What is social media analytics? (Plus free and paid tools)
With the help of social media analytics, you can better understand which of your social media actions and strategies are working and which are not. This allows you to better focus your time, effort, and budget.
You can also use analytics to generate social media performance reports that you can share with your team, your stakeholders, and your boss.
This article will tell you about some of the best free social media analytics tools for free, as well as some more robust paid options. We'll explain how you can use them most effectively to analyze and improve results.
Bonus: Get a Free Social Media Analytics Report Template That will show you the most important metrics to track for each network.
Social media analytics is the process of Track, collect and analyze data from social networks. It is used by marketers to understand social media performance, track key social media metrics, and generate reports for social media.
Social media analytics can include:
- A single social network. This approach can be helpful when examining the results of a particular social media campaign.
- All social networks in which your company is active. This approach is useful for setting long-term goals and assessing the business impact of your social media presence.
Basically, the scope of your social media analysis can be as narrow or broad as you need, depending on the insights you are looking for.
# 1 social media analytics tool: Hootsuite Analytics
Key Benefits: Performance data from every social network in one place with easy-to-understand reports
Most social media management platforms have built-in analytics tools. We hope you will forgive us for making Hootsuite's reporting features our favorite.
Hootsuite Analytics gives you a complete picture of all your social media activity in one place. This simplifies your social media analysis. This saves time and makes it easier to compare aggregated results across networks.
You'll see key metrics for each of your social posts, including:
- To reach
- Video views
- Video range
It also shows metrics for each of your profiles, including follower growth over time. You can choose the metrics that matter most to you so you can see all the relevant results at a glance.
The customizable templates allow you to track, analyze and monitor your performance on any social network. With just one click you can export these reports to Excel, PowerPoint, PDF or CSV. The result is a clear, easy-to-read social media analytics report that you can share with your team, your clients, or your boss.
Hootsuite Analytics also provides a clear picture of social team performance metrics, including:
- reaction time
- Resolution time for assigned posts, mentions, and comments.
Want to learn more about how the Hootsuite Analytics Suite can help you drive your social media strategy? Download our fact sheet on five things you can do with the Hootsuite Analytics Suite to build stronger customer connections.
Hootsuite Analytics is included in the Hootsuite Professional Plan. You can try it for free for 30 days.
Find out more in the video below or Sign up for a free trial of Hootsuite Analytics.
Social media analysis tool no.2: Google Analytics
Main Benefit: See how much traffic and leads are flowing to your website from your social media channels
Google Analytics is one of the best ways to find out more about your website visitors.
While it's not a social media reporting tool per se, it lets you set up reports to help you:
- See which social media platforms are giving you the most traffic
- See what content works best on which social networks
- Make sure you are using demographics to attract the right audience on social media
- See how many leads and other conversions your business is receiving from social media (sales inquiries, trials, email signups, etc.).
- Calculate the ROI of your social media campaigns
With this data, you can get the most out of your social media campaigns and effectively develop strategies for the future.
More information: How to use Google Analytics to track social media success
Social Media Analytics Tool # 3: UTM parameters
Main Benefit: See how much web traffic and conversions your social media channels and campaigns are generating (for use with a web analytics platform like Google Analytics).
UTM parameters are not a standalone social media analytics tool, but they are important to help you set up Google Analytics (or any other web analytics platform) to optimally measure social performance.
Put simply, are UTM parameters short pieces of code that are appended to the links you share on social media. They tell you very precisely how many people are interacting with your content and landing on your website.
In the screenshot above, the UTM parameter is everything that comes after the question mark.
UTM parameters aren't strictly necessary if you just want to report on social media's performance in terms of engagement, followers, etc. However, if you want to take it to the next level, UTM parameters + Google Analytics will give you more precise data on which social media content and channels are driving traffic and conversions.
You also don't need to know how to write code to include it on your social media posts. If you use a social media management platform like Hootsuite, you can automatically generate UTM parameters in seconds.
More information: Using UTM Parameters for Reliable Social Media Reports
Social media analysis tool no.4: Brandwatch's Hootsuite Insights
Key benefits: Analyze brand sentiment and customer demographics in real time
Hootsuite Insights is a powerful social listening tool that doubles as an analytics tool. It analyzes your earned social mentions so you can measure social sentiment. In the meantime, word clouds provide a visual representation of what people are saying about your brand online.
You can also use Hootsuite Insights to analyze data related to your audience demographics. The most important audience details include gender, location, and language. You can compare demographic data across networks or see the bigger picture of your target group for all networks together.
All of this information gives you a clear picture of how people think about your brand. This is essential information for an effective social media analytics report. This is the data that will tell you whether a surge in mentions is a win or a disaster.
Why analyze the social conversation about your brand? It highlights key ways to reach your audience where they already spend time online talking about your brand and products.
You can also use Hootsuite Insights to conduct market analysis. The tool tracks conversations on news sites, forums and blogs, as well as on social networks. This way you get a complete set of analytics data from across the social web.
More information: Brandwatch's Hootsuite Insights
Social media analysis tool no.5: Brandwatch
Key Benefits: Track and analyze data from 95+ million sources, including blogs, forums and review sites, and social networks
Brandwatch is a powerful tool with five easy-to-use report templates for social media analytics:
- Summary: A general view of the social conversations about your brand, competitors, or keywords.
- Trends: A report of the conversations and accounts affecting a particular topic or hashtag, including mentions per hour or minute.
- Reputation: A review of mood trends that you may need to monitor or address.
- Influencer: A report that allows you to identify influencer marketing opportunities relevant to your brand and analyze their activity.
- Competitive comparison: Benchmarking of social media data on call volume, mood and share of speech.
More information: Brandwatch Hootsuite Integration
Social media analysis tool no.6: Talkwalker
Key Benefits: Monitor conversations from 150 million+ sources to analyze engagement, potential reach, comments, sentiment, and emotions
Talkwalker provides analysis of social conversations beyond your own social characteristics, including:
- Brand sentiment
- Important influencing factors
- Author lists
You can filter by region, demographics, device, content type, and more.
Talkwalker is especially useful for identifying activity spikes in conversations about your brand. This will help you figure out the best times to post your brand on social media.
More information: Talkwalker Hootsuite Integration
Social media analysis tool no.7: Hootsuite Impact
Key Benefits: Track how organic and paid social impacts affect actual business goals and get recommendations for improvement
Hootsuite Impact provides an in-depth look at the performance of your organic and paid social contributions. Then this performance is compared to specific business goals like sales and leads generated. Next, steps are recommended to improve your results.
Hootsuite Impact integrates with tools such as Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics and your ad accounts on the various social platforms. This way you get a complete picture of your post and campaign results in one place. With organic and paid analytics side-by-side, you don't need to collect data from separate tools to create a social media analytics report.
Instead, you'll see exactly how much revenue all of your social endeavors are generating so you can prove your social ROI. Note that ROI is not just about sales. Hootsuite Impact uses a custom ROI formula designed specifically for your business. This way you will get the most relevant and realistic analytics data for your company.
You will also get a clear breakdown showing you exactly how to repeat your successes and improve in the areas where you missed out.
To get the best insights from social analytics, you need to understand how other companies in your industry compare. Hootsuite Impact shows how your results are holding up against your competitors so you can identify areas for improvement.
Learn more about Hootsuite Impact:
Social media analysis tool no.8: Facebook Analytics
Key Benefits: See how people are interacting with your Facebook Page, understand your target audience, and track your Facebook ad performance
Facebook actually offers three built-in social media analysis tools. Since they cover all aspects of Facebook page analysis, we'll treat them as one tool in this post.
Here are the key data points you can collect from any of the three on-platform Facebook analytics tools.
- Facebook Page Insights: Page and Post Engagement, Post and Story Reach, Referrals, Responsiveness, Video Views, Follower Growth, Orders and Earnings when your audience is online, and Benchmarking Competitors.
- Facebook Audience Insights: Track demographic factors such as age, gender, job title, and relationship status for both your existing audience and the entire Facebook audience. Interests and hobbies; Life events; and what other Facebook pages they like.
- Facebook Ad Center: Ad spend, people reached, publish engagement and link clicks.
More information: Using Facebook Page Insights, Using Facebook Audience Insights
Social media analysis tool No. 9: Twitter Analytics
Key Benefits: Understand the performance of your paid and organic Twitter posts and learn which other Twitter accounts have the greatest potential for improving your content
The Twitter analysis is divided into three main sections. There's the Account Home Overview, the Tweet Activity Dashboard, and the Campaign Dashboard. Here's what you can see in each section:
- Account Home: This screen features monthly highlights. You'll find the top tweet, top followers, and top mention of your account. This is where you can take a snapshot of your top performing content and identify potential influencers or brand ambassadors.
- Tweet Activity Dashboard: Track the engagements and impressions of your Tweets over a selected time period. You can click any tweet for more data, including video views, link clicks, retweets, replies, and more. Click Top Tweets for a list of your top performing Tweets with all of their metrics.
- Campaign Dashboard: Track your Twitter ads. The metrics include impressions, reach, engagement rate and cost per action. Once you've set up conversion tracking, you can also get details about how your Twitter ads are driving conversions on your website.
Further information: Use of Twitter Analytics
Social media analysis tool No. 10: Instagram insights
Key Benefits: Learn about your Instagram audience demographics and track the performance of your Instagram posts and stories
Free tool only available for business and creator accounts
Business and Creator accounts can use Instagram Insights to track audience and activity metrics. The information is divided into three main sections:
- Content: Track the performance of individual posts and stories with metrics like likes, replies, and sticker taps.
- Activity: Keep track of how many people see your posts and stories. They also see how they find your content and how many interactions (like profile visits) and your content are received.
- Audience: Find out about your audience demographics and see when they are most likely to be seen on Instagram.
More information: Instagram Analytics and Metrics to Track
Social media analysis tool no.11: Snapchat Insights
Key Benefits: Understand the reach of your Snapchat content and learn more about your audience
Free tool only available to Snap Stars and those with a large number of followers
Snapchat Insights are only available to users with a high number of followers. Snapchat doesn't specifically define this number. To check if you have access, go to your profile screen and look for the Insights option.
Here are the top metrics you can track with Snapchat Insights:
- Views: Find out how many people are viewing your snapshots and how long, broken down by week or month.
- Reach: How many unique views you get per day, plus average view time and completion rate.
- Target group: Find out about the most important interest and lifestyle categories of your target group as well as the most important regions in which they are located.
More information: Snapchat Insights: Using the Analytics Tool (and Tracking)
Social media analysis tool No. 12: Pinterest Analytics
Key Benefits: Understand the interests of your Pinterest audience and keep track of key metrics for both paid and organic Pins
Pinterest's built-in social media analytics tools are divided into two main sections. These are Audience Insights and Pinterest Analytics. Here are the key details to track and analyze with each:
- Audience Insights: Top Categories and Interests, Affinity, Age, Gender, Location and Advice.
- Pinterest Analytics: Track key metrics like impressions, engagements, video views, and link clicks. You can also find Pinterest-specific stats like saving and close-ups.
You can view this information for Organic Pins, Paid Pins, or all of your Pinterest content.
More information: A simple guide to using Pinterest Analytics
Social media analysis tool no.13: LinkedIn Page Analytics
Key Benefits: Understand who is visiting your LinkedIn Page and evaluate the effectiveness of your posts and recruiting efforts
Free tool, only available to site administrators
LinkedIn Page Analytics provides data on three key areas of your LinkedIn endeavors: your posts, your page, and your recruitment. You can measure and track the following in each area:
- Updates: Track impressions, reactions, comments, approvals, and other engagements on both paid and organic posts.
- Visitors: Keep track of how many people have visited your page. Learn about their demographics, including device type, job role, location, seniority, and industry.
- Followers: Discover the same demographic information, but for followers instead of visitors.
More information: LinkedIn Analytics: The Complete Guide for Social Media Marketers
We have created a free social media analytics template that you can use to collect data about your performance on the various social networks.
Bonus: Get a Free Social Media Analytics Report Template That will show you the most important metrics to track for each network.
For more information on effectively sharing your analytics data, check out our post on Creating an Effective Social Media Report.
Track your social media performance and maximize your budget with Hootsuite. Publish your posts and analyze the results in the same easy-to-use dashboard. Try it for free today.
All your social media analytics in one place. Use Hootsuite to see what's working and where you can improve performance.