With social media analytics, there are so many different metrics you can measure. And each of these metrics can be interpreted in different ways. As the old saying goes, “lies, damned lies and statistics”.
But don’t let that put you off. Analytics are still such a vital part of determining success on social media. In this blog post, we’ll be working through some top tips which will help you navigate the overwhelming world of social media analytics.
But first, a little bit of background information so that we’re all on the same page so to speak.
First up, terminology. Each site has its own vocabulary. Favourites, likes and reactions are essentially all the same action. Throughout this post, we’re going to keep a note of all the different terminology we use. If any of it confuses you, scroll to the bottom and we’ll insert a mini glossary.
Secondly, analytics, just like marketing as a whole, is very much a subjective topic. It may seem objective but everyone has different goals, different interpretations and different philosophies. This blog post represents our view of analytics but there are probably plenty of others out there.
Ok, let’s get into the main heart of this.
Tip 1 / Set out your objectives
There are two reasons why objectives are important.
1. They help you identify success
If you have clear objectives for your social media profiles, it will be easy to identify when you have hit those goals. For example, saying you want to “grow the brand” is quite vague. But by saying you want to “grow our audience by 30% in the next 6-months whilst maintaining at least 50% of our audience as 16-24-year-olds” you can clearly identify whether your marketing activity is working or not.
2. They clarify which metrics you need to focus on
Again, clarity is key here. If you know what your objectives are, you can quickly rule out loads of metrics that will be of no use to you and therefore save yourself time. For example, if you’re wanting to drive more traffic to your website, you will be more focused on link clicks. However, if you’re wanting to focus on creating engaging video content, you may be more concerned with video views and average view duration rather than link clicks.
Tip 2 / Look at the bigger picture
Here comes a random metaphor. When you’re painting a picture, you don’t just use one colour. Well, maybe some people do but you know what we mean.
To paint a true reflection of what you see in front of you, you have to use a range of colours. And in a way, this links to analytics too. Using just one metric will not paint a true picture. You need to use multiple metrics to get a true reflection of what is really happening. For example, average view time may be increasing but video views and impressions may be decreasing. This shows that fewer people are seeing the video, but those who do see it are watching for longer. This could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing depending on your objectives.
Also, don’t just look at social media in a silo. Marketing is a concoction of different elements. Each different channel contributes to the final action that a consumer takes. So you might step up social media activity but not see the effect on purchases until further down the line. You might run a TV ad which could lead to an increase in followers on social media. Someone may recommend your business at a networking event which results in them connecting with your sales manager on LinkedIn. This is why you need to look at the bigger picture.
Tip 3 / Focus on the long-term
Everybody wants to go viral. But the truth is, it’s down to luck more than anything else. Now, if you consistently turn up and produce good quality content, you’ve got a better chance than the person who posts for the first time in several years. But ultimately, social media is about consistency. Because of that, when reviewing your social media analytics, you need to think about the long-term. Don’t just compare this week to last week, or this month to last month, look at trends over time. If you have a seasonal product or service, be aware of how that month performs year-on-year, rather than comparing it to the previous month.
Only after content has had time to take effect and you have enough data to realistically run comparisons against can you begin to determine whether your marketing efforts are successful or not.
Analytics can be daunting. So, keep it simple, keep it focused and keep it realistic. This way you will get the most out of the data you are reviewing. Without clear objectives, taking in the bigger picture and looking at the long-term, you will be undermining the validity of the data you are extracting from the various sites.
Average View Time – This is the average amount of time a viewer watches your video for.
Impressions – The number of times something is seen. Different to Reach which refers to the number of people who have seen it.
Link Clicks – The number of clicks on links that direct people to a specific location such as a web page. Unique link clicks refer to the number of different people who have clicked a link.
Metric – A term used to describe the type of measurements used in analytics.
Video Views – The number of times a video is viewed on the platform. Each platform has a different measure of what classifies as a view. For example, on Facebook, the viewer must watch at least 3 seconds.