Social media analytics is the process of gathering and analyzing data from social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. It is commonly used by marketers to track online conversations about products and companies. One author defined it as “the art and science of extracting valuable hidden insights from vast amounts of semi-structured and unstructured social media data to enable informed and insightful decision making.”
There are three main steps in analyzing social media: data identification, data analysis, and information interpretation. To maximize the value derived at every point during the process, analysts may define a question to be answered. The important questions for data analysis are: “Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?” These questions help in determining the proper data sources to evaluate, which can affect the type of analysis that can be performed.
Attributes of data that need to be considered are as follows:
- Structure: Structured data is a data that has been organized into a formatted repository typically a database so that its elements can be made addressable for more effective processing and analysis. The unstructured data, unlike structured data, is the least formatted data.
- Language: Language becomes significant if we want to know the sentiment of a post rather than number of mentions.
- Region: It is important to ensure that the data included in the analysis is only from that region of the world where the analysis is focused on. For example, if the goal is to identify the clean water problems in India, we would want to make sure that the data collected is from India only.
- Type of Content: The content of data could be Text (written text that is easy to read and understand if you know the language), Photos (drawings, simple sketches, or photographs), Audio (audio recordings of books, articles, talks, or discussions), or Videos (recording, live streams).
- Venue: Social media content is getting generated in a variety of venues such as news sites and social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter). Depending on the type of project the data is collected for, the venue becomes very significant.
- Time: It is important to collect data posted in the time frame that is being analyzed.
- Ownership of Data: Is the data private or publicly available? Is there any copyright in the data? These are the important questions to be addressed before collecting data.
Track the efficiency of marketing teams
Most organizations strive to streamline workflows and enable team members to be more productive. A lesser known, but still important, feature of social media analytics is its ability to improve efficiency with your marketing team.
Improve strategic decision-making
Social media analytics can improve a marketing team’s ability to understand what social media strategies are working and which ones aren’t as effective.
However, the analytical results can also provide insight that can be useful for making business decisions about other important aspects of the business not necessarily directly related to the marketing campaigns.
Paid social analytics
Ad spending is serious business. If targeting and content isn’t right, it can end up an expensive proposition for unsuccessful content. More advanced analytics tools can often predict which content is most likely to perform well and be a less risky investment for a marketing budget.
For best results, an all-in-one platform is the preferred choice to track performance across all social media accounts such as Twitter analytics, paid Facebook posts or LinkedIn ads. Important metrics to track include the following:
- Total number of active ads
- Total ad spend
- Total clicks
- Click-through rate
- Cost per click
- Cost per engagement
- Cost per action
- Cost per purchase
Sentiment analysis is an important metric to measure as it can indicate whether a campaign is gaining favorability with an audience or losing it. And for customer service oriented businesses, sentiment analysis can reveal potential customer care issues.
To obtain a full understanding of performance metrics, it’s necessary to look at the metrics through a competitive lens. In other words, how do they stack up to competitors’ performance?
With social media analytics tools, social media performance can be compared to competitors’ performance with a head-to-head analysis to gauge relative effectiveness and to determine what can be improved.
Most modern tools that include AI capabilities can benchmark competitor performance by industry to determine a good starting point for social media efforts.
It’s important to clearly understand and define the target audience, as it is the most important element of a social media strategy. Understanding the audience will help create a favorable customer experience with content targeted at what customers want and what they’re looking for.
In the past, audience data was difficult to measure as it was scattered across multiple social media platforms. But with analytics tools, marketers can analyze data across platforms to better understand audience demographics, interests and behaviors. AI-enabled tools can even help predict customer behavior. They can also study how an audience changes over time.
The better targeted the content is, the less advertising will cost and the cost-per-click of ads can be optimized.