The Evolution of Social Media Analytics


With the announcement of Twitter’s plan to launch analytics for their platform, it got me thinking about the progression of analytics in terms of all social media. As a business owner, it’s important to define benchmarks and analyze whether these benchmarks are being met.

Programs like Google Analytics offer an in-depth insight into your company’s targeted conversions, whether that’s selling a certain number of boots per month or having a certain amount of visitors download a PDF. However, the data supplied by GA and similar analytics solutions are┬ánecessarily┬álimited to things happening on the site already.

Since the explosion of social media there’s become a need to quickly and effectively monitor success rates, and this must often be done off-site.

Free Social Media Analytics Resources

Many free and easy to use tools have been developed because of the need to measure engagement in the social media stratosphere. For instance, socialmention is a real-time social media search and analysis tool that offers you feedback about your mentions on Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google and more. Highlighting sentiments, keywords, top users, hash tags and sources of conversation, socialmention helps to gain some insights as to where your brand stands on various networks.


The usefulness of tools like this are determined by what benchmarks you’re measuring. If you wish to measure sentiment of the consumers talking about your brand overall or a particular product, socialmention is a helpful means to do so. You can then take this information and determine whether a majority of the conversation about a specific product is positive or negative in nature. Understanding what data you need to fulfill a particular benchmark will help determine the usefulness of these tools. However, some of these free tools only offer basic analytics. If you’re looking for data reports to the level of detail as Google Analytics than you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Paid Social Media Measurement Programs

Radian6, Raven Internet Marketing Tools and other paid social analytics services provide in-depth third party analysis of your brand’s position in the the social media landscape. These services allow you to view who is having conversation about your brand and which voices are having an impact on your industry through various social media channels. Radian6 allows business owners to listen, contribute, and set future goals from the detailed data and feedback they’re receiving directly from their customers. The only downside to these more complex social analytics programs is that they aren’t free. This often deters many business owners from being able to afford the insights these programs provide.

Facebook Insights And Soon To Be Twitter Analytics

An alternative to current free and paid social analytics programs is utilizing the in-house analytics different social media channels provide. Facebook Insights provides a Facebook Page owners with free limited metrics about the visitors to their pages. These insights are helpful on a basic level, allowing you to track monthly active users, daily new likes, total likes and interactions on your page. Insights is an extremely basic service, providing only minimal information about your page’s traffic. Most of the information is about the demographics of users like gender and age. This information is important to take into account, but because the data you’re provided is so limited, it is difficult to truly track extensive benchmarks for your company through Facebook Insights.

Facebook Insights

Twitter Analytics is still in its beginning stages of development and testing, so there’s no way to tell if it will be as unhelpful to users as Facebook Insights or if it will truly provide concise and detailed data about your brand’s place on Twitter. The development of this program will hurt some third-party vendors of Twitter analytics ,but nevertheless, let’s hope this program allows for comprehensive metrics and ways to set benchmarks for your company.

Brian is a former LunaMetrician and contributor to our blog.

  • Brian, as we linked our Next Analytics Excel add-in to the Twitter and Facebook API’s, we discovered that there is a wealth of information hiding in those services, and most of the ‘analytics’ offerings aren’t taking advantage of it. Imagine a list of 10,000 people with their own description of their interests and the products they like (and likely use). It’s all there, you just haven’t had good access to it, but that is all changing with access to the API’s and tools like ours.

    Time to set a side the simple scores and do some digging. Stop looking at what your friends think of you, and look instead at what people in your target market are thinking. Just because they aren’t following you doesn’t mean their opinions are not important. Look at who is following your competitors and who they tend to network with. What they love and what they hate.

    I don’t think people realize how much information is publicly available through these services. A marketer’s dream come true!

  • Brian,

    Raventools uses SocialMention Api. Although it does pull in data from Youtube using API.

    There has been a real outburst of Social Media Analytics tools. And its an exciting world of opportunities.

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