Guest Post

Written by Elise Dopson

October 16, 2020

So, you’re spending hours on your social media strategy each week, crafting unique content for each channel, and attempting to tie it back to business results — yet you don’t know where to start.

You need a social media analytics tool: a platform that pulls important data from social media channels, and presents it in a way that’s easy to understand.

What do social media analytics tools measure?

Before we get to the tools themselves, let’s take a look at some of the metrics you’ll have access to with these  popular social media analytics platforms.

The most common engagement metrics are:

  • Reach: How many people saw your content.
  • Views and impressions: How many times your content was viewed. 
  • Shares: The number of people who shared your content with their own network.
  • Link clicks: How many people clicked a link inside your social media copy. 
  • Engagement rate: The percentage of people who saw your posts and engaged with it. 
  • Comments and replies: The volume of people who replied to each individual post.
  • Video/photo views: The number of people who viewed a photo or watched your video.

It’s worth noting that the exact metrics are dependent on the social media channels you’re using. Each platform calls similar metrics a different thing, and some KPIs are native to that platform (like Twitter’s retweets, for example.) 

But on the whole, they’re the basic metrics you’ll find inside a social media analytics tool. 

How do you use social media analytics?

There are tons of reasons why you would want to use a tool to dig into social media data. 

Let’s take a look at the three biggest benefits for social media marketers. 

Find your top-performing content

You share content on social media to meet a marketing goal, such as reach, link clicks, or follows. But do you know which type of content actually meets those goals more frequently? 

Use your social media analytics platform to see what your top-performing content has in common, and replicate it. For example, if you see that tweets with videos get double the link clicks than one without, create custom graphics for every new tweet. 

It’s an easy way to refine your social media guidelines to make sure each post has been optimized for your goal. 

Post at the best time of day

Social media marketing analytics tools don’t just show data about the content you’re posting. A handful of platforms also explain who your audience is, and when they’re online. 

All of this historical data allows you to create a customizable social media posting schedule for your exact audience. You’ll know the exact times to post to get maximum engagement. After all, there’s not much value in posting content when your audience is offline.

Prove social media ROI to your team

It’s hard to prove the return on investment (ROI) of social media. It can take followers months before they actually buy from you; and they often need to see a lot of content in their News Feeds before they begin to trust (or engage with) your brand.

However, metrics which show the reach you’re having with your content helps to show ROI for your marketing efforts. That, combined with the engagement you’re getting, should help establish why team members (or your CEO) should take social media managers seriously. 

The 11 best paid & free social media analytics tools

Ready to gain more insights into your social media accounts? Here are 11 of the best social analytics tools for any budget.

  1. Twitter Analytics
  2. Instagram Insights
  3. ManyChat
  4. Talkwalker
  5. Hootsuite Analyze
  6. Sprout Social
  7. Buffer Analyze
  8. Zoho Social
  9. Rival IQ
  10. Tailwind
  11. Databox

1. Twitter Analytics

The first on our list is Twitter Analytics, a tool built by Twitter that’s automatically available to anyone with a Twitter account.

Inside the platform you’ll see a 28-day summary of how your tweets (and profile) have performed. All of the metrics native to Twitter marketing are included too, such as the number of mentions you’ve received, your follower growth, and how many people have visited your profile.

What’s great about Twitter Analytics, however, is that it shows your top-performing tweets each month. You can analyze these results to see what type of content your audience wants to see, and continue posting it.  

Price: free. 

2. Instagram Insights

Instagram Insights overview
Image courtesy of: Oberlo

This social media analytics tool works only for Instagram. But it’s not available to everyone by default, and you need to have a business account to use the platform. 

Instagram Insights shares key stats about the posts you’re sharing, including how many people saw, liked, commented, or bookmarked your posts. 

Plus, you’ll be able to track how followers engage with your Instagram Stories. The audience insights tab will show you how many people viewed the story, and how people interacted with it, such as replying to it or visiting your profile.

You can also see how people engage with your Instagram profile after viewing that post. That’s a great way to judge whether your Instagram posts are resonating with your audience enough for them to take action. 

Price: free with business account.

3. ManyChat

ManyChat analytics dashboard

Do you run Facebook Ads for your business? The native Facebook Ads Manager (and Facebook Analytics) tool shares key information about your campaign performance.

However, ManyChat has an analytics dashboard that gives you actionable insight into your campaigns. You can collect audience data, build Facebook Custom Audiences, and improve ad targeting for your campaigns. Our integration pulls your most important data, and allows you to create customized reports. It’s a must-have for any agency looking to share those reports with its clients. 

Price: starts at $10/month. Free plan available.

Want to get more leads and improve ROI from your social media campaigns? Sign up for ManyChat free.

4. Talkwalker

Talkwalker dash

Chances are you want to learn more about your social media strategy than the metrics surrounding the content you post.

Talkwalker helps you go beyond your own content to find brand mentions and discussions about your industry. All you need to do is add your brand’s name or industry into the tracking field, and you’ll be able to monitor who and what is being said about the topic.

The social media monitoring tool also shows you sentiment analysis for those social media mentions, like whether it’s a positive or negative post. The end result is a solid understanding of what’s happening on social media beyond your branded profile. 

Price: starts at $9,600/year.

5. Hootsuite Analyze

Hootsuite Analyze graphic

Hootsuite is generally known as a social media tool that schedules content. But along with helping you manage your posts, their Analyze feature helps you see all of your data from several social media platforms on a single screen.

Hootsuite Analyze works with the more popular platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook Pages, YouTube, and Instagram. But what’s interesting about this social media analytics tool is their Impact metric. It provides insights into  the ROI of each social media post; which is extremely helpful for proving ROI to your team.  

Price: from $29/month. 

6. Sprout Social 

Sprout Social metrics

Sprout Social is a powerful social media management tool that offers great insight into how your social media campaign ideas are performing. 

It integrates with both paid and organic social media channels, and has a bonus feature that connects social results to business events. This means you’re able to see which campaigns — such as a summer sale or Black Friday launch — worked best on social based on your most important engagement metrics.

Sprout Social also has a competitor analysis tool where you can compare  recent posts against a competitor’s. Knowing the number of published posts, most-used hashtags, and engagement all help you use data to get a headstart on your competition

Price: starts at $99/month.

7. Buffer Analyze

Buffer Analyze example

Here’s another social media analytics tool that shows data from various social platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook Pages, and Twitter. 

Buffer Analyze is an add-on to its standard scheduling tool. With Buffer’s add-on, though, you’ll have access to overall statistics about your social media strategy, with the option to break down your data by channel. 

Yet, unlike the other tools we’ve shared here, Buffer Analyze offers suggestions on how to improve your social content based on your own analytics. You’ll see personalized recommendations based on your data set, helping you to make small (but effective) tweaks.

And the best part is you can integrate Buffer with ManyChat via Zapier.

Price: starts at $35/month. 

8. Zoho Social

Zoho Social media analytics dashboard

The social media analytics tools we’ve mentioned so far all highlight important data about your own content or that of your industry. But what’s interesting about Zoho Social is that it shows who your audience is, not just how they engage with your social media content. 

Inside the dashboard you’ll see a breakdown of your audience’s location, age, gender, and language. The more you know about your audience, the more chance of creating content they’re likely to be interested in. 

Zoho Social also includes a social listening feature to track brand mentions. You can use the tool to find instances where people are talking about your brand, and hop into or respond to the conversation without leaving the tool. 

Price: starts at $10/month.

9. Rival IQ

Rival IQ social analytics

Competitor analysis is a tactic that lets you take a look “under the hood” of your competitor’s social media strategy. Rival IQ is a tool that’ll help you do it. 

Its software allows you to put your and a competitor’s social media platforms head-to-head and see how you compare in different metrics; ultimately providing you the opportunity to improve and surpass your competitor in those metrics. 

Rival IQ also shares industry benchmarks for certain industries on social media. You’ll see key data on strategies for influencers, airlines, sports teams, and more. The goal is to help you see whether you’re on-par with (or beating) the wider competition.

Price: starts at $199/month. Free head-to-head analysis.

10. Tailwind

Tailwind Pinterest analytics

Does your social media strategy include Pinterest? While the native Pinterest Analytics feature is great, Tailwind offers all of that data and more with its own social media analytics software.

Tailwind highlights basic data about each of your Pins, including how many likes, repins, and followers you got from each Pin. Plus, it can help schedule future Pins without creating them yourself manually.

It’s a great choice for any visual marketer because of its integration with Instagram, too. It has superb tools that’ll help you grow your Instagram profile, such as hashtag suggestions and smart scheduling, to make sure your visual content gets the attention it deserves. 

Price: starts at $9.99/month.

11. Databox

Databox dashboard example

Databox is different from the other social media tools we’ve mentioned so far. It’s more of a marketing campaign reporting software than an analytics tool that pulls data from different social networks and displays it all on one page. 

It’s a marketing tool you should have access to if you’re trying to prove the value of social media, and explain how it connects with your other marketing strategies.

They have premade templates that pull your key metrics from different tools – including your CRM and Google Analytics – onto one screen. This means you’ll see real-time data from your social media campaigns, along with each campaign’s impact on other marketing channels, including SEO and content marketing.

Price: starts at $49/month. Free plan available.

Final thoughts

And there you have it, the best social media analytics tools for the most popular networks. 

Whether you’re doing competitive analysis or just tracking your brand’s social media performance, it’s worth having a handful of these tools in your arsenal because they can tell you how much engagement your content is getting, what your competitors are doing, and what your top-performing content has in common; all of which is bound to help you refine your social media marketing strategy and help report the results back to your boss.

Increase leads and drive better results from your social media campaigns with ManyChat. It’s free to get started.