutrals," and 0-6 being "Detractors." The NPS is the percentage of Promoters minus the percentage of Detractors. 

Knowing this score in the context of social media analytics helps you gauge the overall sentiment of your audience and their willingness to promote your brand online. High NPS scores indicate strong customer satisfaction and loyalty, reflecting positively on your social media efforts. 

Native social media analytics tools

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube provide in-app analytics to help you monitor your brand’s performance on their respective platforms. Let’s go through each one and see how you can use them for your social media analytics:

Facebook Insights

Facebook Insights is a powerful native social media analytics tool that provides detailed metrics about your Facebook Page. Its Page Overview section provides a summary of your Page’s performance over the last 7, 14, 28, or 90 days. Key metrics include:

  • Post Reach: Shows the number of people who have seen your content at least once. It is different from impressions, which may include multiple views by the same users.
  • Engagement: Refers to how many reactions, comments, shares, and clicks your posts receive
  • Net Followers: Provides data on the number of new followers minus the number of unfollows.
  • 3-Second Video Views: Displays the number of times your videos played for at least three seconds, providing insights into the initial interest in your video content.
  • 1-Minute Video Views: Shows the number of times your videos played for at least one minute.

Meta Business Suite

You can view metrics, trends, and visual reports that highlight which strategies are working and where improvements are needed in Facebook’s Meta Business Suite. This platform displays additional data, including trends in reach, cross-platform ad spend, and engagement metrics for both organic and boosted posts. 

Instagram Insights

Instagram is a popular platform for Millennials and older Gen Z, with nearly 32% of users falling in the 18-24 age range. Using Instagram Insights is valuable for your account's growth, engagement, and reach.

These are the metrics you can find on Account Insights:

  • Reach: Shows the number of unique accounts that have seen your content. Increasing your reach means more people are discovering your posts.
  • Engagement: Measures the interactions your posts receive, including likes, comments, shares, and saves.
  • Follower Growth: Tracks the number of new followers over a specified period.
  • Demographics: Provides insights into the age, gender, and location of your audience to help you tailor your content to meet their preferences better.
  • Reels Insights: Displays Plays, Accounts Reached, and Average Watch Time that help you understand how well your Reels are performing.
  • Live Insights: Show the reach and interactions of your live broadcasts.
  • Stories Insights: Includes metrics such as Views, Replies, and Exits.

You can track Instagram analytics in Meta Business Suite, which allows you to manage multiple Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts from a single dashboard. This makes it easier to coordinate your social media strategy across platforms.

X (Twitter) Analytics

X (Twitter) Analytics includes the post activity dashboard, which lets you view metrics such as reposts, replies, likes, follows, and clicks for each post. Understanding these metrics helps you identify what type of content engages your audience the most.

You can access the post activity dashboard on both desktop and mobile devices, which offers these key features:

  • Real-Time Engagement: Track how people interact with your posts as they happen.
  • Detailed Metrics: Click on any post to get a breakdown of its performance, including reposts, replies, and likes. You can also view how many detail expands and embedded media clicks you got, which refer to the clicks on your posts to view more details or a photo or video, respectively.
  • Audience Insights: Learn more about the demographics and behavior of the users who engage with your posts.
  • Download Metrics: Export your post metrics for further analysis.

Twitter remains a powerful platform for establishing your authority in your industry. Leverage X (Twitter) analytics to create more content that showcases your thought leadership.

TikTok Insights

TikTok is a favorite among the younger generation of web users. 25% of US TikTok users are between 10 to 19 years old. Additionally, 47.4% of users are under 30.

Knowing this, you should leverage TikTok analytics to create a data-driven content strategy, especially if your target audience are young people. Track metrics like video views, likes, comments, shares, and follower demographics to engage your audience better and achieve your social media goals.

TikTok's analytics dashboard has four primary sections: overview, content, followers, and LIVE. Each section provides detailed data to help you track your performance:

  • Video Views: Displays a bar graph showing how many views your videos have received over the last seven days.
  • Profile Views: Shows the number of profile views over your selected date range.
  • Engagement Metrics: Track likes, comments, and shares for each video to see which content generates the most interaction.
  • Follower Analytics: Offers detailed information about your followers, including total and net followers, growth rate, gender, age demographics, top countries, and most active times.
  • Content Analytics: Provides specific data about your posts, including the most viewed videos, trending videos, video views by section, and video views by region.
  • TikTok LIVE Analytics: Offers insights into your live video performance, such as total views, total time spent hosting live videos, new followers gained during live sessions, top viewer count, unique viewers, and diamonds (virtual gifts).

TikTok has shown how compelling video content can be. Make sure to analyze your content and follower insights to create videos that will keep your brand top-of-mind.

Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest Analytics provides insights into paid and organic content, helping you see what types of posts drive the most engagement. By understanding these metrics, you can tailor your content to meet your audience's needs better.

Here are eight key metrics you can track on the platform:

  • Engagements: The total number of engagements on your Pins, including saves, Pin clicks, outbound clicks, carousel card swipes, and secondary creative clicks.
  • Save Rate: The total saves of your Pins divided by the total number of times your Pins were on screen.
  • Pin Click Rate: The total number of clicks from your Pin or ad to content on or off Pinterest, divided by the total number of times your Pins or ads were on screen.
  • Outbound Clicks: The number of times people perform actions that lead them to a destination off Pinterest.
  • Profile Visits: The number of times people visited your profile after viewing one of your Pins.
  • Played to 95%: The number of times your video was viewed to 95% of its length.
  • Monthly Total Audience: The total number of people who have seen or engaged with your Pins in a 30-day window up to and including each day.
  • Monthly Engaged Audience: The total number of people who have engaged with your Pins in a 30-day window up to and including each day.

Use Pinterest Analytics to get an at-a-glance view of your performance. Check your top Pins and boards to understand which content performs best. Then, use this information to create more similar content that resonates with your audience.

LinkedIn Analytics

LinkedIn Analytics helps you understand the performance of your LinkedIn Page. In the platform, you can check data for your content, followers, leads, and competitors, such as:

  • Effectiveness of Updates: Measure how well your updates are performing.
  • Posted Videos: Evaluate the engagement and reach of your video content.
  • Demographics: Learn about the age, gender, location, and job functions of your followers.
  • Sources: Discover how followers found your page, whether through search, recommendations, or other means.
  • Employee Engagement: Measure how employees interact with the content you recommend.
  • Career Pages Engagement: Track how well your Career Pages are performing.

Visibility on LinkedIn is valuable, especially for business-to-business (B2B) companies. Use the platform’s in-app analytics tool to optimize your posts, understand your followers better, and refine your approach to engaging with them.

YouTube Studio Analytics

With nearly three billion active monthly users, you should definitely be using YouTube analytics to boost your brand’s video and channel performance. It provides a range of metrics and reports, such as:

  • Top Content: Identify your most popular content over the last 28 days.
  • Top Remixed Content: See which of your content has been used to create Shorts.
  • Views: Number of legitimate views on your content.
  • Impressions and Click-Through Rate: How often thumbnails lead to views and watch time.
  • Viewer Interaction: How viewers found your content and the number of subscribers gained from each content type.
  • Key Moments for Audience Retention: Understand how different moments of your video held viewers' attention.
  • Impressions and Watch Time: How impressions led to watch time.
  • Bell Notifications: Number of notifications sent to subscribers.
  • YouTube Search: Traffic from search terms that brought viewers to your content.
  • End Screen Click Rate: How often viewers clicked an end screen element.
  • Earnings Breakdown: How much your channel earned in the last six months.
  • Revenue Sources: Different ways you’re making money on YouTube.
  • Video Performance: How much your videos, Shorts, and live streams earned.

By regularly reviewing YouTube analytics, you can continue creating compelling videos that will keep your audience engaged and grow your channel.

Best third-party social media analytics tools

Aside from native social media apps, you can use third-party tools for your analytics. Sprout Social, Buffer, and HootSuite can help you consolidate data from multiple platforms and monitor them at a glance. Here’s a closer look at each of them:

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a powerful social media analytics tool that helps you understand your social media performance in detail. Its unique features include:

  • Interactive Charts and Graphs: Visualize performance to see what resonates with your audience.
  • Paid Performance Reporting: Evaluate social advertising across channels to identify top-performing campaigns.
  • Hashtag Tracking Tools: Discover popular hashtags to increase reach and grow your following.
  • Profile Performance Report: Get a high-level overview of performance across all connected profiles.
  • Competitor Reports: Benchmark your performance against competitors to find new opportunities.
  • Team and Task Reports: Measure team productivity by tracking responses and task completion.

The Standard plan costs $249 per user per month (billed annually) and includes 5 social profiles, an all-in-one inbox, scheduling tools, and basic reporting features. 

The Professional plan at $399 per user per month (billed annually) adds unlimited profiles, competitive reports, and advanced analytics. The Advanced plan, priced at $499 per user per month (billed annually), includes AI-enhanced features, chatbots, and CRM integrations. 

There’s also a customized solution, the Enterprise plan offers tailored onboarding, professional consulting, and access to premium features like social listening and influencer marketing.

Sprout Social's analytics tools help you track paid performance, hashtag trends, and profile performance, making it easy to create detailed reports and improve your social media efforts.

Buffer

Buffer is designed to help you measure social media performance, create detailed reports, and grow your brand. Key features include:

  • Comprehensive Performance Tracking: Analyze your performance across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn from one dashboard.
  • Boosted Post Insights: Compare paid vs. organic post results to optimize your strategy.
  • Stories and Post Analytics: Measure the success of stories, individual posts, and hashtags.
  • Custom Reports: Create and share personalized reports with your team, updated daily.
  • Audience Demographics: Understand your audience better through detailed demographic data.

Buffer’s Free plan allows connection to up to 3 channels with basic scheduling and an AI Assistant. The Essentials plan costs $5 per month per channel, providing engagement tools, analytic reports, and collaboration features. 

The Team plan, at $10 per month per channel, includes unlimited users, advanced collaboration tools, and custom reports. The Agency plan is $100 per month for 10 channels and includes custom access, permissions, and agency-friendly pricing, making it ideal for businesses managing multiple social media accounts.

Buffer allows you to analyze posts, compare paid vs. organic results, and understand your audience demographics. It also helps you create and share customized reports with your team, providing daily updates and various export options for easy sharing.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a robust social media analytics tool that provides deep insights into your social platforms. Unique features include:

  • All-in-One Dashboard: View all your social networks in one place to improve your strategy.
  • Advanced Analytics: Measure your social media ROI, compare performance with competitors, and find the best times to post.
  • Efficient Reporting Tools: Create detailed reports with clear visuals and interactive charts.
  • Top-Performing Posts Identification: Quickly identify and repurpose top-performing content.
  • Comprehensive Data Tracking: Track performance across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Hootsuite offers three main pricing plans to manage your social media. The Professional plan costs $99 per month (billed annually) for one user and 10 social accounts, including unlimited post scheduling, analytics, and Canva integration. The Team plan is $249 per month (billed annually) for 3 users and 20 social accounts, adding features like link in bio tools, team roles, and advanced analytics. 

Just like Sprout Social, Hootsuite has an Enterprise plan, which offers custom pricing for 5+ users and 50+ social accounts, providing advanced tools for engagement, campaign management, and priority support. Additional premium features like social listening and advanced inbox management can also be added to any plan.

Hootsuite provides advanced analytics to measure your social media ROI, compare your performance with competitors, and find the best times to post. Hootsuite's reporting tools simplify the process of creating detailed social media analytics reports, helping you track data across all major platforms.

Using dashboards for social media analytics

While native social media analytics and third-party tools are useful, you should use a dashboard to let you dive deeper into your data. Tools like PowerMetrics allow you to create easy-to-understand dashboards that update in real-time, which is helpful in making informed decisions and adjusting your social media strategy as needed.

You can customize your dashboard to show the metrics that matter most to you. Whether it's engagement rates, follower growth, or traffic conversions, you can tailor the dashboard to fit your specific needs.

PowerMetrics is designed with a no-code, user-friendly approach. Business users can create and explore metrics without needing technical skills, making it accessible to everyone in your organization.

Check out our social media starter guides

  1. Starter Guide to Facebook Analytics
  2. Starter Guide to LinkedIn Analytics
  3. Starter Guide to Instagram Analytics
  4. Starter Guide to YouTube Analytics