Social media analytics is the process of tracking, collecting, and analyzing data from social networks. In University Communications, we use analytics to both understand social media performance and to inform future decisions about how we present and share content on our platforms.
Today, we’re going to talk about how we collect this valuable information, specifically on Twitter.
Twitter analytics shows you how your audience is responding to your content, what’s working, and what’s not. You can use data-driven insights to optimize your future content and get better results whether that’s more engagement, more website traffic, or more overall impressions.
When you first log in, you’ll see the account home page, which is basically a monthly Twitter report card. This page spotlights top-performing tweets and introduces you to influencers in your network:
Twitter Activity Dashboard
Although the Twitter analytics home page provides a nice overview, the best information (IMO) is on the Tweet Activity Dashboard. By clicking the “Tweet” tab, you’ll be able to track the number of impressions, engagements, and engagement rate for each and every Tweet you send:
For a more granular view of the volume of each type of engagement, you can click on the specific Tweet:
This allows you to suss out the specific types of engagements your Tweet received. For example, we know that a Tweet with a social media card will on average receive more link clicks than a Tweet with a photo and the link in the Twitter caption.
But the most useful feature (again IMO) is the ability to adjust the date range and export your data as a CSV file:
This feature allows you to sort through the exported data using Excel in ways that are impossible within the platform itself.
There are several data columns in the export, so you can develop a customized analysis on whatever metric makes the most sense for your account strategy. Here are a couple common terms and definitions to get you started:
A total tally of all the times a Tweet has been seen.
The number of users who saw an impression of your Tweet in their timeline. Twitter does not provide this metric in their analytics dashboard, so generally you would need a third-party tool to determine your reach.
A Twitter user’s interaction with a Tweet, including Retweets, replies, likes, links, cards, hashtags, embedded media, username, or Tweet expansion.
This varies slightly by platform, but for Twitter engagement rate is calculated by the number of engagements divided by impressions.
There are several kinds of Twitter “clicks” available in the downloaded analytics — user profile clicks, url clicks, hashtag clicks, etc. For our purposes, we track url clicks to determine the amount of traffic we’re driving to Duke websites.
We use Excel to aggregate our data so we can find common trends among our top Tweets, determine particular days/times that work best with our audience, and compare our performance year-over-year.
By understanding which content items get the most engagement, you can start seeing trends over time — and then applying those insights to future tweets — you’ll be able to better connect with your audience.