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A Guide to Understanding Your Social Media Analytics

Study your analytics, as well of your competitors to get accurate and quick feedback of your business

The world we live in is full of amazing technologies that allow us to do wonders with raw data, including in-depth analyses of things completely virtual, like our social media accounts. To do so, at disposal, we have tools that can generate reports in just seconds for any type of data we feed into them. But all those reports don’t mean anything if we don’t understand what they are presenting us with. When you are able to understand the reports they can tell you a lot about how people are receiving your content, how many of them simply scroll past it, how many truly engage with it, how your content is doing in comparison to your competitors’.

The reports can be a guide for making better and more marketable content.

Unfortunately, a lot of businesses don’t put enough effort into understanding their social media analytics, and by behaving this way, they stop themselves from being more successful, up-to-date with current trends, and from providing their audience with better customer service. We are aware that understanding social media analytics can be an overwhelming task, especially if it’s something you weren’t previously trained in, but that shouldn’t stop you from educating yourself on it. In this article, we will do our best to support you in doing exactly that.

Why is social media analytics so important?

We all know that regular content is crucial for online success, but that content can’t be just any kind of content. The content you are publishing has to be relevant and engaging. What will be seen as relevant and engaging will vary from industry to industry and from audience to audience.

Content for Business

While you can assume who are the people that make up your audience and what type of content they will enjoy, only an in-depth analysis of your analytics can give you accurate information on that. Without an in-depth analysis, you might end up publishing the wrong things and making mistakes that could cost you quite a lot of money. Once you gather your social media analytics data and analyze it using the right tools, the results that analysis will give you can help you in predicting trends, singling out your weak spots, and discovering new opportunities.

Your analytics will tell you how your content and marketing strategies are being received by the ones that mean the most for your business, your audience, so you can start creating only profitable campaigns and not ones that will be a waste of money.

Your analytics will help you realize if your marketing strategies are working, and in case they are not, they can point you in the direction you should be heading instead. Using your analytics data, you will also be able to understand why your ROI is as high or as low as it is and what exactly is driving it up or down.

Besides your own analytics, you can analyze the analytics of your competitors as well. By doing so, you can see where you stand in comparison with them, replicate the things that make them successful, and avoid doing the things that caused their failures. In a nutshell, your social media analytics will be the best way to get accurate and quick feedback on how your business and content are performing across different platforms and to know which things you need to improve in order to better that performance.

Which tools should you be using to gather and analyze the analytics?

When it comes to social media analytics tools, broadly speaking, you have two kinds. Dedicated social media analytics tools and the analytics tools that come integrated into social media platforms. Built-in social media analytics tools can be great. They require no installation and no configuration since the social media platforms did all of that for you already, but they do have a drawback. Since they were intended to be used by the owner of an account to gain insight into his/her own analytics, they don’t allow you to do the same for multiple accounts at once or for accounts that you aren’t the owner of.

Social Media Analytics

Dedicated social media analytics tools, on the other hand, will allow you to monitor multiple accounts at once regardless if they belong to you or to your competitors. They will even allow you to create dashboards containing the analytics data of different accounts, various kinds of metrics, and much more all in one place. Also, most of them can be further upgraded using extensions or plugins that will give you features most built-in tools will probably never have. Features like monitoring customer service, content optimization, report exportation and other features varying from tool to tool.

Depending on your preferences, you can stick to using only the built-in tools or dedicated ones, but you don’t have to.

If you can juggle both types at once and not get overwhelmed by all the data that will be coming your way, why not use both—the more, the merrier.

Most important social media metrics and what they mean

Depending on which social media platform you are looking at, there will be a lot of different metrics you will come across. The ones we will go over now are found on almost every platform and are the metrics that will matter the most while you are analyzing your analytics.

  • Likes and reactions – Likes and reactions can be a very good indicator of how your post is doing solely on the number of them that you receive. Considering the fact that some platforms have incorporated reactions along with likes, to fully understand how the content you posted was received by the audience, you have to pay attention to those as well.
  • Comments – Comments are the most common way your audience will be interacting with you, so it’s crucial that you read all of them. Through comments, your audience will be expressing both their positive and negative opinions, meaning they will be a source of truly raw feedback.
  • Shares – Through shares, you can see how “viral” your content is going to be. Essentially the number of shares is the number of people who found your content interesting enough to share it with others in their surroundings.
  • Reach- Reach is the number indicating how many people saw any of your posts. Through reach, you can determine which hashtags, keywords, headlines are spreading through a platform the fastest and the furthest.
  • Pageviews- The number of page views you get can help you pinpoint which of your pages are the most captivating and interesting and which ones not so much.
  • Engagement- Besides the number of people that saw your posts, another important number is how many people liked, shared, or commented on them. Engagement will essentially tell you if people found the content interesting and relevant enough to give their reaction to it.
  • Engagement rate- Engagement is the number you get by dividing your engagement with your impressions.
  • Video metrics- For any platform that supports video content, it’s important that you monitor the metrics for that content as well. Metrics like views, watch time, ad activity, and so on.
  • Conversions- With conversions, you can tell if the people who were redirected to external sites/pages through your posts found them interesting enough to explore further than their landing pages.
  • Mentions- Mentions suggest how talked about your brand/business/product is on a specific social media platform.
  • Impressions- Impressions are the number of people who saw one specific post.
  • Page previews- This is the number of people who hovered over a page name in order to preview its content.
  • Page likes and followers- The number of people who voluntarily decided that they want to be seeing your posts in their timeline.
  • Demographics- Your demographics tell you the age groups, genders, locations, languages, and other info on the people who make up your audience.
  • Ad performance- Ad performance is the number of impressions, and the amount of revenue an ad gets over a certain period of time.

Know your goals before you start analyzing

We know that exploring every little detail of your social media analytics can be very interesting and captivating, but doing so is really unnecessary and time-consuming. Unless you have a lot of free time on your hands, it’s best that you first set specific goals that you want to achieve with the help of your analytics so you can know which metrics you should be focusing on the most.

While we wouldn’t mind going over examples of which metrics are important for which goals, that just isn’t possible since we can’t know what your specific goals are and where your numbers currently stand, but what we can do is give you some advice on that.

Sit down and think about the aspects your business isn’t performing the best in; maybe it’s brand identity, sales, or something completely different. Then use this article as a cheat sheet to help you compile a list of metrics that you should be paying attention to. For example, in the case of brand awareness, you’ll focus on boosting shares, followers, likes, and engagement. While for sales, you’ll do the same for conversions, ad performance, and other related metrics. Lastly, be realistic with your goals.

We all want to go from 0 to 100 real quick, but that just isn’t a possibility. True and long-lasting improvements are gradual and take time. So set achievable goals and take one step at a time, it will be the most effective approach, no doubt.


For the sake of your business, you should be paying close attention to your social media analytics, and now that you know that it isn’t nuclear physics, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from doing so. It would be a real shame if all the effort you put into your business and content goes to waste simply because you were intimidated by a few numbers. Hopefully, this article did its job, brought the world of social media analytics a bit closer to you, and encouraged you to dive into your analytics as early as today. We wish you the best of luck in your efforts!