1 1 Measure Social Media like a Pro: Social Media Analytics Uncovered # SOCIAL MEDIA LIKE # SHARE Powered by
2 2 Social media analytics were a big deal in 2013, but this year they are set to be even more crucial. The importance of understanding your audience across social channels is continuing to grow. Major social media platforms continue to make changes which affect the way your profiles perform, and with it increase the importance to measure all social media metrics, which is critical to your success. Socialbakers has been around for some 5 years and today is helping over 2000 businesses do their social media analytics. To ensure you succeed, we prepared this overview of everything you need to know about social media analytics. It includes: 1 Why it is important to measure social How Social Analytics works How to measure social media A look at built-in vs. independent analytics platforms The value of comparative analytics These 6 themes are the key to what you need from your social media analytics, and where to focus your attention effectively. 6 What makes a great report
3 3 1. Why it is important to measure social Social media, in all its forms, is becoming an increasingly important channel for marketers every day. Not long ago a few Facebook posts and a tweet here and there would be enough to generate some engagement and clicks to your website. Now, however, there are millions of other businesses competing for your users attention, as well as new platforms emerging that make things more complicated. Fashion brands are not just competing against other fashion brands on fans News Feeds - they are doing battle with their fans friends and hundreds of other pages, including everything from entertainment, celebrities, and the latest news (Picture 1). You have to think about that when you are trying to raise above the noise. To do so your content needs to always be visible above your competitors ; this is one of the reasons why comparative measurement is more important than ever. in 2009 only 7 posts / month in posts / month Picture 1. Brands are posting more than ever. The number of posts increased from 7 Facebook posts per month in 2009 to 40 posts per month in 2013 and is still growing. This seriously increased competition and now people are struggling with organic reach. For instance, in December, Facebook announced a change to their EdgeRank algorithm which caused posts to receive marginally less reach on average by being deprioritized in News Feed. This is natural due to the extra competition for attention on the platform, but makes it even more crucial for Facebook marketers to measure their social media content performance so they can continually improve their engagement and reach. Many businesses are spending a lot of money on social media, whether this is for boosting their post reach, creating content, or simply the time their teams spend responding to customer service queries. To justify this spend, it is very important to measure social media performance in all its forms in order to create value from your efforts. If you are spending, then you can only optimize the performance of your spend by measuring activity. Independent analytics tools add extra value by crowdsourcing data (at Socialbakers we track over 8 million profiles daily), and by categorising profiles to create richer benchmarking sets.
4 4 2. How Social Analytics Works First of all, Social Analytics is very different from social listening. Whereas social listening allows you to monitor how keywords are discussed across social channels, analytics measures the performance of many social profiles in all metrics available. With Social Analytics you are able to compare the KPI s of your social profiles over time, and against other profiles, like those of your competitors or peers in your industry. Tools like Socialbakers Analytics get their data from a variety of sources, both public and private, including API s from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more. Once this data is collected it is put through a number of calculations and formulas. It is also tagged so that it can be visualized in a logical and easy-to-understand way (Picture 2). Public API 1 M + Profile, daily, without Admin rights Socialbakers Free Stats Insights Analytics ANALYTICS CLOUD Restricted API Socialbakers Community Crowdsourcing Picture 2. Socialbakers collects raw social media data from publicly accessible API s as well as restricted API s accessible only to page admins. We store the data in a data cloud, where we process and recalculate it into the metrics. Thanks to the large and talented community of social media marketers who come to Socialbakers.com, we are able to categorize social profiles by region and industry and create unique benchmarks based on their suggested tags. Socialbakers Analytics For some platforms, such as Facebook, Social Analytics tools can show both public and private metrics. Private metrics are those that are available only to you as the administrator of the profile you are studying, and can t be compared to competitors. Public metrics, on the other hand, can be compared to your competition, and industry in general. This allows you to benchmark performance across public metrics to gain an understanding of where your profile stands in comparison. Public metrics include Private metrics include Interactions (Absolute Engagement) Engagement rate Audience size Shareability Response rates Organic Reach Paid Reach Clickthroughs Audience demographics Reach engagement
5 5 3. How to measure social media Once you ve got your head around measuring your social media activity and how that works, the next key decision is choosing which metrics to measure on each social media platform. At Socialbakers we advise businesses in hundreds of different countries and industry verticals on which metrics to prioritize. In this part we will try to clarify some of the most important metrics to focus on. As with everything, there are no quick answers in choosing which metrics you should track. What you need to track will ultimately be determined by your objectives and your social media plan. If you are focused on brand awareness, naturally the metrics you choose will be different than if you focus on direct sales. We believe that social is not about just one metric, but about all of them, and understanding the whole picture gives you a greater chance of success. Let s start with Facebook. On Facebook some of the key metrics to measure are: Total Interactions (Absolute Engagement) Engagement Rate Reach Response Rate For determining success on Facebook, these metrics are crucial, and monitoring them at regular intervals will enable you to benchmark your performance over time. All of the above metrics with the exception of Reach (which is accessible only to Page Admins), are public metrics and therefore available for all your competitors. Total Interactions Interactions is an absolute engagement metric. It is the sum of the Likes, Comments, and Shares your post receives. Measuring this number is valuable for two reasons. The first is that you can get a complete overview of how Fans are interacting with your content and to what extent. The second is for adjusting your content plan to increase the interaction types that are most valuable for your business. But there is also a third and more important reason why you should measure interactions! As Facebook ads are moving to News Feed and more paid media is used to reach people who are not yet fans of your Facebook page, for the first time in history Socialbakers recommends monitoring absolute engagement rather rather than the relative one. Engagement rates still remain good comparable relative metrics; however, absolute interactions are now more important to monitor. Engagement Rate Engagement rate is the number of total interactions drawn by your content, divided by the total audience on your Facebook Page. An alternative way to measure this is as reach engagement, where you divide the total interactions by the reach figure of the post (Picture 3). Both are valid; however, only the former can be compared to competitors, whereas the latter is a metric that is more about measuring your own posts against themselves. Engagement rate is very important for optimization, and enables you to continue improving your Facebook reach overall. However in the last couple of months it is being strongly affected by the infusion of paid media described above, in the Interactions section.
6 6 Post Engagement Rate Reach Engagement Rate # Likes + Comments + Shares on a given date # of wall posts made by page on a given date Total Fans on a given date vs. # Likes + Comments + Shares on a given date # of wall posts made by page on a given date Total Reach on a given date Picture 3: The different approaches to Engagement Rates. In the first formula we see Post Engagement Rate, which is calculated from public metrics, and can be used for comparative analysis. With Reach Engagement Rate, calculated using private metrics, you can gain a more precise idea about your own performance only, as you can not use it for comparision with competitors. Reach Reach is the number of people who see a given Facebook post. On average around 8-15% of your Facebook fans will see each post organically, and this is controlled by engagement levels and recency of engagement on a per user basis. Reach is more important than your audience size, as these are the people actually seeing your content in News Feed. Measuring your reach figures and using them to identify when and where to improve your content strategy is key to your strategy. Organic reach is where users see your content after liking your Page, or because their friends have interacted with you. Paid reach is where a user sees a boosted post of yours in News Feed. Post boosting is becoming massively important for this reason, as the majority of ads are moving to News Feed, and the potential to boost your reach is huge. At present 9% of all Facebook posts are being boosted, and we do believe this is going to grow hugely in 2014 highlighting the importance of boosting your posts if you don t want to be left behind (Picture 4). Response rate is another key metric on Facebook. Response rate is the percentage of user generated queries that are responded to, and it is therefore a strong indicator of customer service levels. Naturally, you want your response rate to be as high as possible and your response time to be as low as possible to ensure that your customers are being served in the best way. It s very important to measure this competitively, and the volume of questions being asked here is crucial - it s very different having a response rate of 80% on five questions than it is on 100 questions. Picture 4: An example from Socialbakers Analytics tracking the evolution of Total Page Reach per Day. It differentiates between Paid and Organic Reach. As only around 8-15% of Facebook fans are being reached organically, the importance of Paid Reach becomes increasingly apparent.
7 7 Response rate Response time is also very important, and a great indication of quality customer care on social networks. Some brands, such as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Walmart or BestBuy, are truly Socially Devoted and have fully integrated customer care into their social media channels this allows them to deal with a huge amount of questions in just a matter of minutes. The top three industries in social media customer care right now are Airlines, Finance and Telco. Socialbakers regularly produce a Socially Devoted study which ranks brands based on response rate, response time, and number of fans including the volume of questions in the overall ranking to give a standard league table for customer service (Picture 5). This is worth investigating to see where your business stands, and also to get further benchmarks for your industry and competitors. Picture 5. Excerpt from a Socially Devoted infographic showing the fact that while users tend to ask questions more often on Twitter, this is not reflected by the brands responses. Our study shows that brands are focusing their social customer care efforts mainly on Facebook. Unfortunately, only 40% of questions posed on Twitter are responded, compared to 60% of questions on Facebook. You can find more information on social media care at
8 8 On Twitter examples of key metrics to measure are: Total followers Average Tweet engagement Daily mentions Total followers Twitter is slightly simpler than Facebook in that every follower will be sent your tweet through their news feed when it is sent. Therefore, the higher your follower count, the more likely your tweets will be seen. Twitter does not have an algorithm determining which posts users see, it simply displays all posts in a chronological order. Your total audience, as well as growth of total audience, are really important metrics to track over time. Average Tweet engagement Average tweet engagement divides your tweet interactions by your follower count to show the average tweet engagement rate. This is a good measure of the strength of your content, and is a figure that should be tracked over time to see whether your content is improving or declining in quality and relevance to your audience. Likewise on Facebook, the absolute number of interactions is an important metric to follow, however engagement rate on Twitter is affected by paid media less than engagement rate is on Facebook. Picture 6. An example of the Twitter dashboard from Socialbakers Analytics, showing analyzed profiles with labels Media and FMCG, sorted by the number of fans. We can see from the dashboard that while CNN has a bigger number of total followers, Fox News is almost a twice as active when it comes to tweeting. Both stations have a very simmilar Engagement Rate however CNN was clearly able to collect the higher number of mentions and retweets from users. Daily mentions Daily mentions shows the number of mentions of your account per day. Generally, the higher the daily mentions the better although this may depend on the types of mentions you are getting; if you are receiving a lot of customer service complaints then you may want a slightly lower daily mention count. Regardless, it s important to measure to see how you are performing over time, and it s a great measure of brand awareness.
9 9 On other social media platforms there are a number of metrics to track, such as audience size and engagement rate on Google+. Most of these other platforms are not quite as advanced as Facebook & Twitter in their current measurement provisions. If in doubt, tracking audience size and content engagement are great places to start for an idea of your performance on social. On YouTube there are three main metrics to study: Views Subscribers Like / dislike ratio Views Views are fairly self-explanatory, with views being the total number of people who have viewed each video. The number of views is a crucial metric to watch and analyze over time. The number of views can drop off when videos are removed and so on, so keeping a fair view of the metric over time can be difficult. Know your average view level per video, so that you can ascertain the performance of your new videos and optimise your strategy (Picture 7). Picture 7. An example of YouTube video performance from Socialbakers Analytics. This example shows the performance of a video trailer from the hit HBO show Game of Thrones. It shows some of the key YouTube metrics, such as number of views, that can help with determining quantitative popularity, and like / dislike ratio, showing qualitative popularity. Subscribers Subscribers are the number of people who have subscribed to your channel so will be notified when you post new content. This is an important metric for tracking your growth and your potential reach on YouTube. Like / dislike ratio The like/dislike ratio is a really good metric to track in order to get a sense of how your audience is engaging with your content, and whether the relevance and quality of your videos is improving over time. Naturally you want a high number of likes, but measuring the ratio between likes and dislikes of each video allows you to analyse performance objectively between videos to allow you to optimise your performance on an ongoing basis.
10 10 On Instagram Followers Interactions Number of posts Average post engagement rate With Instagram the three metrics we recommend tracking are number of followers, number of posts from an account, interactions and average post engagement rate. These three are similar to Facebook tracking, as they allow you to see your potential reach from the number of followers and how that changes, whether people are enjoying your content in absolute (interactions) and relative (engagement rate) numbers, and how active you are with the number of posts. Picture 8. An example of Socialbakers Instagram Powerpoint Report from Socialbakers Labs. This example shows the most engaging Instagram photos posted by Redbull between January 6 and February 6 with information about number of likes, comments and engagement rate relative to the channel s following. On LinkedIn Followers Status engagement rate Number of status updates On LinkedIn, the metrics to track are again similar for most businesses to focus on: followers, status engagement rate, and number of status updates. These three metrics again allow you to track your audience growth, how they are responding to your content, and the amount of content coming out from your company page.
11 11 4. Built-in vs. Independent Analytics Tools If you now know which metrics you want to measure, the next step is finding out how to measure them. There are some built-in options available for some platforms, such as Facebook Insights, however to get a complete picture and understand the context independent analytics platforms are required. Facebook Insights will allow you to track Facebook audience size and reach as well as some other interesting, complementary metrics such as the times your audience is online. Facebook Insights is free, and accessed via your Facebook Page if you are an admin. The data in this view is very page focused, therefore there are no real competitive comparisons or metrics that aren t related to your Page, other than a simple suggestion of other pages to look at and their sizes. Facebook is now launching a new Pages To Watch functionality, allowing Page Admins to track up to five competitors on four basic metrics over a seven day period. However, this will only give you only very limited, short-term data that are not sufficient for a serious competitive analysis. There are no strong built-in analytics tools for the other social media platforms at the time of writing. Twitter has limited analytics, and Google+ shares next to no data. LinkedIn does share some in their company page analytics section. This allows you to see engagement and reach per update, as well as company-follower demographics. Independent analytics tools like Socialbakers Analytics are much more powerful for analysing your social media data. Independent analytics tools give you a much wider choice of metrics as they allow you to track both private and public metrics together. Built-in platforms, like Facebook Insights, primarily let you track private metrics that you can t compare to others. Independent analytics solutions allow to track your own private metrics, but also public metrics - these are metrics that can be compared to other businesses and sectors to allow you to benchmark effectively. For this reason, Independent analytics tools hold much more power. This is emphasised by their ability to provide social media analytics for platforms such as Twitter, where there is no built-in solution making independent analytics tools a key need for your team. Capabilities Overview Insights ( Pages to Watch ) Number of Pages Metrics Time Period Multi-Platform Support Time Zone Support Industry & Regional Benchmarks Labels Distribution of Fans KPI Check Social Customer Care Metrics Reporting Content Newsfeed Key Influencers Admin & User Post Sources Post Details User Activity Tracking Unlimited 50+ Up To 3 Years Days
12 12 5. Value of Comparative Analytics & Benchmarking To fully understand your social media metrics it is essential to benchmark yourself against others. This can be your competitors, any others competing for the attention of your audience, or your industry as a whole. If for example you are a Telco company, you certainly want to measure your own performance, but since you are in a highly competitive market, you also need to know what your direct competitors are doing. Head to head comparison as well as benchmarking against your own category is equally as important as it gives your performance a context. In our experience, many brands that embraced social media analytics go even further and are closely analyzing not only their competitors but also industry leaders in general. For a quick insight on who is outperforming the others in your region or industry, we recommend you to check our free monthly Social Marketing Reports. Without this understanding, it is impossible to know how your social media accounts are performing in context. With independent analytics tools it is possible to track a number of key things in this way, including: Audience size Engagement rates Response rates Mentions, Shares and Retweets Reach Views Tracking these and other metrics comparatively allows you to fully benchmark your position, analyse your performance, and monitor your progress over time. 6. What makes a great report Having a full understanding of your social media analytics is crucial for ensuring that you can report fully. Reporting is essential to help explain, adjust, and analyze returns from your social media activity, no matter whether you are in-house and reporting to management, or an agency reporting to a client. The purpose of a report is not only to prove the value of the channel to superiors or clients, but also to optimize your social media activities effectively, and having a great level of data is crucial to be able to achieve this (Picture 9). Picture 9. An example of an Executive Report from Socialbakers Analytics. This excerpt compares KLM and Emirates airlines, focusing on engagement. We can see the number of interactions, what kind of interactions those were, and information on what the most engaging days and hours for posting were for both brands. Such information can help brands more completely understand how to get the most from their posted content.
13 13 Here are 5 Essential tips from Socialbakers how to get your reporting on a next level 1. Report internally Choose a day in a week, lets say Monday, when you generate your social media reports and send them around the company. Educating others internally within your company is often a challenge, but a crucial thing to do to ensure that social will be fully embraced internally. 2. Analyze the Reports The world of social media is changing every day. It is extremely important to drill into the stats every week and look for interesting insights, changes and trends. What worked for you last month will not necessarily work today; social media analysis is never a one-time thing. 3. Report on Competitors One of the keys to success on social is competitive analysis. Reporting on your performance is a must, but equally important is to report on your competitors or market leaders. Closely observe what the competition is doing, what works for them and what does not. Do this on a daily basis. 4. Make the Reporting more accessible Reports do not have to be just static charts and PDFs. You can easily make data more accessible with a social command center. We have implemented centers like this for countless companies, and recently, we even built one for our own main office. Centers like this enable you to monitor your performance and that of others in real-time. You are able to see the buzz around your latest posts, see who is mentioning you, and keep an eye on what your competitors are doing - all at the same time. A social command center also allows you to react much more quickly when responding to a complaint or entering a conversation. You can even react to your own content s performance by boosting a post that is getting strong reach, in order to to keep momentum going. 5. Move to the next level When you have done all of the above, you will not only be reporting well, but will also be perceiving social media more acutely, and will better understand its importance for your business. The next step is to connect your business with the social media metrics in one custom dashboard. Social media is only a small part of a picture; however, when you manage to connect with your sales data, CRM, web analytics and multiple other sources, it can give your business a fully new perspective.
14 14 7. Conclusion In summary, if you take one thing from these facts, it is that having an independent analytics platform that includes all the public and private metrics, is absolutely critical to your business. It is not just about not flying blind, but it also touches on the fact that every marketer needs to understand the context of social media. Without understanding, you are unable to truly excel, as you are unable to benchmark your performance and know where you are on a spectrum with your competitors. On top of this, it is crucial to be able to optimize, and therefore continually improve your performance over time. If you are starting out and looking to what you should be tracking, use our handy which metrics to track section as a starting point and find out what is useful for you on each platform. Likewise, our overview of selected Analytics tools will hopefully provide you with a guide to platforms you can use to find the data that you truly need. Remember, it is essential to track your performance to be able to optimise, but also to report to your stakeholders to share the results of your social media success across your whole organisation. Reporting helps to show the true value of all of your activities...but using insights to drive actionable changes to your marketing - as per our Analyze>Engage>Promote workflow model - will make your business perform better on social. That s where the real value is.