What Is Social Media Analytics? (Plus Free and Paid Tools)

What Is Social Media Analytics? (Plus Free and Paid Tools)

Social media analytics can help you understand which of your social media actics and strategies are working, and which aren’t. This allows you to better focus your time, effort, and budget.

Analytics also help you create social media performance reports to share with your team, stakeholders, and boss.

In this article, you’ll learn about some of the best free social media analytics tools available, along with some more robust paid options. We’ll cover how to use them most effectively to analyze and improve results.

Bonus: Get a free social media analytics report template that shows you the most important metrics to track for each network.

What is social media analytics?

Social media analytics is the process of tracking, collecting and analyzing data from social networks. It is used by marketers to understand social media performance, keep track of important social media metrics and create social media reports.

Social media analytics may involve:

  • A single social network. This approach can be useful when you’re looking into the results of a specific social media campaign.
  • All the social media networks your business is active on. This approach is useful for long term goal-setting and assessing the business impact of your social media presence.

Basically, the scope of your social media analysis can be as narrow or wide as you need it to be, depending on the insights you’re looking for.

13 of the best social media analytics tools

Social media analytics tool #1: Hootsuite Analytics

Key benefits: Performance data from every social network in one place with easy-to-understand reports

Paid tool

Most social media management platforms have built-in analytics tools. We hope you’ll forgive us for saying Hootsuite’s reporting capabilities are our favorite…

Hootsuite social media analytics dashboard

Hootsuite Analytics offers a complete picture of all your social media efforts in one place. This simplifies your social media analytics work. It saves time and makes it easy to compare aggregate results across networks.

You’ll see key metrics for each of your social posts, including:

  • Clicks
  • Comments
  • Reach
  • Shares
  • Video views
  • Video reach

You’ll also see metrics for each of your profiles, including follower growth over time. You can select the metrics that matter most to you so you can see all the relevant results at a glance.

You can use the customizable templates to track, analyze, and monitor your performance on each social network. And 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 to share with your team, your clients, or your boss.

Hootsuite Analytics also provides a clear picture of social team performance metrics, including:

  • Productivity
  • Response time
  • Resolution time for assigned posts, mentions, and comments.

Want to know more about how the Hootsuite Analytics Suite can help you power your social media strategy? Download our infosheet 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, with you can try for free for 30 days.

Learn more in the video below or sign up for a Hootsuite Analytics free trial.

Social media analytics tool #2: Google Analytics

Key benefit: See how much traffic and leads flow to your website from your social media channels

Free tool

Google Analytics data and graphic showing user flow through a website

Google Analytics is one of the best ways to learn about your website visitors.

While it’s not a social media reporting tool per se, you can use it to set up reports that will help you:

  • See which social media platforms give you the most traffic
  • See what content works best with on which social networks
  • Make sure that you’re attracting the right audience on social media with demographic data
  • See how many leads and other conversions your business gets from social media (sales inquiries, trials, email signups, etc.)
  • Calculate the ROI of your social media campaigns

With this data, you’ll be able to get the most out of your social media campaigns and effectively strategize for the future.

Learn more: How to use Google Analytics to track social media success

Social media analytics tool #3: UTM parameters

Key benefit: See how much web traffic and conversions your social media channels and campaigns generate (to be used with a web analytics platform like Google Analytics)

Free tool

Screenshot of UTM parameters after a social media post link

UTM parameters are not a standalone social media analytics tool, but they are essential in helping you set up Google Analytics (or another web analytics platform) to best measure social performance.

Put simply, UTM parameters are short pieces of code appended to the links you share on social media. They very precisely tell you how many people interact with your content and end up on your website.

In the screenshot above, the UTM parameter is everything that comes after the question mark.

UTM parameters aren’t essential if you’re only concerned about reporting on social media performance in terms of engagement, followers, etc. But 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 drive traffic and conversions.

You don’t need to know how to write code to include them on your social media posts, either. If you use a social media management platform like Hootsuite you can automatically generate UTM parameters in seconds.

Learn more: Using UTM Parameters for robust social media reporting

Social media analytics tool #4: Hootsuite Insights powered by Brandwatch

Key benefits: Analyze brand sentiment and customer demographics in real time

Paid tool

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. Meanwhile, word clouds provide a visual representation of what people are saying about your brand online.

Hootsuite Insights also allows you to analyze data about your audience demographics. Key audience details include gender, location, and language. You can compare demographics across networks, or look at the aggregate picture of your audience for all networks combined.

All of this information gives you a clear picture of how people feel about your brand. This is critical information for an effective social media analytics report. This is the data that tells you whether a spike in mentions is a victory or a disaster.

Why analyze the social conversation about your brand? It reveals key opportunities to reach your audience where they already spend time online talking about your brand and your products.

You can also use Hootsuite Insights to conduct a market analysis. The tool tracks conversations on news sites, forums, and blogs, as well as social networks. This gives you a full set of analytics data from across the social web.

Learn more: Hootsuite Insights powered by Brandwatch

Social media analytics tool #5: Brandwatch

Key benefits: Track and analyze data from more than 95 million sources, including blogs, forums, and review sites, as well as social networks

Paid tool

Brandwatch is a powerful tool with five easy-to-use social media analytics report templates:

  • Summary: A high-level view of social conversations about your brand, competitors, or keywords.
  • Trends: A report on the conversations and accounts influencing a specific topic or hashtag, including mentions per hour or minute.
  • Reputation: A checkup on sentiment trends you might need to monitor or address.
  • Influencers: A report to help you identify influencer marketing opportunities relevant to your brand and analyze their activity.
  • Competitor comparison: Benchmarking social media data for conversation volume, sentiment, and share of voice.

Learn more: Brandwatch Hootsuite Integration

Social media analytics tool #6: Talkwalker

Key benefits: Monitor conversations from more than 150 million sources to analyze engagement, potential reach, comments, sentiment, and emotions

Paid tool

Talkwalker offers analytics related to social conversations beyond your owned social properties, including:

  • Mentions
  • Brand sentiment
  • Important influencers
  • Author lists

You can filter by region, demographics, device, type of content, and more.

Talkwalker is especially useful to spot activity peaks in conversations about your brand. This can help you determine the best times for your brand to post on social media.

Learn more: Talkwalker Hootsuite integration

Social media analytics tool #7: Hootsuite Impact

Key benefits: Track how organic and paid social impact real business goals and get recommendations for how to improve

Paid tool

Hootsuite Impact provides an in-depth look at the performance of your organic and paid social posts. It then compares that performance to specific business goals, like sales and leads generated. Next, it recommends actions to improve your results.

Hootsuite Impact dashboard

Hootsuite Impact integrates with tools like Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and your ad accounts on the various social platforms. This gives you a full picture of your post and campaign results, all in one place. With organic and paid analytics side-by-side, you don’t have to gather data from separate tools to create a social media analytics report.

Instead, you see exactly how much revenue all your social efforts generate, so you can prove your social ROI. Keep in mind that ROI is not only about sales generated. Hootsuite Impact uses a custom ROI formula developed specifically for your business. This gives you the most relevant and realistic analytics data for your organization.

You’ll also get a clear breakdown that shows you exactly how to replicate your successes and improve in the areas where you’re falling short.

To get the best insights from social analytics, you need to understand how other businesses in your industry compare. Hootsuite Impact shows how your results stack up against your competitors, so you can spot opportunities to improve.

Learn more about Hootsuite Impact:

Social media analytics tool #8: Facebook Analytics

Key benefits: See how people are engaging with your Facebook Page, understand your audience, and track your Facebook ad performance

Free tool

Screenshot of the Facebook analytics overview dashboard

Source: Facebook

Facebook actually offers three built-in social media analytics tools. Since they all cover aspects of Facebook Page analytics, we’re treating them as one tool in this post.

Here are the key data points you can collect from each of the three in-platform Facebook analytics tools.

  • Facebook Page Insights: Page and post engagement, post and story reach, recommendations, responsiveness, video views, follower growth, orders and earnings, when your audience is online, and competitor benchmarking.
  • Facebook Audience Insights: For both your existing audience and the overall Facebook audience, track demographic factors like age, gender, job title, and relationship status; interests and hobbies; life events; and which other Facebook Pages they like.
  • Facebook Ad Center: Ad spend, people reached, post engagement, and link clicks.

Learn more: How to use Facebook Page Insights, How to use Facebook Audience Insights

Social media analytics tool #9: Twitter Analytics

Key benefits: Understand the performance of your paid and organic Twitter posts and learn which other Twitter accounts have the most potential to amplify your content

Free tool

Twitter analytics overview page

Source: Twitter

Twitter analytics 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 track in each section:

  • Account home: This screen offers monthly highlights. You’ll find your account’s top tweet, top follower and top mention. It’s a good place to get a snapshot of your best performing content and identify potential influencers or brand ambassadors.
  • Tweet activity dashboard: Track the engagements and impressions on your tweets over a selected period. You can click on any Tweet to get more data, including video views, link clicks, retweets, replies, and more. Click Top Tweets to get a list of your best performing Tweets with all of their metrics.
  • Campaign dashboard: Track your Twitter ads. Metrics include impressions, reach, engagement rate, and cost per action. If you set up conversion tracking, you can also get details about how your Twitter ads drive conversions on your website.

Learn more: How to use Twitter analytics

Social media analytics tool #10: Instagram Insights

Key benefits: Learn about the demographics of your Instagram audience and track the performance of your Instagram posts and Stories

Free tool, only available to 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 how individual posts and Stories perform with metrics like likes, replies, and sticker taps.
  • Activity: Track how many people see your posts and Stories. You’ll also see how they find your content, and how many interactions (like profile visits) and your content receives.
  • Audience: Learn about your audience demographics and see when they are most likely to be on Instagram.

Learn more: Instagram analytics and metrics to track

Social media analytics tool #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 who have a large number of followers

snapchat insights overview page

Snapchat Insights are only available to users with a high number of followers. Snapchat doesn’t define this number specifically. To check if you have access, go to your profile screen and look for the Insights option.

Here are the key metrics you can track with Snapchat Insights:

  • Views: Find out exactly how many people are viewing your snaps, and for how long, broken down by week or month.
  • Reach: How many unique views your receive per day, plus average view time and completion rate.
  • Audience: Learn about your audience’s top interest and lifestyle categories, as well as the top regions where they’re located.

Learn more: Snapchat Insights: How to Use the Analytics Tool (And What to Track)

Social media analytics tool #12: Pinterest Analytics

Key benefits: Understand your Pinterest audience’s interests and track key metrics for paid and organic Pins

Free tool

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 you can 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’ll also find Pinterest-specific stats like saves and closeups.

You can view this information for organic Pins, paid Pins, or all of your Pinterest content.

Learn more: A Simple Guide to Using Pinterest Analytics

Social media analytics tool #13: LinkedIn Page Analytics

Key benefits: Understand who’s visiting your LinkedIn Page and evaluate the effectiveness of your posts and recruiting efforts

Free tool, only available to Page admins

LinkedIn visitor metrics overview

Source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn Page Analytics provides data on three key areas of your LinkedIn efforts: your posts, your page, and your recruiting. Here’s what you can measure and track in each area:

  • Updates: Track impressions, reactions, comments, shares, and other engagement for both paid and organic posts.
  • Visitors: Track how many people visited your page. Learn about their demographics, including device type, job function, location, seniority, and industry.
  • Followers: Discover the same kinds of demographic info, but for followers instead of visitors.

Learn more: LinkedIn Analytics: The Complete Guide for Social Media Marketers

Free social media analytics report template

We’ve created a free social media analytics template you can use to collect data about your performance on the various social networks.

Bonus: Get a free social media analytics report template that shows you the most important metrics to track for each network.

For more information on how to share your analytics data effectively, check out our post on how to create 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 free today.

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