Can Twitter analytics be considered a business intelligence practice?
Well, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no.
With the continuous increase of the social network penetration rate, marketers worldwide are turning to social media sites to gather social data and use it to their advantage.
However, to be able to position analytics within the realm of your business intelligence practice, you need to act upon the insights that derive from Twitter and use them to create better business outcomes and optimize your strategic objectives.
So, it’d be best if we rephrased the question above:
Instead of asking whether Twitter analytics can be considered as a business intelligence practice, we need to ask how to turn it into a BI practice?
That’s exactly the purpose of this definitive guide.
Here’s a short overview of what you can expect to find below:
- We’ll start by defining the benefits of using Twitter analytics, as well as the most common challenges.
- We’ll explain the key metrics you should take into consideration.
- Finally, we will explore the features of 20 of the most useful and widely used Twitter analytics tools you can find in today’s market.
Without further ado, let’s dive in…
Twitter Analytics: Let’s Talk Numbers
Long gone are the days when people used Instagram to post updates on the foods they ate, Facebook to keep in touch with their closest group of friends, and Twitter to go on endless rants about their personal lives.
These last couple of years, social media sites have become less of a personal platform and/ or a marketing strategy, and more of a news channel and a direct marketing channel.
As such, social media platforms have turned into an indispensable business intelligence tool (when used right, that is to say!).
But how powerful is Twitter exactly?
Well, numbers don’t lie.
The fact that 83% of worldwide leaders use Twitter to share their opinions, messages, and discuss current topics, tells you more than enough.
With 75% of B2B businesses and 65% of B2C businesses marketing their products and providing customer service on Twitter, not having a Twitter account as part of your marketing toolkit is a big mistake.
Twitter is fun, free and easy to use, which makes it hugely popular among companies and individuals alike.
Fun fact: the business-related usage stats above show that Twitter outranks other social media sites including Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest!
This, as you would have guessed, is as much of a challenge, as it is a good thing:
With over 330 million monthly active user and 500 million Tweets posted every day, it’s very easy to slip through the cracks of the Twittersphere.
Needless to say, for those users that manage to find a way to cut through the clutter, Twitter can prove to be a very rewarding platform.
Twitter can be used in many ways and for many different things.
Be it sharing content, offering customer support, or driving traffic and engagement to one’s website, all these activities have one thing in common…
… they are different forms of direct conversations between the brand and its customers.
Spending time on social media does not guarantee success.
Merely posting, without taking the time to analyze results is like playing darts with your eyes closed – the only thing you can do is to hope that you will hit the bullseye.
In most of the cases, however, you will fail.
The only way to know if your approach works or not, and most importantly, what makes it work or not is to continuously track and measure various metrics and identify areas of improvement. By doing this, you can make sure that the money and effort you invest in maintaining and increasing your online presence yield returns.
The good news?
Staying on top of your performance is easy once you have the right tools at hand!
Before we jump to the good stuff, however, we have to mention…
The Challenges of Analysing Twitter Data
There are a couple of challenges companies face when trying to make sense of Twitter data:
- Lack of context.
The gathered data can only make sense if there are specific benchmarks in place. When you are trying to process raw information to assess your performance, first you have to have a context.
Data does not and can never exist in a vacuum.
- Not clear about which data to measure.
There are a lot of twitter metrics you can follow, but you don’t need to get bogged down with too much detail.
You will have a much clearer picture of how effective your social media marketing strategy is (or in this case, Twitter marketing strategy) if you pick and track the correct metrics right from the start.
- Picking the wrong tools for your analytics toolkit.
With so many social listening tools out there, it can be hard to find and pick the right tool that matches your needs and budget.
This might seem like a lot to chew, but there’s no reason to worry.
Below, we will dive deeper into these three (pain) points and find out what are the exact steps you could take to avoid these common issues and drive your social media success!
First, let’s talk about…
The Whs of Twitter Analytics: WHY Data Analytics Matters
Analysing your Twitter metrics will give you an answer to the following Wh questions, which you can later use to your advantage.
- The WHO: Who are your target customers?
One of the key pieces of information you can – and should – get from Twitter data is the demographic variables of your audience.
In total, 1.3 billion users have opened a Twitter account, out of which 330 million can be considered as monthly active users (MAU – the number of unique users for a period of 30 days).
According to Twitter, an addition of 500 million people visit Twitter each month to keep in touch with what’s happening without logging in”.
Knowing which demographic group out of these users are interested in your products and the topics you discuss will allow you to optimize your offerings, post more relevant content, and create campaigns that tickle their fancy.
- The WHAT: What are your customers’ preferences?
Once you understand your audience’s economic background, education, nationality, age, gender, language and so on, you should already have some information on your followers’ needs and wishes.
Dive deeper into the kind of products or copy that resonate with them the most by looking at your engagement rate, mentions, and social shares.
The more data you analyze, the easier it will be to notice some behavioral patterns and see what exactly makes your audience tick so that you can optimize your offers to arouse their interest and inspire action.
- The WHEN: When are your customers the most active?
This one’s simple:
To enhance engagement, find out when your customers are online, and post during those specific time windows.
The same is true for almost all other social media sites, but there are instances when the posting time does not affect the performance of the post (comments, likes, and other types of engagement might keep the post at the top of the feed for a longer time).
When it comes to Twitter, however, you shouldn’t take your chances.
With tweets having an average lifespan of only 24 minutes, Twitter is the most time-sensitive channel among social media sites.
So, many times, the difference between a good and a bad performing post will have something to do with the time of posting.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not saying that the time is the only variable you need to get right, but it is safe to say that getting the timing right is an indispensable part of the entire Twitter success puzzle that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Now, if you search the internet, you will find various statistics about the best time to post.
However, these statistics are general and might not be applicable in your case.
It all depends on your audience (their time zone, activity, and habits) – so analyze your site – centric data and schedule your posts based on these insights.
Once you find out your best posting time, make sure that you schedule at least one post per day.
- The WHERE: Where do your followers hang out?
There are many social media sites out there, and chances are, your followers are on a couple of them.
Knowing your audience’s habits will allow you to drive traffic to all of your channels through cross – posting, but it will also make you more aware of the campaigns and messages you share and ensure that you don’t bore your followers by targeting them on every channel.
- The HOW: How to elevate success by finding out what works?
Let’s face it.
No matter how “good” you are, not all of your tweets are going to accrue the same interest.
We already mentioned that posting time has a lot to do with it, but so does the content’s relevance.
To be able to optimize your content for higher engagement, you need to make an educated guess about what made a particular tweet stand out among thousands of other tweets that showed up on your followers’ feeds at that very second!
Think about it – what is it that your audience is after?
Go back to your demographic and compare the insights about their age, location, gender and so on, with your top performing tweets in order to find the kind of content that makes your audience hit the favorite or retweet button.
For example, it is universally acknowledged that people tend to respond more to visuals than they do to plain text.
So go ahead and include photos or videos to your tweets!
Also, in terms of plain text, the “less is more” rule couldn’t be truer.
People have a short attention span, and they like condensed informative pieces of content that are easy to swallow.
So, even though you now have 280 characters at your disposal, it is never a bad idea to keep your messages as short (and sweet) as you possibly can.
Okay. Now you know what information you should be looking for.
But how do you find this information?
Here are a couple of
Twitter Analytics Metrics You Should Care For
Find the Ingredients to Success with Top Tweets
A Top Tweet is a single tweet that has been seen by the biggest number of people in a given month.
There are two ways a top tweet can amplify your success.
First, analyzing your top tweet allows you to find out what makes content relevant and valuable to your audience.
And second, since you are certain that this particular tweet resonates with people for some reason, you might want to consider giving it a little boost by promoting it further.
Create Powerful Call to Actions by Assessing the Engagement Rate
Follower engagement shows that a tweet not only shows up on your followers’ feeds but that they also feel the urge to further engage with this tweet.
Now, here’s the catch…
The engagement itself is a misleading stat.
Remember what we said about context?
Not having context is one of the main challenges that brands face when they’re analyzing their social media presence. Without context, you can only get what’s known as vanity metrics – as you can’t assign them any meaning.
So, how do you turn follower engagement into a metric that you can actually use?
Divide the number of times your content has been engaged with by the times that your content has been seen (your content’s impressions).
This will give you the engagement rate.
You can use this stat to find out what kind of calls to action inspire your audience to engage.
Find Brand Spokespeople with Followers and Mentions
There are two metrics that will show you, potential brand spokespeople.
When it comes to followers, you should take into consideration the following metrics:
Number of New Followers
Each month, you need to assess your follower count and see whether this number goes up, down, or stagnates.
You’ll know that you’re doing a good job if the follower number steadily increases each month.
If it drops, on the other hand, you need to find out what caused your followers to leave: have you stopped sharing relevant content, are you spamming, or is the reason for the dropping numbers something entirely different?
Your Top Follower is the most popular user of your entire audience. If you decide to try influencer marketing, this follower should be among your top picks.
Mentions are the instances where another user tags your username in a tweet.
The tweet that has the most impressions among all your mentions is your Top Mention.
Again, just like with the Top Follower, the Top Mention leads you to a user who obviously interacts with their follower list, so keep them in mind as a potential influencer as well.
Get the Timing Right with Impressions and Reach
… show how many times your tweet was displayed on a user’s feed.
Impressions are not limited to your followers, and it’s possible for one user to have multiple impressions for a single tweet.
Now, impressions don’t show the important stuff – like IF and HOW users have engaged with a tweet (and we already said that you shouldn’t care about vanity numbers).
So, what makes them so important that we decided to include them into our list of metrics you need to consider?
If you scroll up to the beginning of this section, you’ll see that impressions play a significant role in determining the context when analyzing engagement – calculating the engagement rate.
So, although impressions are not a key performance indicator, it’s impossible to assign value to your KPIs without knowing how many times your content was displayed.
… shows the number of unique users that saw any given tweet.
Note how we emphasized ‘unique.’
That’s because, unlike impressions, reach does not show how many times your content was displayed – but how many users it reached.
The reach is never the same as your follower count because 1.Your content does not appear on each follower’s timeline and 2. Your reach will expand as users retweet and engage with your content.
Reach, and impressions have a lot to do with timing, so they can help you calculate the optimal posting time.
Optimize Your Ads by Tracking Your Results, Conversions, and CPR
To see how your ads are performing, you’ll need to assess your ads’ impressions, reach, and engagement rate – just like you would with any other tweet.
However, when it comes to ads, there are other metrics to take into account that can also give you some valuable info.
Every ad you invest into yields a particular result: a follow, a retweet, a comment, a website click… You get the point.
However, what can be considered as a GOOD result?
A hundred new followers?
A couple of retweets?
Whatever positive reaction you get from your audience, it’s great news, but the only way you can measure your results is to put them in a context or, in this case – to compare them to your campaign’s objectives.
So, if your objective was to get website clicks, but all you got were a couple of comments, would you say that your campaign is a success?
Setting the right objectives for your campaign is not only important because it’ll help you determine whether your campaign is a success, but it also enables you to calculate your CPR (cost per result).
Depending on your campaign’s objective, you’ll be charged differently. So, if you’re looking to increase website clicks or video views, you’ll only be charged when this particular action takes place.
Last, but not least are conversions.
Conversions show you how many people engaged with your ad (clicked on it, played a promotional video, etc.), and then took a desired action outside of the Twittersphere – like say, make a purchase or subscribe to your mailing list.
Optimizing your Twitter ads for conversions should be on the top of your list of priorities.
Now that we explained what makes twitter analytics an important aspect of your digital marketing efforts and explored the key metrics that provide you with actionable insight, it’s time to finally list
The Best Twitter Analytics Tools for Your Business as of 2019
We know that there’s a gazillion of articles out there on the best Twitter analytics tools and that you could be anywhere else right now…
… and yet, you’re still here, reading this.
We also know that most of the lists you’ll find on the internet will just confuse you further.
Yes, having too many options to choose from can be just as overwhelming as having too little!
That’s why we decided to make it easy for you:
Instead of just listing the best 15 Twitter analytics tools in no particular order, we’ll give you four groups of tools – each group showing the tools’ most robust features.
We won’t make you wait any further – let’s jump right in.
Dun, dun, dunnnn!
Yeah, we know you expected this:
We made it to our own guide.
But that’s not the reason why we’re here. In fact, rarely ever a top 10 list of social media analytics tools doesn’t include Keyhole.
Keyhole is the go-to tool for individuals and companies looking to understand what topics and types of posts attract their audience’s attention, and track when most of the relevant conversations take place.
Keyhole’s real time hashtag analytics and keyword tracking feature enables users to:
- Monitor and manage social conversations and brand sentiment
- Find trending topics
- Track and aggregate events and campaign data
- Research live and historical data
- Analyse your competitors
- Easily share in-depth reports with your team
All these benefits ultimately empower users to optimize their content and posting schedule, plan more engaging future campaigns, and make more informed decisions about their brand’s social media strategy.
Price: Keyhole’s new BrandIQ starts at $26 per month, and the advanced suit at $179 per month.
Mentionmapp is a social listening tool that provides a visual map of ongoing conversations that shows who the people who engage with your brand are conversating with within the Twittersphere.
Mentionmapp is a great resource for expanding your network of people you interact with.
Price: Free plans available, paid plan is $27 per month.
Primarily a social media management tool, SproutSocial also offers a Twitter analytics solution.
Using SproutSocial you can find your top performing content and compare your stats to your competitors.
But what’s put SproutSocial into the Social Listening group are its Trends and Keyword Reports. These reports enable users to track conversations, differentiate between one off mentions and trending topics, as well as gain insight into frequently used keywords and the influencers that are discussing them.
Price: Subscription starts at $99 per month.
Union Metrics offers comprehensive visual reports which easy to understand and digest and provide you with the data necessary to audit your performance and identify areas of improvement. The scope of functionalities includes:
- Track keywords and conversations and see which topics make the greatest impact
- Find contributors and top influencers
- Estimate the potential size and scope of any Twitter conversation or campaign
- Perform competitive analysis
Price: A couple of free tools (Twitter Assistant, Twitter Snapshot Report), paid plans start at $49 per month
Automation and Analytics
No list of social media tools is complete without mentioning Hootsuite.
Mostly used as a social media management tool, Hootsuite can also be used to assess one’s social media activity and impact, track and boost responsiveness and bring all social media platforms together into a single custom report, that can be easily exported and shared within your organization.
Price: Freemium, paid plans starting at $19 per month
Buffer is one of those content scheduling tools that most marketers have heard of.
With post scheduling in its focus, Buffer’s analytics show the impact of each piece of content: measuring the clicks, retweets, mentions, and potential reach.
The neat, easily digestible reports are just the icing on the cake.
Price: Varying pricing options, Buffer Analyse starts at $50 per month
The last Twitter analytics tool on this list we’ll talk about in this post is AgoraPulse.
Just like Buffer and Hootsuite, it’s primarily a social media management tool but offers analytics and reports as a part of the package as well.
AgoraPulse’s reports will give you an insight into what hashtags work when’s the best time to post, analyze your performance over a period of time and find out what type of content resonates best with your audience.
Price: Monthly plans start at $99, whilst annual plans at discounted $79 per month.
Twitonomy is a comprehensive tool that allows you to analyze your competitors’ activity and performance, including:
- The twitter lists your competitors are part of
- Your competitors’ tweets, retweets, mentions, replies, time of tweeting, etc.
- Top performing content and hashtags
- Twitter users who your competitors are engaging with most frequently
The great thing?
Twitonomy presents all these stats using easily digestible graphs and visuals.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $19 per month
Foller.me is a handy free tool that you can use to research any user on Twitter. The only thing you need to do is to type in the username in the search box, and Foller.me will generate a short report including:
- Profile info (joining date, location, timezone, language, bio, and so on)
- Number of tweets, follower count and other similar stats
- Most popular hashtags
- A list of Twitter users your competitor (or the profile you’re analyzing) has interacted with
- A timeline based on the latest tweets
Below are some screenshots of what you can expect to get from this tool.
Tweetstats is all about timing.
The tool empowers users to optimize their social media strategy by tracking any user’s Twitter activity and interpreting it using simple, easy-to-understand graphs.
So if you’re trying to understand at what time and on what day of the week your competitors are the most active, or simply want to see an overview of your tweeting activity, you may have found what you needed.
Quintly is a social media benchmarking tool that enables users to monitor their key performance indicators and see how they’re performing against their competitors.
With a simple and intuitive interface, the tool is very easy to use, even for beginners.
Another great plus:
You can customize and automate the reporting process, according to your needs and your desired results.
Quintly integrates with all major social media platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Google+.
Price: Free plan for individual users, varying enterprise pricing models starting at $199
Native Twitter Analytics
Twitter’s native analytics tool, named (you guessed it) – Twitter Analytics organizes stats in four sections: account home, activity, campaign, and audience.
The first section is your Twitter report card, which gives you an overview of your monthly performance, as well as top-performing tweets and top influencers within your network.
The Tweet activity dashboard will show metrics related to the performance of past Tweets: impressions, retweets, replies, likes.
The Campaign dashboard allows you to track your campaign’s results, engagement rate, CPR, and impressions – equipping you with all the information you need to optimize your ads.
Finally, the audience insight dashboard gives you a robust insight into your followers.
The reason why we decided to place Twitter Analytics into the Follower Analysis group?
Twitter Analytics’ audience insights are, hands down, its shining feature:
Extremely comprehensive, the audience dashboard allows you to fully understand the community that engages with your brand.
For more info on how to access the audience insights dashboard, visit:
Although SocialBlade’s primary focus is YouTube analytics, the tool does come in handy when used for analyzing follower and tweet counts for Twitter.
Free and easy to use, SocialBlade provides a month’s worth of stats on followers, following and tweets, future predictions, as well as live follower count.
It’s not very robust and doesn’t offer as much info as other tools, but it provides a quick way to see how you are performing follower-wise or check if an influencer you planned on partnering up with is worth the investment.
Followerwonk is a great tool to conduct community research.
Using Followerwonk, you can:
- Search bios based on keywords to find influencers within your niche network
- Track, sort and compare your followers and following with the audience of other users to find overlaps and new target markets
- Analyze any Twitter user’s follower activity to discover dormant followers and influencers
The downside is that although a lot of functionalities are free, if you want unlimited stats and extensive reports – you have to cash out.
Price: Freemium, paid plans start at $29 per month.
Klear’s primary focus are Twitter influencers – with users grouped into 60,000 categories, you can easily narrow down your search and find influencers that fit your requirements.
The free tools don’t offer enough data to be game-changing for your business.
So, if you want to access relevant stats and reports, you have to pay what some reviewers consider a steep price for what the tool offers.
Price: Free limited plan, paid plans start at $249 per month
Let’s wrap it up!
To improve their chances of success and survive the rapidly evolving business landscape, modern organizations need to continually monitor the marketplace and adapt to the ever-changing needs of their customers.
Social media platforms like Twitter give organizations access to incredible amounts of data, which, when accurately collected, organized, and analyzed, can be turned into an invaluable strategic asset.
If we sum up everything we talked about in this exhaustive guide, we can determine five ways social listening and Twitter analytics can help you elevate your business:
- Understand what your customers want and need
- Find trending topics to drive future campaigns
- Identify potential partnerships and influencers
- Analyze brand sentiment and reduce your crisis response time
- Keep an eye on the competition and keep ahead of the game
In short, Twitter analytics tools can help in the quest of giving your Twitter data a purpose and turning it into actionable insights that you can use to make well-thought business decisions and come up with a competitive marketing strategy.
And with Twitter analytics gaining in popularity, there’s a plethora of Twitter analytics tools to choose from.
So, how do you decide when you have too many options?
The tools that we listed in this guide are not the only ones out there, but they are by far the most widely used ones, so you can’t go wrong choosing any one of them.
We do, however, urge you to first assess where you stand in your business, and what’s your purpose and only then make your choice. Although most of these tools offer similar features, they all have something that’s in their primary focus.
Keyhole, for example, offers unparalleled hashtag and social listening reports, Buffer is great at scheduling and optimizing your posting time, Klear at finding influencers and so on.
Of course, let’s not forget to mention that most of the tools we listed are either free or offer a free trial, so it would cost you nothing at all to test out a few of them to entirely understand your preferences and see which tool best fits your needs.
That’s it from us – now it’s your turn to use all this knowledge to improve your targeting and boost your business results.