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Analyze This: The Comprehensive Guide to Social Media Analytics

Sarah Landrum

With 74 percent of online adults using social media, it has become an increasingly important part of any business’s comprehensive marketing plan. A business can use social media to connect with a variety of demographics and reach a wide audience.

Social media is more frequently used now than ever before, which begs the questions:

  • How does anyone know if what they are posting is doing well or reaching who they would like it to reach?
  • What about when the best times to post are?
  • Which social media channels make the most sense to reach their target audience?

There are a number of analytics tools available to help businesses navigate the still-new and sometimes murky waters of social media marketing. 

Related Article: Which Social Media Metrics Actually Matter?

Google Analytics

Google Analytics features social reporting tools that allow users to track how effective and successful their social media campaigns are. Google Analytics offers a number of helpful of social media reports:

Google Analytics; Social Conversion
  • Overview: Google Analytics’ overview report, pictured above, offers a snapshot of how much conversion is gleaned from your social media channels. The overview report depicts the total number of conversions and which are from social media channels.
  • Network Referrals: The network referrals report provides users with traffic metrics for each social media network. Users will be able to tell which networks lead to the most traffic from this report.
  • Data Hub Activity: The data hub activity report tells users how people are sharing and talking about their site on social media. This report shows users what people said, when they said it, and where they said it.
  • Landing Pages: The landing pages report lets users track the traffic to different URLs of their site from social media channels. Users can glean what channels lead to what part of their site from this report.  
  • Trackbacks: The trackbacks report allows users to see what other sites are linking back to their site. This report is especially useful for anyone looking to build relationships with bloggers or other online influencers linking back to their content.
  • Plugins: The plugins report is very useful for those with social sharing buttons on their site. This report tracks what content is being shared and on what social media channels it is being shared on from social sharing buttons.
  • Visitors Flow: The users flow report tracks where your site’s visitors who came from social media channels went after their initial navigation of your site.   


Hootsuite is a popular tool used to consolidate scheduling social media posts across accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram. Hootsuite also offers a range of reporting tools to help users understand how their posts are performing.

Hootsuite Pro Plan

Hootsuite’s analytics feature is especially useful for tracking campaigns. Hootsuite allows users to tag messages when scheduling posts and later pull reports to measure the success of posts with certain tags across platforms.

Hootsuite incorporates Facebook and Twitter insights and includes detailed reporting on post engagement and reach. Users can also design their own reports based on their own needs. Hootsuite recently teamed with Talkwalker, a social metrics company, to improve upon its analytics features even more. 


SumAll is a free tool that allows users to link their social media accounts and set up recurring reports on how metrics across platforms have changed over a certain period of time. Users can also log in to their SumAll accounts and access this information at any time.

SumAll recently launched its SumAll Insights tool to make customized recommendations to its users based on the metrics it reports. SumAll Insights tells users when the best time to post is, where the best place to post is and what content will see the most success. Cases studies have shown that using the tool can double social engagement.  

Best Performing Time to Tweet Chart

Facebook Insights

Though there are numerous social media platforms available for businesses today, Facebook still reigns supreme as the most widely used channel with 58 percent of American adults using Facebook. This makes its reporting equally as important. Facebook Insights is Facebook’s built-in analytics tool for Facebook pages. 

Social Media Usage

Facebook Insights tells users how many people saw a post, where they clicked on the post, how they saw the post, and who is interacting with your page. Facebook Insights can help a business determine what types of posts are likely to gain more traction and why. 

Related Article: 7 Cool Facebook Tricks You've Never Heard Of

Twitter Insights

Similar to Facebook, Twitter offers a free analytics tool for its users called Twitter Analytics. Users can see how many retweets, favorites and impressions specific tweets earned as well as engagement with these tweets, growth in followers and profile views.

Twitter Analytics offers users a 28-day glimpse at retweets, favorites, tweet impressions, engagement, followers and profile views as well. Users are able to see which tweets performed best over that 28-day period and what the overall trend looks like for each of these metrics. Twitter Analytics is especially useful for looking at metrics over time. 


Buffer is a social media marketing tool that allows users to schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Buffer also offers analytics for scheduled posts. In addition to the standard metrics users see when they post from Buffer, Buffer also offers users the “potential” for each post.

Buffer defines potential as the potential number of people who have seen your post based on shares and retweets. This metric can be especially useful in determining the reach of posts and what type of content is more likely to be shared, and in turn, seen by many. Buffer’s potential creates a concrete number for what otherwise might be a speculation. For instance, it says tweets with images perform the best when they are 20 to 40 characters.


Beevolve is a social media analytics tool that is especially useful for measuring the ROI on social media posts and determining a very specific target audience. Users can tell Beevolve how much it cost to produce their content and how much they expect to make from their content.

Beevolve Product Features

Based on this information, Beevolve then schedules content and provides analytics on its performance. Beevolve also provides a breakdown of the demographic interacting with your content as well as their geographic location.

This easily allows businesses to determine their narrow audiences and develop specific content for them.

With the variety of social media analytics tools available, it is important that businesses choose what works best for their social media goals. When using any tool, be it Facebook Insights or Beevolve, a business with its social media goals in mind is sure to use analytics to its best advantage. 

Image Credit: NanoStockk / Getty Images
Sarah Landrum Member
Sarah Landrum is a marketing specialist and freelance writer. She is also the founder of Punched Clocks, a site on which she shares advice for professionals to find happiness and success in their careers. Subscribe to her blog newsletter and follow her on Twitter @SarahLandrum to get more great advice to grow your business and career.